Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Her ‘Happy Place’ and Why Older Women Shouldn’t Be ‘Invisible’ (Exclusive)
"I'm interested in stories that are not derivative, that feel fresh, that kind of maybe can be conversation starters," the actress tells PEOPLE
“Older women are very much made invisible in our culture,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus tells PEOPLE. “And that’s tragic.”
Which is why the 62-year-old star of Seinfeld and Veep is doing her part to make sure that doesn’t happen: She plays the lead in You Hurt My Feelings, a big-screen comedy out May 26. She recently launched a hit podcast called Wiser Than Me, where she has juicy, rollicking conversations with accomplished women of a certain age, like actress Jane Fonda, writer Isabel Allende and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg.
She even has a place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe playing Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, last seen in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and is on tap for more appearances in the blockbuster franchise.
Invisible? Not if she can help it. Part of that is making sure varied stories get told onscreen.
“I'm interested in stories that are not derivative, that feel fresh, that kind of maybe can be conversation starters,” she says about You Hurt My Feelings (which she also executive produced). In it, she plays Beth, a New York City writer who is devastated when she inadvertently learns her beloved husband Don (Tobias Menzies), who has been praising the book she has written, actually thinks it’s terrible.
Related: Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Why She Identified with Her 'Devastated' Character in 'You Hurt My Feelings' (Exclusive)
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"This movie is so much about human relationships and the minutiae of human relationships and human behavior,” she says. “It really gets into the weeds of the connections between people, and that's where I live. I love to explore that as an actor, both comedically and dramatically, so it's kind of my happy place.”
Her podcast is another place where she’s finding new joy.
“I saw this documentary on HBO called Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” she says. “[As] I was watching it, I was thinking, God, you know, we just don't hear from older women. We don't do a deep dive very often into the lives of older women. They've lived, they have all this experience under their belt, and why aren't we hearing from them?"
"So I thought it would be exciting to compile a list of women and see if anybody wanted to sit down and have a pretty frank, honest conversation about life. … It’s been really exciting."
With her current rush of projects you’d think the actress’s plate would be full. But "I want to accomplish so much more,” she says. "More, more more. I’m loving it. I want to have my health, keep doing really cool gigs, and make new friends along the way."
For more on Julia Louis-Dreyfus, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
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