For some people, Julia Louis-Dreyfus will forever be inseparable from her Seinfeld alter ego Elaine. For a vastly smaller number, she’s more memorable as the title character in The New Adventures of Old Christine. Now she’s playing a new character, and as far as fictional careers go, it’s a step up: the Vice President.
Veep, which premiered on HBO on April 22 to mostly positive reviews, is about a woman who almost has power, and her desperate, unseemly attempts to claw through the last few barriers that keep her from it. That she does this while also desperately trying to exhibit the quiet confidence of real power adds to the comic effect. Should she wear glasses to a meeting because they make her look intelligent? Or should she eschew them because they’re a sign of weakness, “a wheelchair for the eyes?”
Louis Dreyfus visited TIME’s offices for 10 Questions. After pausing to take photos of the artworks in the lobby of the Time & Life Building, she talked about why she ends up playing unpleasant people, the indignities she’s experienced in her own life and what one thing she wished she had done differently.
And of course, she talked about Elaine Benes, a great role that has forever destroyed weddings for her.