I'm an actor who lives in New York. I play Amy Brookheimer on VEEP, the campaign manager for Selina Meyer. I'm also onstage right now in "Living on Love" (http://www.livingonlovebroadway.com).

And I'm here at reddit NYC to answer some of your questions. So AMA.

Proof: http://imgur.com/hBJMqtI

Okie Doke, folks. That was really fun! Thanks for tolerating any goofy emoticon usage. If you're in NY, come see us at the Longacre. If you're not, wish you were! Enjoy "Veep in overdrive" on Sundays!

Comments: 118 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

ImRichieDagger19 karma

Hi Anna! Years ago I went into a video store on their last day before closing down for good. All movies were a dollar, so I grabbed anything that looked interesting. One of those being Blood Car. I still to this day bring that movie up to friends as one of the craziest movies I've ever seen. What was your experience like working on that? Also, I love you on Veep.

Anna_Chlumsky22 karma

Ha! "Blood Car" was a cuckoo fun movie I filmed with friends I met on another indie film, more than a decade ago. Alex Orr directed and cowrote it, and Hugh Brazelton was camera op. They were my buddies, and asked if I wanted to come to Atlanta to film this satirical horror. The script made me die laughing, so I did it, and we had a blast. I also discovered a weakness for Chick-Fil-A nuggets on that shoot.

wangdingus8 karma

The meat sells itself, Lorraine!

Anna_Chlumsky15 karma


loatherofstrudel13 karma

I once walked past you on the U Chicago campus. Would've been 97 or 98. Do you remember me?

Anna_Chlumsky19 karma

No. But it would have been '98.

kick_the_chort11 karma

Hey Anna! LOVE you in Veep -- your brow-knitting is second to none. I wondered if you'd drawn on any real-life DC personalities, and what (if anything) you'd then incorporated into the role?

Anna_Chlumsky22 karma


Laura Schiller was indispensable to us in preparing for the first season. She's Barbara Boxer's Chief of Staff, and she lent me her time and energy to help me understand the job. I got the "blackberry-arm-attachment" thing from her. Her phone was like an extension of her arm, and I noticed she never put it away. She explained it's both a handcuff to the job and a ticket to be away from the job as well. Double-edged smartphone. So, I decided, Amy would never be without her phone as long as she was Chief of Staff.

SmashingTeaCups11 karma

Hello Anna..

What was it like working on Hannibal? The gag reels make it look really fun, and who breaks character the most on set?


Anna_Chlumsky13 karma

Hannibal was fast and furious for me, because I worked during rare days off of "Veep". So we squeezed a lot of my stuff into a seemingly impossible schedule. I love filming with Lawrence. He is a blast and knows how to keep his humor among all that darkness that is "Hannibal". Also, as far as breaking? I don't know that I witnessed any, but Raul, (a dear friend), and I certainly clowned around plenty right before I shot him in the face. ;)

themandotcom10 karma

Did you have to work on your bitch face for the role of Amy Brookheimer or does it come naturally?

What's your favorite moment of Veep so far? Mine's when the news producer yelled at you to let someone fuck some sunshine into you!

Anna_Chlumsky25 karma

I almost spit-took at that question. You'll have to ask my husband...HA!

Favorite Veep moment? I love "croissant for a dildo", I love when Selina leaves in the middle of Mike's pitching jokes, I love the nickname-athon from season 1, I love when Mike and Amy can't figure out who's on the phone during the abortion episode, I love Jonah" "fk load of bread" moment, his "this band's not for sale, I need some nuts" moment, his, "joke's on you coz I love fkin' burritos" moment. The debate. And, lastly, I truly believe Julia and Gary's scene when she tells him she's president is one of the most perfectly executed, honestly portrayed, and dramaturgically sound pieces of television to date.

pandapoderoso10 karma

Hi Anna!

How is your chemistry with Julia Louis-Dreyfus on set?

Anna_Chlumsky28 karma

I love her, and I think she likes me okay?

beernerd7 karma

What is your favorite thing about Tim Simons? Fair warning, he might pop in at some point as /u/TimSimons.

Anna_Chlumsky11 karma

My favorite thing about Tim Simons is that he gave me lots of free s**t for my baby when she was born. :)

Anna_Chlumsky10 karma

Also, he's a fantastic, F'ing actor.

BartuHTC6 karma

Wow. I have been going crazy for this AMA and had a hard time finding it. Time zones are complicated. I just wanna say I love you on Veep and couldn't recognise you at first but you basically killed it at Hannibal. I wonder, are you on season 3 of Hannibal? I would love Miriam's story unfold and would certainly love to see you on the show.

I've been recently binge watching Veep (for the third time) and love the love-hate relationship between you and Dan. Emphasis on hate. I hope things work out for Amy. I also wonder, what was your favourite episode and/or scene from Veep? And are you looking for any future projects?

