When Veep season seven premieres in 2019, it will be the series’ last — and shortest — season, with just seven episodes to wrap up the adventures of Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and company. However, fewer episodes doesn’t mean the season was any easier to shoot — in fact, for Louis-Dreyfus, it was one of the most harrowing because she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer right before filming was scheduled to begin.
In a new interview with The Washington Post, Louis-Dreyfus opens up about her cancer treatments and how they affected production on the show as well as why she didn’t just consider walking away to focus on her health. In just two words, she reveals that wasn’t even an option: “Oh, no,” she said. Then she added, “I love making people laugh, and I love making people cry even, and I find the pursuit of a truthful performance to be deeply satisfying to my core.”
Per the Post, Louis-Dreyfus went in for a biopsy on a Friday in September 2017, then won her latest Emmy (marking 11 total in her career) for playing the veep on Veep on Sunday, then received her cancer diagnosis on Monday. At first, she assumed production could go on as normal.
“Originally, I had this idea, well, we’ll shoot in between my chemo treatments,” she said. “We could do that. Chemotherapy. What? That’s what sick people get. The whole thing was so astounding.”
However, undergoing treatment — which included surgery as well as chemotherapy, per the Post — was harder than Louis-Dreyfus anticipated. “I thought I could muscle through it, and to a certain extent, I did, because we did have table reads of scripts every three weeks,” she said. “But I got really ill, so I couldn’t have ever shot anything during that period of time.”
Louis-Dreyfus also said that she couldn’t quite speak to how being diagnosed with cancer has affected her outlook on life as a whole: “I feel like I’m still a little bit in the throes of it,” she admitted. “Except what I would say about the fragility of life, as tropey as that sounds — I really do feel like, I guess people die. You go through life not considering the eventual reality that you’re going to bite the dust, and so is everybody around you.”
Ultimately, filming on Veep season seven was delayed and is happening now; HBO has not released a premiere date yet, but the final season of the award-winning series is expected sometime in spring 2019. We’re glad Louis-Dreyfus is moving past this scary period in her life and that her health is on the mend. We’ll be rooting for her, both on-screen and off.