Veep at PaleyFest: The Cast Talks House of Cards, Dream Casting for the POTUS, and More
Veep's third season premieres Sunday, April 6 on HBO, which means that if you haven't yet watched the first two, there's still time to rectify your egregious mistake by marathoning Armando Iannucci's hilarious satire of American politics. Iannucci (who also created the U.K. political comedy The Thick Of It) took the stage at PaleyFest on Thursday with Veep cast members Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Matt Walsh, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Sufe Bradshaw, Kevin Dunn, and Gary Cole to discuss the series' "funny 'cause it's true" nature, who he'd like to cast as the POTUS, and more.
On the show's accuracy:
Iannucci did a lot of research in Washington, D.C. before creating the series, and said that it's both gratifying and frightening when he's told by politicians just how accurate the series is compared to what actually transpires in our nation's capital. "It's when we actually come up with a storyline that we think is the most ridiculous story we've ever come up with and we do it and then you get a call from Washington saying, 'How did you find that out?'"
On casting Julia Louis-Dreyfus as in the title role:
Louis-Dreyfus has won two Emmys for her portrayal of U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer. "Even before I read the script, I was told about this concept of Armando's and it was me as an unhappy vice president, and I'm like, 'I'm in!'" said Louis-Dreyfus, who's also a producer on the series. "[Iannucci] and I were meant to have tea for a half-hour and we ended up chatting for three-and-a-half hours... [the show] was one happy, delightful surprise gift after another."
On a potential crossover with Netflix's House of Cards:
After a fan inquired about the possibility of crossover between Veep and House of Cards, Iannucci joked that “the cast is very talented in Veep—more talented than the ones in House of Cards. There’s some basic staring at cameras while you say your lines going on in House of Cards, which is a fundamental mistake. It should be rooted out in Acting Class 1.”
On insulting Jonah:
Nearly every single character has insulted Jonah at some point, and when asked to name his favorite insult so far, Timothy Simons noted that "jolly green jizz-face" was a standout. "My parents were very proud," he joked. Simons also said that's very impressed when the writers manage to come up with a new joke about Jonah's height (Simons is 6'5") that he hasn't heard yet. "At least once an episode there's one I haven't heard."
On improv and breaking character on set:
The cast often improvises during rehearsals, which take place for a few days before the filming of each episode. Rehearsals aren't normally something most TV shows have the chance to do, but on Veep, they're considered part of the writing process. "We do mess with each other, [though]" explained Walsh. "We'll say things that strike us as funny in the moment. Some people are worse than others; Tony [Hale]'s the worst." Louis-Dreyfus challenged the audience to pay close attention to Hale in Season 3 because he's the one who breaks most often.
On whether we'll ever see real politicians on the show:
Basically, no. Veep is set in a parallel universe where you don't know who the president is. "Let’s say, for the sake of argument, the governor of a state turned up," said Iannucci. "You then say to yourself, 'Okay, he's a Democrat. Is Obama the president then?'" In order to avoid those kinds of questions all together, the creative team has decided not to allow real politicians to guest-star, although several have asked.
On who could play the president if we ever meet him:
When asked about who they might like to one day see play POTUS on the series, Iannucci was the only panelist to answer: "Arnold Schwarzenegger." Please, no one tell him about the law that dictates that the president has to have been born in the U.S., because that would be hilarious.
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