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Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Tuesday" and podcast "Wiser Than Me"

Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Tuesday," podcast "Wiser Than Me"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Tuesday," podcast "Wiser Than Me" 07:51

For Julia Louis-Dreyfus, real life can be just as humorous as the comedian herself. "I had this great opportunity to receive the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame," she said. "Would you believe that they misspelled my name? They wrote Luis. L-U-I-S. And I have the misspelled part. It's framed in my office, just as a reminder, just when you thought it was perfect and you'd landed it? No."

Don't let her modesty fool you. The 63-year-old actor has more than landed it. She made her debut on "Saturday Night Live" in 1982, before going on to play some of TV's most iconic women, including Elaine Benes, the sarcastic best friend on "Seinfeld"; and Selina Meyer, the narcissistic vice president on "Veep." Along the way, she's earned a record-setting 11 Emmys, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and the National Medal of Arts.

Known for her impeccable comedic timing, the star hasn't been afraid to dabble in drama. Her new film, "Tuesday," is a reflection of that. Louis-Drefyus plays Zora, a mother struggling to cope with the fate of her dying daughter, Tuesday.

Asked what drew her to the role, Louis-Drefyus said, "I was immediately intrigued because it was so 'out there.' It's really sort of a magical fiction-y adult fairytale. And I thought, 'Okay. I'm gonna take this leap, I'm gonna do it.'"

The film's fantasy comes in the form of a talking parrot who is the embodiment of death. When he visits Tuesday, Zora's maternal instincts are put to the test.

To watch a trailer for "Tuesday" click on the video plater below:

Tuesday | Official Trailer HD | A24 by A24 on YouTube

Morales asked, "You're trying to have him spare your daughter's life?"

"Yeah, 'going there,' to that place, to your worst fear and nightmare as a parent," Louis-Dreyfus replied. "It was crushingly difficult, to tell you the truth. I had to call home a lot."

She felt the story was a chance to get people thinking: "It's an opportunity to have conversations about grief and death and dying. I think it's a taboo subject."

Does she think about how to have those conversations? "Yeah. I think about it a lot. I think endings, in a weird way, can be similar to beginnings. There's something sacred about endings that needs to be honored and recognized."

Having survived breast cancer in 2018,  living her life with meaning and joy is what Louis-Dreyfus is striving for these days. Her passion project is her podcast, "Wiser Than Me," where she speaks with older women she admires and absorbs their life lessons. She said, "I feel older women sort of disappear from our culture and our society, and there's a lot of wisdom to be gained from these ladies. They are on the frontlines of life. And I want to hear from them."

The conversations go deep and get personal on topics like aging, sexism and self-acceptance. "Maybe it's because of my age and, you know, maybe it's because I had this really bad cancer scare," she said. "And it sort of brought certain things into sharp focus for me, in a way. It's been a great gift to have the opportunity to talk to these women and to explore these subjects."

Last month, "Wiser Than Me" took home a Webby, one of the most prestigious awards in podcasting, for podcast of the year. Giving the Webbys' "five-word acceptance speech" for her award, Louis-Dreyfus said, "Listen to old women, mother*****s!"

Family is never far for Louis-Dreyfus. She calls her 90-year-old mother, Judith Bowles, at the end of each podcast episode. The actress has been married to her college sweetheart, actor Brad Hall, for 37 years. Their two sons, Henry and Charlie, seem to be following in their parents' footsteps into the family business. "You know, it's so funny because I did not see this coming," Louis-Dreyfus said. "I do help 'em with auditions. I read with them. You know, everybody does these self-tapes now, so I'm very frequently the actor on the other side. I help them tweak scenes."

"How do they take your advice?" Morales asked.

"They take it!" she laughed.

julia-louis-dreyfus-interview.jpg
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus. CBS News

As they embark on their careers, Louis-Dreyfus is reflecting on hers. Asked if there was a point when she realized she'd made it, she replied, "I don't think of my life and my world like that. Really, I don't. This is the thing about being an actor: You're like a part of a traveling circus, you're going to the next town, you're looking for the next gig."

"Are you ever just comfortable in the quiet, though, of maybe not having a next gig?"

"What, am I giving off crazy vibes?"

"No, no, I'm just wondering, 'cause I know if I'm not getting emails or if my phone's not ringing, it's uncomfortable," Morales said.

"Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm a bit of a workhorse," Louis-Dreyfus said. "I absolutely like my downtime. But I don't like too much downtime. I like to work."

And she's willing to take risks. After all, Julia Louis-Dreyfus says she has nothing to lose, and everything to gain: "I'm just trying to get as much juicy juiciness out of life as I can, and I'm looking for adventure and to try new things. I am having a good time!"

      
For more info:

     
Story produced by Michelle Kessel. Editor: Lauren Barnello. 

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