A week after it made its very well received debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, Nicole Holofcener’s fifth feature film “Enough Said” is hitting theaters. With that comes the first major film role for television icon Julia Louis-Dreyfus since 1997’s “Deconstructing Harry.”
In “Enough Said,” Louis-Dreyfus plays a divorced mother who begins dating a man played by the late, great James Gandolfini. But when she comes to realize that her new friend (played by Catherine Keener) is actually Gandolfini’s ex, things get… complicated.
Louis-Dreyfus sat down with Indiewire the day after the Toronto premiere to talk about her return to film, her love of Holofcener, and what’s next for both herself and the next season of her Emmy-winning HBO series “Veep.”
So it’s been fifteen years since you’ve done a narrative feature film role. Why did you decide to jump back into it?
A couple things. I mean, I’ve been working in television and raising kids for last 20 years. The time was limited because when you’re working 8 or 9 months a year [on a TV series] the idea of going off and making a film… Oh my god. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t leave home and the kids. It was too much for me. But now with my “Veep” schedule being what it is.
Just ten episodes a year.
Exactly. I read the script and I thought it was highly unusual in terms of the point of view, the characters that are drawn, in particularly the character of Eva that I play. It was in Los Angeles and the movie was set in Los Angeles and I live in Los Angeles. I was such a massive Nicole Holofcener fan that it was an irresistible cocktail.
Honestly, I would have been shocked if I didn’t like a Nicole Holofcener film, but this film was even more lovely than I expected.
I know it. She has such a distinct voice, don’t you think?
There’s nothing else like it. What was the first time you discovered her work?
Oh, I’ve been a fan forever.
Well she’s offered you something we don’t see from your work very often. There’s a few dramatic scenes, particularly towards the end of the film. Do you find that difficult compared to comedy — which you have seemed to clearly mastered by this point?
No! I find it thrilling. I love it. Absolutely love it. It is so outstanding to get an opportunity to do something like this. I’m really happy about it, I have to say. It’s hard work. In that you have to go to a place that can be emotionally exhausting but that’s okay. It’s worth it.
I’m curious about the way Nicole fosters this clear intimacy between the actors — which is certainly evident with you James Gandolfini, as well as Toni Collette and Catherine Keener. What was her method and the actors’ method in creating that?
First of all, she and I did a lot of talking about the character beforehand. A lot of talking about who this person is and she was really interested in having those kinds of conversations, in depth conversations about character. She runs a set that’s very, very, very, relaxed. Her dog comes to the set, her kids come to the set, my kids come to the set, my parents come to the set, my best friend from the third grade, her best friend. There is a comfort that she promotes on set that helps everybody relaxed into behaving I would say as realistically as possible.
Coming here to Toronto and doing this film festival thing, that’s something pretty new for you. What’s that like going and seeing this film with this giant auditorium with 2,000 people?
Wasn’t that crazy? It was so much fun. I have to say, it’s such a ball to hear a response. Oh my god. It’s going to premiere in New York next week; I’m so excited to hear an audience response again. It will be interesting to see how different it is cause it’s New York versus Toronto and blah, blah, blah. I get a huge kick out of it.
So on another note, is there anything you want to offer up about third season of ‘Veep’?
We’re shooting it now. We’re into season three, Selina has launched a book tour. She’s got a book coming out. We’re going to get these characters outside of Washington a lot because there’s going to be a lot of pre-campaigning campaigning.
Speaking of getting out of Washington, the Denmark episode is one of my favorite episodes of television in a long time.
I’m so glad you liked that. It was a really fun one to do. How good is Sally Phillips? She’s crazy great.
She’s amazing. So is Dave Foley.
Anyway, so I guess finally, I know you’ve done some filmmaking of your own. You directed short film that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year. Do you want to continue working on that side of the camera and I wondered if Nicole had any sort of influence on your own ambitions as a filmmaker?
Yeah I do. First of all, I love the film festival circuit. I think there’s something about it, I don’t know. Maybe I am being Pollyanna-ish about this but it’s an opportunity to be very supportive of filmmakers and there’s just this goodwill which I love.
And a sense of community. Here in Toronto it is perhaps a little too epic to feel that but it’s still here.
It’s still there and I’ve been to a few now — well you’ve probably been to many because you kind of live it. But I think it’s amazing and it feels like the best of what film has to offer. Even if something’s not good there’s an earnestness to trying to get it out there and seen that I love. So yeah, I want to do more of this. I’m a little bit tired at this moment, but I do.
Are you also going to continue acting in films again or was this maybe a one off?
No. I’ll probably do a few more. I would like to continue. Assuming the right part comes along and right script. It’s not like you can just pluck it off trees.
Especially something like this. This is pretty rare role for..
A woman of my age? Yeah, exactly.
Well, I certainly hope they come along or maybe Nicole can just put you in every single one of her movies.
I would have no problem with that.
Catherine Keener seems to be up for it.