Contributing editor Vanessa Grigoriadis scored an equally revealing story from the 53-year-old star of the HBO political satire Veep, who has anchored two other shows since her smash success in Seinfeld – Watching Ellie and The New Adventures of Old Christine – and recently appeared opposite James Gandolfini in his final film, Enough Said.
Throughout her career – which began on Saturday Night Live in the Eighties – she has persevered, much like her foul-mouthed Veep character, Selina Meyer. "There is sexism – I'm not denying its existence," she says. "But I'm saying that I will deny its effort against me. I just pay it no nevermind and say, 'Get out of my way.'" Here are five revelations from the cover story:
She is genuinely thrilled about cursing as much as she does on the show.
"Once, when we were trying to come up with the particular perfect, horrible, swear-y thing to say in Veep, I said, 'You do realize that if we were 12, we would get in big trouble for this conversation,'" she said. "That was not part of the curriculum in high school, and the fact that it is now a part of the curriculum of my life is a pleasure, which is the understatement of the universe." Incidentally, a Senate aide told Rolling Stone that Veep is "way more realistic than House of Cards ... It works because it's revealing truths."
She got the part because the show's creators loved her sense of humor.
"Julia's not just a natural comedic performer – she's a natural comedic brain," Veep creator Armando Iannucci said. "Once we have a script, she likes to go away and have a real think on what her character would do to react to the reality of every situation, if it would be funny to have her twitch, or to be thirsty, or if her mind was on something else."
Similarly she got the part of Elaine Benes on Seinfeld because of her "disposition."
Seinfeld creator Larry David met Louis-Dreyfus when he was a writer on Saturday Night Live. When NBC brass wanted a female foil for Jerry on the series, he turned to his SNL friend. Looking back, he told Rolling Stone she was "bright, charming – striking, actually – and she had a great disposition, which, considering the bunker mentality that was SNL at the time, wasn't easy."
She has had a good rapport with actual veeps.
In addition to meeting Al Gore – "who did win, by the way," she said, raising a finger – she recently shared a memorable dinner with Joe Biden. "He loves to tell stories, and I'm a good listener," she said. "I loved that dinner. There was no cynicism, just a very earnest jubilation about being there."
Contrary to what the Internet may say, she is not a billionaire.
When Rolling Stone asked about her father's firm, the Louis Dreyfus corporation, which had holdings in energy, soybean-crushing plants and real estate – and recently donated $1 million to help eradicate voter suppression – she clarified that it's her father's business that's valued in billions. "I've been attached to that," she said. "It's unbelievable, because whatever I do, people just assume it's true. Welcome to the fuckin' Internet."