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article imageJulia Louis-Dreyfus has much to say about 'Enough Said' Special

By Kristal Cooper     Sep 24, 2013 in Entertainment
When most people think of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, they think TV.
Defying the odds for most comediennes—aside from maybe Lucille Ball—she's had three hugely successful TV shows since she began her career on Saturday Night Live back in 1982.
Ironically enough, it’s that very success that’s effectively kept her fans from also enjoying her work on movie screens. “For many years I was doing different TV series that were time-consuming,” she reveals when she sits down to chat during the Toronto International Film Festival. “I had my two kids during the run of Seinfeld and the idea of going off on my hiatus to make a film was not something I could do emotionally. So I didn’t, much to my agent’s chagrin.”
Her schedule has, miraculously, eased up a bit over the last few years, enabling the actress to look at widening the scope of her career: “Now I’m doing Veep which is 10 episodes a year and I have one son in college. My calendar opened up in such a way that allowed the time to make a movie. And there was this great script that I was crazy about.”
That script is Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said, which recently celebrated its premiere at TIFF (“I’ve been bitten by the Festival bug,” says the actress. “I like everyone trying hard to make good art.”). The film acts as Louis-Dreyfus’ first romantic lead, a role she happily took on after spending years admiring Holofcener’s films. “I’m a big fan of her prior work. Her voice is a very character-driven, quirky, raw, authentic, small-about-big-things voice and I love it. It just speaks to me.”
In the film, Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a divorced masseuse faced with the fact that her daughter is about to leave home for college. In attempting to assuage her impending loneliness, Eva embarks on a romance with another soon-to-be empty nester named Albert (James Gandolfini) while also unknowingly striking up a friendship with Albert’s bitter ex-wife (Catherine Keener) — a fact she keeps secret from both parties once the coincidence becomes evident.
It was a role that the actress was eager to take on for many reasons, including the fact that on some level, she could completely relate to Eva’s mindset. “That part of a parent’s life is very much on my mind. I lived it recently with my older son going off to college and so I read that moment in the script and understood how the dread of the impending departure of her daughter sort of fuels this horrible thing that Eva does.” She explains. “She’s hijacked by her own emotional life without even knowing it. It turns her into this deceitful person. I understood how that moment in a parent’s life could do such a thing.”
“Her fear of loneliness and separation was so overpowering that she lost a sense of herself.” Says the actress, delving a bit deeper into her character’s psyche. “I think it’s interesting that’s she's a massage therapist because she’s out there massaging people, nurturing people but who’s nurturing her? Nobody.”
She also makes sure to mention how much she appreciates Holofcener’s take on her very complicated characters (“Her work is about understanding flawed people with kind eyes and I love that.”) and how the easy-going nature of the set helped to get Louis-Dreyfus to a comfortable place in bringing Eva to life, “A lot of Eva was on the page but it was very collaborative. I’m an improviser and Nicole loves and welcomes that so I brought it big time.”
Louis-Dreyfus plays opposite James Gandolfini in what would turn out to be his final film role—the actor passed away suddenly in June of this year. A departure of sorts for him, the actress reveals that he was insecure about playing the film’s romantic lead but had a great sense of humour about it: “He felt very undeserving of the role. He kept questioning why he got the part of the guy who gets the girl. He kept saying to Nicole, ‘if you feel like calling Clooney and getting him in for this, go ahead.’ But that made him even more perfect for the part.”
When asked to expound on her time spent with Gandolfini, Louis-Dreyfus gets quiet as she ponders what else to say about a man who was so beloved in the film industry and whose death is a very much talked about part of Enough Said’s promotional tour. In the end she settles on a simple tribute that speaks volumes about the impact he had on her, “It was amazing to work with him. I can’t believe I was able to. I’d always been a fan of his work but I think he’s one of the best actors of this generation – whatever this generation is. This part of Albert, this dear, thoughtful, self-effacing man, is very close to who James was. He was a gentle giant of a person.”
Looking to the future, Louis-Dreyfus promises not only to keep making audiences laugh on the small screen—the actress just won an Emmy for Veep which returns for a third season in 2014—but also to keep pursuing smart and well-written parts for the big screen, “I love making films!” she says smiling brightly. “Particularly when they’re good films directed by Nicole Holofcener. I’d really love to keep working with Nicole.”
Enough Said opens in theatres on September 27, 2013.
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