Selina throws her hat in the ring as HBO’s ‘Veep’ en­ters its fi­nal cam­paign

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Spotlight - BY GE­ORGE DICKIE

Talk to just about any ac­tor who has played a char­ac­ter over mul­ti­ple sea­sons and they’ll talk of a with­drawal and a sad­ness they feel when it comes time to say good­bye.

For Ju­lia Louis-Drey­fus, who has in­hab­ited the skin of Vice Pres­i­dent/ Pres­i­dent Selina Meyer in the HBO po­lit­i­cal satire “Veep,” which be­gins its sev­enth and fi­nal sea­son Sun­day, March 31, there were mixed emo­tions that came with the end of the Emmy-win­ning se­ries.

“I was so over­come with joy and grief, a joy and grief mash-up, as this show ended,” the ac­tress ex­plains, “and it re­ally was very sur­pris­ing to me ... . And I think that’s be­cause this show frankly has been my baby for now eight years, that I’ve felt fiercely pro­tec­tive of and proud of ... . You know, it’s not lost on me that that is not some­thing that comes along with fre­quency. And so say­ing good­bye to it was a very hard thing to do even though it was our de­ci­sion to do it. Ul­ti­mately it was a very sad thing. I don’t know how else to say it.”

Her sad­ness is un­der­stand­able. LouisDrey­fus has en­joyed ar­guably her great­est pro­fes­sional suc­cess play­ing the self­cen­tered, foul-mouthed for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive, win­ning six Emmy Awards as lead ac­tress to go with three more for best com­edy se­ries (of which she is an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer). This in a ca­reer that has won her mul­ti­ple awards and crit­i­cal praise in se­ries such as “The New Ad­ven­tures of Old Chris­tine,” “Satur­day Night Live” and “Se­in­feld.”

As “Veep” gears up for its fi­nal round, few de­tails were avail­able on the seven episodes that make up Sea­son 7, save for the fact that Selina will be back on the cam­paign trail as she runs for pres­i­dent and much of the cast, in­clud­ing Tony Hale as aide Gary, Anna Ch­lum­sky as Selina’s right hand, Amy, and Gary Cole as Kent, her po­lit­i­cal strate­gist, will be back.

A trailer made avail­able re­cently fea­tures a mon­tage of scenes from the new sea­son, in­clud­ing one that is very em­blem­atic of the times, in which Selina com­plains to her staff, “This en­tire coun­try is get­ting more dis­gust­ing by the se­cond,” to which Kent replies, “That’s a demo we’re tar­get­ing on Face­book.”

“I think that given our cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cli­mate,” Louis-Drey­fus says, “it’s been more chal­leng­ing for us to sort of push bound­aries, so to speak. But hav­ing said that, we have this virtue of hav­ing not iden­ti­fied party in our show and not re­ally iden­ti­fied any con­tem­po­rary po­lit­i­cal fig­ures, and so we’re in an al­ter­nate uni­verse, and that’s help­ful, par­tic­u­larly now. I think it’s, in many ways, why the show has lasted as long as it has, be­cause it kind of in­vites ev­ery­one to the party ... and I think it’s, in a way, more apt than it ever has been given the cur­rent insanity that we’re all liv­ing in.”

“Veep” be­gins its sev­enth and fi­nal sea­son Sun­day on HBO.

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