Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars in the romantic dramedy "Enough Said." She plays a divorced mom who is facing some of the typical difficulties of middle age—growing old alone and having a daughter who’s leaving for college. As Eva, she meets a middle-aged man, Albert (played by James Gandolfini, in one of his last roles), who is dealing with similar issues.
The film was written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, who previously wrote the acclaimed independent films, "Lovely & Amazing" and "Friends with Money."
Louis-Dreyfus, a young looking 52, recently spoke about her new film, working with Gandolfini, and playing a masseuse.
Q: What made you think James would be so good as your romantic interest in this?
Louis-Dreyfus: A couple of things. First of all, he’s an outstanding actor. Secondly, James is a gentle giant. This part that he plays—Albert—is this kind, thoughtful, earnest and self-effacing fellow who is very, very close to who James Gandolfini was, much more so than Tony Soprano. He was no mafia boss, James Gandolfini. He was a teddy bear, in a sense—a dear, dear man.
Q: Did you like playing a massage therapist? Were you surprised when you saw the script and did you ask for any changes to the character?
Louis-Dreyfus: No. I thought massage thing was great because the metaphor of her physically massaging and nurturing other people but no one’s nurturing her was a good one. It spoke to me.
Q: Did you receive any training?
Louis-Dreyfus: Yes I did. I worked with a massage therapist. I’m not as good as my teacher, I can tell you that.
Q: Did you have to learn to knit too? How is your knitting?
Louis-Dreyfus: Actually I do knit. I’m a terrible knitter but I adore knitting. Knitting was a lovely thing to be able to do. It was written (in the script) but I do knit.
Q: Did you have to do many takes of that scene where Eva’s figuring out that she’s caught in the lie and needs to confess?
Louis-Dreyfus: Different, yeah. It was very tough.
Q: Was there room to improvise?
Louis-Dreyfus: Tons of room. Nicole Holofcener encourages improvisation and we did quite a lot of it and a lot of its on the film.
Q: Can you relate at all to her choice to not reveal what she knows until late in the film?
Louis-Dreyfus: I don’t know that I would have done the same but I relate to her desire and I understand her fear. I don’t judge her because if you’re going to play a character, you can’t really judge them. You got to get inside of them and understand what makes them tick. I really understand her fear. I get it.
Q: You’ve had a pretty good batting average with successful TV shows.
Louis-Dreyfus: Yeah, I’ve been very lucky.
Q: Would you like to do more dramatic work now, like sitcom star Mary Tyler Moore did after her TV shows ended?
Louis-Dreyfus: I would relish that, absolutely.
Q: There’s a lot of comedy of discomfort in the movie. What is it like being in those awkward scenes?
Louis-Dreyfus: It was excruciating to do. I love scenes like that. I love awkward, wincey, shame-filled moments of entertainment. I love to live there for as long as possible.
Q: Of course, you’ve got another hit TV series. There were a lot of changes in season two of “Veep.” Can you talk about them?
Louis-Dreyfus: I’m leaving today to get back into shooting season three. In season two, we saw Selena get a lot more responsibility and power as Vice President, mean some more, and what the ramifications are. It has a little more gravitas to it in a comedic way.
Q: Does your portrayal of a Vice President make you look at Joe Biden differently?
Louis-Dreyfus: It makes me think about politicians different, not Joe Biden specifically, although I’m a huge Joe Biden fan. The idea in this day and age of staying afloat politically while governing and trying to keep your ideals and moral compass on track is hard. I don’t know how they do it. I really don’t. I have admiration for those that can.
Q: How has your relationship with “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci grown because you probably weren’t that aware of him before the show?
Louis-Dreyfus: Well actually I was because I knew “In The Loop,” which is such a spectacular film that James was in. I didn’t know “The Thick of It” until after I’d met him and we started talking about “Veep.” I’m a huge Armando Iannucci fan and he’s a dear friend. I’m seeing him later today. I’ll give him your best.
Q: Would you like to do theater?
Louis-Dreyfus: Not now because I have a 16-year-old daughter still at home. Maybe later.
Q: Is it luck or is it having a sense of looking at what’s on the page and the people that you’re going to be working with and being able to say yes or no?
Louis-Dreyfus: It’s a great deal of luck. I think I do have a fairly good sense of sniffing out good material. Having said that, it’s not like you can pluck good material from trees. There’s not tons of it out there. Sometimes you’ve got to wait it out. I want more good material, be it in television or movies.
Q: You’ve talked about stepping away from comedy. Would you ever do something tragic like Lady Macbeth?
Louis-Dreyfus: Sure, I do. I would love to spread my wings in that direction.