Thank you soooo much for doing this. You are one of my favourite actresses and currently I am super obsessed with Veep. That's a good thing, right?

Anna_Chlumsky5 karma

Totally a good thing. Thank you. I'm glad you're enjoying. :)

lurk_in_progress5 karma

Love Veep and 'In The Loop'. Were you familiar with Armando Ianucci's work before you got the part in In The Loop, particularly 'The Thick Of It', on which both were based?

Anna_Chlumsky13 karma

I was not familiar, but quickly became a fan of "The Thick of It", upon which "In the Loop" was based. Please note: "Veep" is not based on "The Thick of It", (contrary to what many a media-outlet has claimed). Separate show, similar themes.

VeggieLomein5 karma

Hi Anna! We were actually at the Sake Bar Hagi at the same time a few months ago after a Broadway show!

What did you order?

Anna_Chlumsky8 karma

Ha! We ended up leaving and going to Yakitori Totto, because it was after a performance of "You Can't Take it With You", and I just didn't feel like needing to talk loudly.

BrushGoodDar5 karma

Who is most like their character on VEEP?

Anna_Chlumsky6 karma

I'd say Kevin, who plays 'Ben'. I think he'll know that's a compliment.

GaryV834 karma

Thanks for doing this, Anna. It's really cool to have this opportunity, especially considering I've grown up watching you also grow up on the big screen, completely in awe of what someone our age could accomplish.

My wife and I got to see that episode of Law & Order: SVU you did and it was, to put it mildly, harrowing. What inspiration did you draw upon to give such a convincingly emotional performance?

I read about your work on Broadway, how do you like being on stage compared to working in front of the camera? Any other plans we should be on the look out for?

And, finally, what'd you have for lunch? Haven't had mine yet and need some ideas. Again, thanks for being here and hope you enjoy your time with reddit.

Anna_Chlumsky7 karma

Your words are very kind. Thanks so much for enjoying my work. With SVU it was important to me that she was a self-possessed young woman who actually had some ownership of the media-hyped life she was leading. They worked in that twist where she actually didn't write the book, so I needed to really push her intelligence and wherewithal - otherwise we were in danger of flattening her out.

Re: Broadway. I love working on stage, and I'm really proud of the plays I've done this season and in the past. It's a different animal, of course, than tv because you do one store 8 times a week. So, it's more of a marathon than a sprint. Something to keep my skills nice and honed.

re: lunch. Hale and Hearty Yucatan Chx Soup. Dee-lish.

nepO-iB3 karma

Hi Anna, thank you so much for doing this.

I am a huge fan of Veep, which I think is currently the best comedy on TV, and you are doing a fantastic job portraying Amy. I have a few questions to ask you:

  • You have worked with Armando Iannucci on In the Loop a few years ago. How did you get cast in Veep? Did Armando have you in mind when he wrote Amy's character, or did you have to audition first? If so, how was the audition process like?
  • How does it feel to be working with such an incredible cast, including comedy legend Julia Louis-Dreyfus? She somehow managed to surpass herself on Veep, which I didn't think was possible at this point.
  • You have worked on network shows before—you were great in Hannibal, by the way. How does it feel to be working for HBO? Were you surprised by how different it was when you first started working on Veep?
  • How do you feel about Armando Iannucci leaving the show at the end of the fourth season?

You don't have to answer all of these.

Thanks again for doing this.

— A French fan.

Anna_Chlumsky9 karma

Merci, de rien, and you betcha!

Armando Iannucci is a treasure. I am so grateful to be a member of his merry band of troubadours. He and I met at the audition for "In the Loop" - a film which was one of the greatest joys to work on. Then, blessedly, he kept me in mind for future projects, so when Veep came along, he thought of me for the Amy role. So, as crazy and fantastical as it always is to say, (actor dream), I did not have to audition for "Veep". I'll miss him and our Brits on our show, but I respect his wanting to create more new and awesome things. HBO, (to which you alluded), is a top-notch network to work for, so I have confidence they've chosen a terrific new leader for us who'll bring us great ideas. And I'll continue to adore Armando Ianucci as long as we live and breathe.

Zockman1753 karma

What do you like to do in your free time?

Anna_Chlumsky6 karma

Cross-stitch or needlepoint, practice languages, and hang with my family. (Not in order of importance).

bmkat213 karma

Hi Anna,

Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA. What made you decide to go back to acting after finishing college? And, how did you end up working in Zagat?

Anna_Chlumsky6 karma

Back to acting: Mercedes Ruehl in "The Goat; or Who Is Sylvia?"

Zagat: I liked to write, I liked to eat, so I thought, what better entry-level position than working at Zagat? Little did I know I would neither write nor eat for that job. Life lessons.

RoyalWithChee3 karma

What's your favorite kind of sandwich? Any advice on how to make it?

