HBO

14 Presidential Facts About Veep

HBO

The comedy Veep stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer, a woman surrounded by foul-mouthed staff members dictating all of her actions, all the way to the Presidency. It was created by Armando Iannucci, who created the British political comedy series The Thick Of It, and wrote and directed the Oscar-nominated spinoff film In the Loop (2009). Despite Veep finally taking home the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series for its fourth season, Iannucci left the show. Here are some facts about the series to read before you fall asleep on C-SPAN.

1. ARMANDO IANNUCCI PURPOSELY DIDN'T WATCH OTHER AMERICAN POLITICAL SHOWS WHEN HE DEVELOPED VEEP.

He didn't want to be affected by them, but he had seen and heard enough to notice what was missing to come up with a "starting point" for his new show. "We went into [Veep] thinking that the portrayal of Washington had either been really melodramatic in the dark arts and corruption or heroic and noble and the president is also a qualified jet pilot who can defend America from an alien invasion."

2. LYNDON JOHNSON'S CAREER WAS AN INFLUENCE.

Iannucci read The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Robert Caro's four-volume series on the life of the former POTUS/VPOTUS. “He found himself sitting in his office just drumming his fingers thinking, I’m doing nothing. But three years later he is president," Iannucci explained. "That’s what I thought was the funny side: Somebody who has a certain amount of influence finding himself diminished but going, ‘No no no, I’m important here.’”

3. JONAH RYAN IS BASED ON A REAL GUY.

Iannucci based the character of Jonah Ryan on a man he met at the White House. When he asked the staffer if they could meet for research purposes, the man made a big deal about how busy he was, even though President Obama's personal assistant and other senior White House officials had made the time. According to Matt Walsh, who plays Mike McLintock, Jonah was originally written as a "fat, short, heavy smoker." After Timothy Simons auditioned, that changed.

4. THEY GOT SOME INTEL BY GETTING D.C. STAFFERS DRUNK.

Actors Matt Walsh, Timothy Simons, Tony Hale (Gary Walsh), and Reid Scott (Dan Egan) took some young White House staffers out for drinks to learn more about the inner workings of Washington, D.C. Scott said they were "only too willing to spill everything" about their work. "Two phones" and "pencil-fu*k" were some of the terms they picked up from the beer summits.

5. SUE WILSON COULD WORK AT THE DMV.

When actress Sufe Bradshaw was trying to figure out the best way to play her no-nonsense, executive assistant character Sue Wilson, she remembered the Department of Motor Vehicles. "DMV workers are strait-laced and go by the book and they don’t have much time because there’s so much to do in a day," Bradshaw noted.

6. IMPROVISATION IS A PART OF THE WRITING PROCESS.

The first step in the writing process is a draft of a formal script. When the actors rehearse the scenes, they work in their own lines. The staff writers take notes and use some of the actors' additions and put those into the shooting script. After filming a few takes off of the final script, they shoot a "fun run" for the actors to ad-lib further.

7. HBO WANTED SELINA MEYER TO HAVE MORE OF A POLITICAL PURPOSE.

After screening the first episode, the network expressed some concerns. "We need to feel she has a set of beliefs—an identity, even if she compromises it, or alters it," HBO told Iannucci in a conference call. This led to Meyer introducing a desire for filibuster reform in the second installment. She also was less inept at her job.

8. THE CHARACTERS PURPOSELY LOOK UNFASHIONABLE.

Iannucci instructed production design and the costume department to dress the offices and characters to be 10 years behind New York, as he feels that is the case with the actual offices and wardrobes in Washington, D.C. Dan Egan, however, gets to look three years ahead of everyone else (making him only seven years behind New Yorkers).

9. MEYER'S TITANIUM-ENFORCED BOX WAS INSPIRED BY BARBARA BOXER.

As part of her research on politicians, Louis-Dreyfus discovered that the California senator stands on a box when speaking.

10. SOMETIMES GARY WALSH IS LOOKING INTO HIS BAG SO THAT TONY HALE CAN HIDE A LAUGH.

When Tony Hale is looking at the ceiling or looking through his bag, he's being "awful and completely unprofessional" and trying not to ruin a take by cracking up. While Hale is usually the worst at keeping a straight face, Matt Walsh admitted he breaks character the most during the limo scenes.

11. BEN CAFFERTY COULD HAVE BEEN KENT DAVISON.

After reading for the role of Kent Davison (which eventually went to Gary Cole), Kevin Dunn asked if he could try out for Ben Cafferty, the President's Chief of Staff. He joined the cast in season two.

12. IT TOOK A WHILE FOR LOUIS-DREYFUS TO REALIZE SHE HAD WORKED WITH KEVIN DUNN BEFORE.

After wrapping up a day of shooting Veep, Louis-Dreyfus randomly found a Seinfeld rerun on TV. She spotted her co-star, Dunn, on the episode. Since Louis-Dreyfus' character Elaine Benes wasn't in the Seinfeld pilot, the first episode she worked on was "Male Unbonding," which featured Dunn as Joel, the friend Jerry tries to break up with.

