POWER BE­HIND DRESS

Actress, co­me­dian and pro­ducer Ju­lia Louis-Drey­fus, of Se­in­feld fame, en­joys play­ing the Amer­i­can Pres­i­dent in po­lit­i­cal par­ody Veep

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV - HOLLY BYRNES Veep, Show­case, Mon­day, 7pm

It was the clos­est thing to an Elaine Benes’ “get out” mo­ment, star­ring the

Se­in­feld ac­tor her­self. Talk­ing about the fash­ion choices of fe­male politi­cians and the scru­tiny which fol­lows them with tele­vi­sion’s newly-elected “Pres­i­dent” Ju­lia Louis-Drey­fus, the Veep star is gob­s­macked when we of­fer anec­dotes from the time of Australia’s first fe­male Prime Min­is­ter, Ju­lia Gil­lard. For those who’ve for­got, our leader was at­tacked over ev­ery­thing from the sil­hou­ette of her suits to the size of her ear­lobes.

The lat­ter leaves Louis-Drey­fus wide-eyed with in­trigue and as­ton­ish­ment, re­spond­ing in that trade­mark Elaine way, “No waaay”.

It all seems so ridicu­lous now, but it’s min­ing the po­lit­i­cal land­scape for ab­surd, acutely-ob­served de­tails like this which has pro­vided such com­edy gold for the other Ju­lia and the ac­claimed Veep writ­ing team, lead by The Thick Of It’s Ar­mando Ian­nucci, on the hit HBO com­edy.

The fact Ian­nucci and most of the writ­ers on the US se­ries are Bri­tish goes to the uni­ver­sal­ity of this po­lit­i­cal par­ody, or per­haps just how preva­lent gov­ern­ment dys­func­tion is the world over.

What be­gan as a hi­lar­i­ous poke around the side­lined of­fice of the US Vice-Pres­i­dent – for so long the butt of latenight talk show jokes – will this sea­son move into the Oval Of­fice, af­ter Selina Meyer’s un­likely as­cent to the top job.

Or as Louis-Drey­fus sums up her char­ac­ter’s story arc, “Now she’s Pres­i­dent, watch her f--- that up!”

Her bungling team of ad­vis­ers and per­sonal staff are all at­tempt­ing to make the tran­si­tion to the West Wing – with­out any of the no­bil­ity or com­pe­tence of the same world imag­ined for TV by Aaron Sorkin in The West Wing.

For Pres­i­dent Meyer, look­ing the part was both a good place to start and her first mis­take.

“For any woman in pol­i­tics, she just has to do her hair dif­fer­ently and it sets off a firestorm of ar­ti­cles and com­ment,” Louis-Drey­fus says.

“And all of a sud­den peo­ple are talk­ing about her hair rather than the leg­is­la­tion she’s try­ing to put through.”

For the record, the ac­tor hates her hair short too, but ad­mits it was a case of do­ing any­thing for a laugh.

“At the time I didn’t know what it was go­ing to look like,” she says. “I just said, ‘Let’s get a wig and we’ll cut it short and if it looks good, great and if it doesn’t look good, great, we can use it ei­ther way.’

“And it didn’t look good, I don’t think, but there was plenty of com­edy to be had for the bad look of the wig, which was great.”

A regular on best-dressed lists, Louis-Drey­fus had fun pulling to­gether Selina’s new wardrobe. While the fash­ion is all lat­est cou­ture, it says more than just mark­ing what’s mak­ing the pages of Vogue.

In one scene where the Pres­i­dent hosts a state din­ner af­ter suc­cess­fully hold­ing peace talks with lead­ers from the Mid­dle East, Selina sashays, OK more like shuf­fles, cen­tre stage in a sexy, strap­less Zac Posen power red evening gown.

“I love wear­ing those clothes. They’re not al­ways very com­fort­able but they’re ap­pro­pri­ately con­strain­ing.

“I wear a wig, my head is bound, my body is bound, my feet are bound in th­ese crazy high heels. It’s all good fuel,” she says.

Also pro­vid­ing fuel is the re­ac­tion that Veep is hav­ing from the politi­cians whose of­fices they mer­ci­lessly skewer.

For­mer Vice-Pres­i­dent Al Gore and in­cum­bent Joe Bi­den have both en­dorsed Louis-Drey­fus as Selina Meyer.

But will her new role as Pres­i­dent get the seal of ap­proval from Barack Obama?

“I have met him (and) I know he likes the show,” Louis-Drey­fus says.

“I don’t know if he’s seen this new di­rec­tion.

“He lives and breathes (pol­i­tics), so I’m not sure he needs to watch it too. He prob­a­bly thinks, ‘Uh uh, I’d rather watch any­thing other than a show about the Oval Of­fice.’ That would be my guess.”

... LOOK­ING THE PART WAS BOTH A GOOD PLACE TO START AND HER FIRST MIS­TAKE

Ju­lia Louis-Drey­fus as Selina Meyer in po­lit­i­cal com­edy

Veep, in

which she be­comes US Pres­i­dent.

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