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article imageA conversation with 'VEEP's Sufe Bradshaw Special

By Mindy Peterman     Apr 23, 2014 in Entertainment
Sufe Bradshaw is a talented actress who loves what she does and enjoys the diversity of the craft. As the ‘curt and acerbic’ Sue Wilson, on HBO’s VEEP, Bradshaw is able to display her dramatic as well as her comedic skills.
Sufe Bradshaw is genuinely enthusiastic when chatting about her career. “Thank you so much for asking,” she says brightly when asked about her first major success in the field. It is obvious she loves the craft. A graduate of The Los Angeles City Theater Academy, Bradshaw also studied at Lee Strasberg’s prestigious Actor’s Studio and has been featured in Los Angeles stage productions such as A Raisin In the Sun and The Glass Menagerie.
Her talents eventually brought her to TV, where she appeared on shows such as Cold Case, Bones, and Prison Break. She was also in the J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movie and recalls with a laugh the three hours she spent getting made up for her role as an alien cadet.
Bradshaw is a much more recognizable figure these days. Her role as Sue Wilson, Executive Assistant to the Vice-President (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in the critically acclaimed HBO series VEEP, has won her accolades from critics and viewers alike.
I spoke recently with Bradshaw about her career, VEEP, and her other projects.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in Chicago but raised in Los Angeles.
How did you get into acting?
I was always a creative person. I always liked to watch movies and go to the theater and dance class. I was kind of on the fence on what path to choose. My mom helped me with my decision making and got me into acting classes early on.
What do you consider the first major success in your career?
I had done a lot of theater and a lot of training before 2009, but then I did a part on a show called Cold Case. I was cast by Michael Testa. He gave me my first shot. It was my first TV appearance and one of my first professional jobs.
Watching your demo reel, it is obvious you are a versatile actress who can do dramatic roles as well as comedy. Do you have a favorite type of character to play?
I don’t at the moment. I love all types of acting. I really enjoy the craft. I think that with any character that I’ve played or that I choose to play, it’s important for me to tell that character’s story. I do love playing detectives. That’s fun. But I would say I like them all.
How did you enjoy doing sketch comedy in Mind of Mencia?
Oh, it was a blast. It was my first time. It was such a fast-paced process. It keeps you on your toes. I would absolutely love doing something like that again.
You were in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie playing an alien cadet.
I did! I was three hours in makeup a day.
What was it like being in a film that is part of such an iconic franchise?
I was just happy to be working. It was so much fun. Just the process of sci-fi.
You play Sue Wilson, Executive Assistant to the Vice President in Veep. How did you get the role?
The process was pretty standard for me. My agent at the time sent me to an audition. I read the script and I really, really liked it. It was so funny and so witty. Extremely fresh and new. So I went in to audition for the part. Armando Iannucci, the creator of the show, and a couple of the producers weren’t in L.A. They were scouting on location. So I did a Skype audition. The guys really liked me but there were a lot of other people in line. I got a callback for a second Skype audition. I’d never done that before. I’d always auditioned face to face. It was a great experience. So I hadn’t heard anything for a while. Then I got a call saying they wanted to see me [again]. So I spent a week in Baltimore where they were scouting. And by the time my plane from Baltimore back to L.A. landed, I got a call saying I got the job.
Is it true you based Sue, the Vice President’s Executive Assistant, on a DMV employee?
Yeah, I was trying to figure out how I was going to get into the character. Then I realized that DMV workers are straight-laced and go by the book and they don’t have much time because there’s so much to do in a day. So, yeah, I did. That’s exactly right.
What other projects are you working on?
I just did a guest spot on Rizzoli and Isles, which I was really excited about. I got to work with Angie Harmon and she is fantastic. I did a movie called Imperial Dreams, which got into Sundance this year and won the Audience Choice award, so that was fantastic. I’m really, really proud of it. I’m currently working on a movie called Happy Medium. So those are the projects I’m working on and I’m super excited about them.
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