Anna_Chlumsky3 karma

Grilled provolone on whole wheat.

ismellliketuna3 karma

What were some of your favorite places to visit and eat at in Chicago ?

Anna_Chlumsky9 karma

Visit: Field Museum, (I interned there and it was HEAVEN); Art Institute; Jackson Park; Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. Eat: Johnny's Italian Beef on North Ave., Café Iberico, Phoenix Restaurant in Chinatown.

Mutt12233 karma

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Anna_Chlumsky16 karma

Mint Chocolate chip from Baskin Robbins (coz they're flakes, not chips. That's important to me).

kalidorisconan3 karma

GoT or Walking Dead?

Anna_Chlumsky15 karma

Game of THRONES!!!

the0ncomingstorm3 karma

Would you do anything in your life differently if you knew then what you know now?

Anna_Chlumsky6 karma

I would've bought a little studio when I first moved to NY, coz I had the savings, but didn't know what a down payment was. Fast forward to Cobble Hill being, well, COBBLE HILL...I could've made a lot of dough.

tmearmy2 karma

How does it feel like working with a comedy legend like Julia Louis-Dreyfus? Did I say it right?

Anna_Chlumsky3 karma

You tell me if you said it right. ;)

She's a master class in precision, thoughtfulness, timing, care, and leadership. I'm so blessed.

menomenaa2 karma

Hi! Veep is my favorite show. Who is the funniest on set? My guess is the guy who plays Jonah. Any good stories about behind the scenes hi-jinks?

(When Frank Rich did his IAmA I was very excited to get a response. I offered to marry his son and he said no. It'd be great TWO Veep-ers to answer my questions!)

Thanks for doing this :)

Anna_Chlumsky6 karma

Sam Richardson is the funniest guy on set. My face hurts around him. p.s. I would have no problem with your marrying either Rich son, were either of them available. Alas, I understand they are spoken for, so you'll have to settle for reading their stuff.

wee_man2 karma

Anna: love the show and love your comedic chops!

Are the smartphones/Blackberry's you all use during filming activated? Do you get to goof around with texts and apps?

Anna_Chlumsky6 karma

They are activated, but they rarely end up working the way we'd need them to in a scene, so we just old-fashioned pantomime. I always joke that I should teach a master class on smartphone acting. :)

PlNKERTON2 karma

Where do you see your career in 10 years?

Anna_Chlumsky5 karma

AMAZING! (Here's hopin!)

poststructure2 karma

Hi, Anna!

Hope you're doing well. My question is about the hiatus you took from acting. What went into the decision to return after your hiatus? Was acting something you knew you wanted to continue with, but just couldn't find the time?

Also, what sorts of acting projects would you like to take on in the future? Any actors you'd love to work with?

Thanks, and have a good rest of your week!

Anna_Chlumsky8 karma

My friend just got coffee so I could respond to this.

Return after hiatus: I was working in a really fun 9-5, and found myself crying on my lunch breaks because I was feeling unfulfilled. Many friends, acquaintances, and even a random psychic suggested I try acting again, but I was terrified. So it wasn't a question of time, it was a question of courage. I didn't think I could handle the rejection again after enduring it throughout adolescence.

Then, I thought, if I want to tell my grandkids one day that they can do anything they want, and that they shouldn't be afraid to pursue their dreams, I'd better back it up with some real-life chops. So, I went for it. And the beauty is, as an adult, I wanted to act for the art of it. The craft of it. So as long as I was acting - be it in a free play, a paid gig, an audition, or just doing a monologue in the shower - there was nothing to be afraid of. (Other than the threat of not making rent nor having insurance for a while - which was SCARY, but that's when your commitment and mettle are tested, nay?) And here I am, loving every second.

I'm gratefully at a point in my career when I can actually be a little pickier with the projects I choose, and therefore I am, (this is, I think, due to a combo of having a daughter I like to hang out with and having people know and trust my work more - Noice!). So, when I look at roles, I want to make sure they are important to the story, and that the story is well told. I am in this job to communicate great text, so it's great text I look for.

You have a good week, too!

Wiseau_serious2 karma

Hi Anna, great to see you here. Hannibal and Veep are two of my favorite shows. Just wondering if you have any juicy stories about your "Living on Love" castmembers, like Jerry O'Connell or Trixie the Pomeranian? She seems like she would have some skeletons in her closet.

Anna_Chlumsky6 karma

Trixie's skeleton is named Rocco. He's her understudy, and boy he likes to bark. But he's so cute. Ha! A story, (dunno if it's juicy, but...) Renée's cell phone went off during rehearsal once, and I was going to turn it off for her, but when I picked up the phone, I froze, because Itzhak Perlman was on the caller id. For a split second, I thought, "I could answer this and speak to Itzhak Perlman!" I didn't, though.

WroeNBoat0 karma

should i wear shorts or pants to the movies tonight?

Anna_Chlumsky12 karma

Check the weather.