Julia Louis-Dreyfus became a comedy icon for playing Elaine Benes on nine seasons of NBC’s “Seinfeld,” but the role wasn’t completely fulfilling for her when the show first got off the ground. Speaking to The Daily Beast, Louis-Dreyfus revealed she regularly urged series creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld to give her character more to do on the show.
“Well, I never really approached it from the perspective of my gender, per se. I wanted to just play ball with everybody,” Louis-Dreyfus said about the role. “I’m not going to lie, in the beginning, I didn’t always have a lot to do in certain episodes. And I would go to Larry and Jerry multiple times and say, ‘Hey, you guys, write me more, I need to be in this show more.’ That’s what I just kept doing. And they did.”
“But you see, they didn’t write for me as a woman,” she added. “They just wrote for me, for this character, as opposed to this gender, which I think is instructive in a lot of ways from a writing point of view.”
Louis-Dreyfus earned seven consecutive Emmy Award nominations for playing Elaine on “Seinfeld,” and she won outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for the role at the 1996 ceremony. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Louis-Dreyfus said it was hard coping with the end of the show’s run.
“I think any time a project ends, it’s gutting for me,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “And that’s true of movies and TV shows. There is a focus and a camaraderie that’s very much present when you’re working hard on a project that you believe in, and when the circus leaves town, it’s a huge transition. There’s a real feeling of sadness for me. ‘Where did all my buddies go?’ ‘Where are my friends?’”
When Rolling Stone brought up the infamous “Seinfeld curse,” Louis-Dreyfus added: “It was invented by the media. They thought it was clever. You don’t need me to prove it wrong, it was ridiculous! It made no sense. I was amazed that it had legs, because it was so moronic. I don’t know how else to say it!”
The curse originated after several of the cast’s post-“Seinfeld” sitcoms bombed. Louis-Dreyfus’ follow-up NBC series “Watching Ellie” ran for two seasons before being canceled for low ratings. If there was a curse, Louis-Dreyfus broke it with CBS’ “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” which ran for five seasons and won her an Emmy in 2006. She went on to earn six more Emmys for her performance on HBO’s beloved political satire “Veep.”