13. THEY ALWAYS SAY NO TO POLITICAL GUEST STARS.

Iannucci said he frequently gets requests from politicians who want to make cameos, but that he has a policy of saying no because it might tip off Selina's or the POTUS' political ideology.

14. IT'S WATCHED BY SOME SUPREME COURT JUSTICES.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Elena Kagan told Louis-Dreyfus that she would have lunch once a week with fellow justice Antonin Scalia, where they would talk about Veep

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Twentieth Century Fox
Big Is Coming Back to Theaters for Its 30th Anniversary
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

Break out your giant piano: Big is coming back to theaters! As Entertainment Weekly reports, the hit Tom Hanks-starring comedy will be making its triumphant return to the big screen to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies and 20th Century Fox.

Though the movie itself was released on June 3, 1988, these special anniversary screenings will take place next month. More than 700 theaters across the country will welcome Big back into cinemas on July 15 and July 18, with 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. screenings on both days.

Though the role of Josh Baskin—a teenager who magically gets his wish to be a grown-up, with both hilarious and dramatic complications—seemed tailor-made for Hanks and his talents, the production wasn’t all smooth sailing. Originally, Steven Spielberg (whose sister co-wrote the script with Gary Ross) was attached to direct, with Harrison Ford in the lead. When Penny Marshall came on board, Hanks was her first choice, but he passed on the part (as did Kevin Costner, Warren Beatty, Albert Brooks, and a string of other in-demand actors). Robert De Niro was attached for a time, but that eventually fell apart, too.

Fortunately, the project came full circle and Hanks was eventually convinced to come aboard. He earned his first of five (and counting) Best Actor Oscar nominations for the role.

Visit the Fathom Events website to find out if Big is coming (back) to a theater near you

[h/t: Entertainment Weekly]

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Columbia Pictures
10 Fun Facts About Can’t Hardly Wait
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

When the teen film Can’t Hardly Wait—which was named after the Replacements song of the same name—arrived in theaters on June 12, 1998, it grossed $25,605,015 on a $10 million budget. In the 20 years since, the movie has found an even larger audience through DVD and cable. The premise follows Preston Meyers (Empire Records’s Ethan Embry) trying to connect with his dream girl, Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt), all the while seeking advice from his best friend, Denise Fleming (a pre-Six Feet Under Lauren Ambrose).

Originally called The Party, most of the movie takes place during a rambunctious graduation party, featuring a before-they-were-famous cast, and Jenna Elfman as a stripper dressed as an angel. The movie culminates with Preston and Amanda sealing their romance and living happily ever after. Written and directed by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, the two would later team up for Josie and the Pussycats. Here are 10 fun-filled facts about the ’90s teen comedy.

1. THE PLOT WAS BASED ON LOGISTICS.

Can't Hardly Wait was Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan’s directorial debut, so they liked the idea of having a self-contained and low-budget story to direct. “It was all practical,” Elfont told TIME. “The idea of doing a movie set at a party came first, because it seemed like it would be really cheap to shoot a movie in one location. Then we thought, what hasn’t been done? Nobody’s really done a high-school movie in a while. So we kind of fell into it that way. It was kind of an accident.”

2. SEVERAL SCENES IN THE FILM WERE CHANGED TO AVOID AN R RATING.

A year before the raunchy American Pie was released and jumpstarted R-rated teen films, Can’t Hardly Wait got watered down to get a PG-13 rating. Sony had issues with the underage drinking, and the fact there was no parental supervision at the party. “Well, who would have a high school party and have your parents there?!” Hewitt asked the Los Angeles Times. Seth Green, who played the virginal Kenny Fisher in the movie, gave a rundown of deleted or altered scenes, to Vulture.

“When [Jennifer] Love [Hewitt] first walks into the party, there’s a kid behind her holding a balloon and covering his mouth,” he said. “That used to be a beer bong, but the most expensive CG in the movie was [used] to make it [look] like that kid was smiling and holding a balloon. And then, there’s a scene where Charlie [Korsmo] and Peter [Facinelli] are at the piano. They toast, and then they cut to a wide shot where neither of them are drinking and then cut back to a close-up of them putting their glasses down because you can’t show the kids drinking.”

3. ETHAN EMBRY FORCED HIS WAY INTO PLAYING THE LEAD.

“It had been a while that I had the opportunity to play the ‘guy that gets the girl,’” Embry told VH1. “I had done those roles when I was a lot younger and this was the first time that someone would see me as a lead.” After Embry auditioned for the movie, he got offered the William Lichter part, which eventually went to Charlie Korsmo. But Embry turned the supporting part down. “I wanted to play the guy who gets the girl. That was sort of the driving thing.”

