The storied comedian opened up about the series and her treatment in Entertainment Weekly’s cover story bidding farewell to the TV POTUS and her bumbling administration. The issue of whether or not the final season of Veep would film as planned was moot to everyone involved after her diagnosis — except for Louis-Dreyfus herself, who at first suggested they simply film during the span of her cancer treatment.
“I was never going to walk away from this, under any circumstances,” the Seinfeld and SNL alum told EW. Instead, the actor put the public announcement of her breast cancer to push hard for universal healthcare.
“It never occurred to me not to do the show,” Louis-Dreyfuss continues in the story. “For a couple of days — not knowing this road I was about to walk down, not fully understanding, and possibly in a sort of state of denial too — I was thinking, ‘Well, we’ll shoot around chemo. We’ll figure it out.’ I had that idea, which is, of course, absurd. But I didn’t think of it as such until reality came crashing in.”
And the reality of her cancer treatment was brutal. Filming dates had to be arranged within the confines of her chemo schedule. Table reads of new scripts were scheduled on the day before Louis-Dreyfus’s each successive treatment, when she was feeling stronger.
“It was just nice to see her physically laughing, smiling, and it gave me the sense and the hope that it was all going to be just fine,” said Timothy Simons, who plays Jonah Ryan (the show’s “B-list, D-bag congressman,” as described by EW).
“To see somebody who’s going through treatment and still be able to f—ing crush a table read — she’s in chemotherapy and she’s still the best f—ing actor in the world. It’s unbelievable,” Simons marveled to EW. “But to all that know her, absolutely not surprising.”
Though the show in many ways reflects our current real-life state of the union, this tidbit isn’t fake news: The cast and crew of Veep filmed sweet videos of support for Louis-Dreyfus to watch in the car on the way to her chemo treatments. Tell us again how we’re going to be able to bid this group goodbye after seven seasons?
Louis-Dreyfus, on her part, was beyond grateful for all the love from her crew and cast mates. “I welcomed the distraction. It was weird, though, because my immune system was compromised to a certain extent,” she said. “I couldn’t hug anybody or touch anybody. That was a very strange feeling because I’m a hugger, I’m a toucher… I mean, in a good sense, not the bad sense,” she quipped.
Talk about fighting the good fight. Oh, Selina Myers, we’re going to miss you, you hot mess — but we’re overjoyed that we get to hang on to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, national treasure.
Veep‘s final season premieres on HBO on March 31.