Veep's Anna Chlumsky on Plays, Pantsuits, and Pretend Politics
It’s April Fools' and opening night for Anna Chlumsky’s new play Living On Love, the second time she’s taken Broadway in the last four months. (In January, she stepped into the role of Alice Sycamore in the revival of You Can’t Take It With You.) Tonight, previews begin for Living On Love, co-starring the operatic soprano Renee Fleming, Douglas Sill, and Jerry O’Connell. (Get tickets here.) As Amy Brookheimer, the harried Girl Friday to vice president Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) on the acidic political satire Veep—whose fourth season premieres April 12—Chlumsky is used to frantic multitasking. That said, this month is a busy one for the 34-year-old actress—not that that stopped her from answering a few of our burning questions.
On Broadway, your character in Living On Love, Iris Peabody, gets to wear flirty cocktail dresses. Were you excited to be liberated from the pantsuits on Veep?I actually never wore a pantsuit on that show. Julia has, but it has been a discussion every season. Now, it’s got to be really important for me to wear a pantsuit. But with the new season, I am excited to see what everybody thinks in the shift in Selina’s responsibilities and power and all that. I’m eager to have those answers.
Is there an added frisson now that the possibility of a woman in the oval office in 2016 seems achievable?We’re pretty good at separating our own desires from what is happening on the show. Like in most of Armando Iannucci’s writing [Chlumsky starred in his earlier film, In The Loop], we’re inspired by political habits and mishaps in the world, but you can really apply it to human nature.
As a long-time fan of Veep, I’ve always wondered: What are you typing so furiously into your Blackberry?We don’t send anything, though we could. The Blackberries are activated. For me, I do try to keep it within the world of what Amy would probably be typing because it keeps it more truthful. Usually it’s something like, "Call me now!” or “Get it done now!”
Finally, who would win in Underwood vs. Meyer in 2016?I’d have to say Underwood, for his homicidal tendencies. We haven’t gone there yet. Selina keeps it pretty legal—for now.