4. MELISSA JOAN HART AND JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT GOT “HIGH” ON B12 VITAMINS.

Hart purposefully chose the small role of the manic Yearbook Girl, as she was working full-time on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and couldn’t fit in a bigger part. While filming a night scene with Hewitt, Hart took B12 vitamins to stay energized, and offered them to a skeptical Hewitt, who thought the vitamins were drugs. “I finally convinced her it’s a vitamin, you can do it,” Hart told TV Guide. “So we took B12 vitamins, and then there was an owl in the tree. [Hewitt] was like, ‘See I’m high now, because there’s not really an owl in the tree.’ We were having these silly night giggles and just attributing it to B12 vitamins.”

5. JASON SEGEL HAD A CAMEO.

The actor was a year away from starring on Freaks and Geeks and seven from How I Met Your Mother when he signed on to play Watermelon Guy. Kaplan and Elfont recognized his talent immediately. “We knew how funny Jason was but there wasn’t a bigger part for him, so we were, like, let’s cast him as this watermelon guy,” Elfont told TIME.

Many other actors either got their start in the movie or became more famous as a result, including Lauren Ambrose and Freddy Rodriguez (both from Six Feet Under), Clea DuVall, Selma Blair, and Sean Patrick Thomas. “Everyone in that age range came in to read because there were no other jobs,” Kaplan told TIME. “That whole crop of people who turned out to be so talented and do so well for themselves afterward were in our movie literally, I think, because there was nothing else for them to do.”

6. EMBRY DOESN’T REMEMBER MUCH ABOUT THE SHOOT.

Embry admitted to VH1 to being “the world’s biggest stoner” while making the film. “Nothing sticks out because I was so stoned the entire time,” he said. He also confessed, “I haven’t seen the movie all the way through ... I never read the script.”

One thing he did remember, though, was the only scene he filmed with Hewitt, at the end of the movie. Before their characters kissed at the train station, Hewitt—knowing he smoked—had a basket of breath mints sent to Embry’s trailer. “And there was a basket of breath mints, you know? Like real pretty,” he said. “Like almost you give somebody flowers or a fruit basket but she gave me 50 breath mints. And it’s all different types. It was all very sweet. And that always makes me laugh thinking of that. Aww, Jennifer wanted me to smell good.” Embry took advantage of the gift and popped some breath mints into his mouth before filming. “They were rather nice cottonmouth alleviators,” he said during a Reddit AMA.

7. EMBRY DOESN’T KNOW—OR CARE—WHAT HIS CHARACTER'S LETTER SAID.

Early on at the party, Amanda finds and reads Preston’s letter and spends the rest of the film trying to find him. It must’ve been a powerful letter, because it finally brings them together at the end. “It was a prop! It was an envelope,” he told VH1. “I think I remember the directors asking me if I knew what was in there. It was a prop. It doesn’t matter. Like I know what’s in there? It’s called acting.”

8. THE CAST WOULD LOVE TO DO A SEQUEL.

In 2015, some of the cast reunited at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a screening of the film. Hewitt tweeted: “Can’t Hardly Wait reunion movie anyone? Let’s get them to make it!” In a 2013 interview with VH1, Embry was tepid about a sequel. “Maybe if they paid me more than last time,” he said about a second one. “[He and Amanda] would have to not be together anymore. Amanda and him had a horrible breakup and there were kids involved. He drinks himself silly over a typewriter. I’d make that sequel.” But in a 2015 interview with The Huffington Post, Embry changed his tune. “Of course I would be thrilled to work with any of the players involved again,” he said. “If all the stars aligned, I would be happy to entertain that possibility.”

Peter Facinelli, who played Amanda’s ex-boyfriend Mike Dexter, told IFC his thoughts on a sequel. “You know how the whole movie takes place at the high school party? We could have the whole movie take place at the reunion. I thought it’d be a fun movie.”

9. PETER FACINELLI THINKS MIKE DEXTER TURNED INTO A LOSER.

If a sequel did occur, Facinelli has an idea about what happened to Mike. “Now he’s basically the loser,” he told IFC. “The nerd was the loser in the first movie. Now he’s like the loser and then he kind of climbs back and gets back on his horse. And the nerdy kid is now the Bill Gates who is kind of like the Mike Dexter, bossing everyone around. I think [Dexter’s] just literally a loser. He’s filled with self-doubt and he would basically rise to self-confidence again and come back on top.”

10. EMBRY THINKS PRESTON AND AMANDA ENDED UP WITH WEIRD JOBS.

VH1 asked Embry where he thinks the characters would be today, and he said: “She’s j*rking off dudes in Vancouver, and he’s making horror movies in upstate New York.”

Elfont took a more serious approach to the question, for TIME. “[The on-screen text at the end of the movie] says they’re still together,” Elfont said. “Who am I to argue?”

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