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Veep Actress Anna Chlumsky on Acting and Inspiration

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Answer by Anna Chlumsky, Actress, VEEP

Q: Does the cast of Veep inspire each other with the work they do, and if so, how?
A: I marvel at everyone at least once an episode. Truly. And that includes our guests. Our Casting in LA, NY and Baltimore find us the cream of the crop. It's the best job when you can be inspired by people's work daily. To avoid such a cloyingly political answer, however, I will single someone out: Dan Bakkedahl is one of the most genius improv actors I know. He's amazing scripted as well. But his improvisation is so connected to his character, you never notice the seams. And I'm critical of seams. He's a lesson in commitment. Script or no.

Q: What are the pros and cons of acting in an ensemble film or series?
A: I guess in numbers, the majority of my scenes are with Julia and Tony. But it's a slim majority. I am blessed to work with most of the cast most of the time. And to your point, yes. It is an ensemble piece in its truest sense. We all bring something necessary to the table, and this farcical machine of ours wouldn't run as well with anyone absent. It's my favorite kind of work. It's collaborative, it's energetic, and it's SO MUCH FREAKIN' FUN!

Q: What are some of the challenges actors face when portraying a character?
A: Keeping a lid on impulses -- or, reinterpreting them, I should say. As actors, our whole goal is to be open to our impulses. Building a character sometimes requires us to filter those impulses so it's right for that person in that particular scene. Rarely does Amy have the license to tell Selina exactly what she's thinking, or to get emotional, or to just wild out. Playing her, I'll feel the gamut of impulses, but it's my job to express them as Amy would in the text. I think the struggle is fun to watch - as it is fun to play. Also, as a result, I fight plenty of shoulder tension.

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