Anna Chlumsky reveals which 'Veep' scene was an accident
Veep‘s Amy had a roller coaster of a year, what with losing (and then winning) the role of Selina’s campaign manager—but for the actress that plays her, things are looking up. We caught up with Chlumsky, nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy for the second year in a row, right after she found out about her nod.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations!
ANNA CHLUMSKY: Thank you very much!
Where were you when you found out this morning?
I was actually about to take a little morning nap, because I had already been up for a few hours with my daughter. I was like, “Oh, do I do yoga, or do I nap, or do I do both?” And so I was planning on doing both, and really, I was just about to put my head on the pillow and then my phone rang.
So now you don’t get to nap, but do you get to do yoga?
I will tonight after rehearsal. This is worth it. [Laughs]
Yes, absolutely! Looking back on the season, what was your favorite scene or moment while filming Veep?
Oh gosh. It’s all really, really delicious obviously, but the Chris Meloni episodes were a real treat because he plays Ray, who’s Selina’s personal trainer/health guru. He brought an energy to the show. We have so many different types of people and acting in our show, so it was almost a surprise that we hadn’t really experienced someone like Ray before. [Laughs] And Ray was just so from a different planet than the rest of the characters. It really was like, “Wow, this is a new dynamic.” So those were a joy. The London episode includes that, and those were so much fun. Actually, if I could boil it down to one moment that kind of speaks for how much fun we have on the show, when we were in London, Tony [Hale] and Matt [Walsh] were in a scene, and they accidentally backed into a plate of china and broke it. [Laughs] And our director yelled, “Keep going, keep going,” so they just kept running with it and, as their characters, had to hide the china, put it behind a curtain. Some of the most beautiful Laurel and Hardy-inspired comedy came out of that. And we were all in the room just behind the camera trying so hard not to laugh. It was just one of those convivial, everyone’s in this together, we’re going to support this moment and just the openness to spontaneity. It was just exactly what we all sign up for every season.
I remember that. I’m surprised it wasn’t scripted, it was so seamless.
Most of the antics we do are written but that one, yeah. [Laughs] That was inspired by fate.
What episode had you submitted this year?
I submitted six, which is the episode where Amy doesn’t have the campaign manager job, and it’s the first Ray Whelans episode. It’s also the episode where we go to a gun show and Selina gets assaulted in the beginning. A ton happens in this episode, I think it’s an amazing feat that our director threaded it all together. The reason I chose it for Amy is I really felt like you never get to see Amy lose. I mean, as a function of the office, [she] loses often because they’re constantly going through hell. But she personally, I think, always tells herself she’s somehow winning. So to deal with the humiliation of losing campaign manager, which everybody knew she wanted so badly, and to still move forward, to not like resign, to just say, “You know what? I’m still going to be Selina’s chief and I’m still going to truck through and maybe find opportunities for myself but definitely for the campaign.” It was just a side of Amy that I had never seen before, that we, I felt as an audience, we hadn’t really explored before. She was kind of Accidental Amy in episode six, so that was why I felt it was an opportunity not to be missed for that role.
Looking forward, is there a side of Amy you’d like to see more of, or something you haven’t gotten to play with yet that you’d like to explore?
I’m always really intrigued by her pre-Selina past. Like, what made her cling so steadfastly to Selina for all these years when she’s young and she pretty much could kind of pepper her way through all the most popular Senators. What is it about Amy that makes her play the long game to such a degree that I think most young people—young being like under 40. I mean, 40’s young too, but you know what I mean. She’s a young chief of staff. I think that most people her age in D.C. wouldn’t be as comfortable with that strong of a long game, and so I’m always really intrigued by anything that adds to those answers.
If you could give any show, past or present, an Emmy just because you love it, what show would it be?
Oh, there’s plenty! You know what I thought was kind of underappreciated was The Shield. I really feel like Sopranos, Deadwood, and The Shield were the beginnings of this quote-unquote Golden Age of this, like, cinematic storytelling through television. Anyone’s who’s missed The Shield should go back and watch it. Oh, and also Battlestar Galactica. Geez!
Selina Meyer and her staff try to take on the White House in this HBO sitcom.