Julia Louis-Dreyfus has always been undoubtedly one of the greatest performers in television history. Her performances on Saturday Night Live and sitcoms like Seinfeld quickly earned her a place in the world of comedy. Her talent eventually brought her to the set of Woody Allen’s comedy-drama Hannah and Her Sisters in 1986, which was a film about the complex relationships in a family.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Julia Louis-Dreyfus | Credits: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

Hannah and Her Sisters had a number of well-known actors, including Michael Caine, Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, etc. The film comprised many plots and showed the complexities of love, infidelity, and personal growth. Among many actors that made an appearance, Star Wars fame Carrie Fisher portrayed one of the sisters’ friends, April.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Embarrassing Incident in Hannah and Her Sisters

Carrie Fisher, Sam Waterston, and Dianne Wiest in Hannah and Her Sisters
Carrie Fisher, Sam Waterston, and Dianne Wiest in Hannah and Her Sisters | Credits: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios

Hannah and Her Sisters became a hit with the help of the amazing cast and the engaging storytelling of Woody Allen. It has boosted the careers of many performers involved, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus. However, she had a hard time securing her role in the film.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Julia Louis-Dreyfus talked about her embarrassment on the set of Hannah and Her Sisters, which was only a small part of the screenplay. She described how nervous and excited she was to work with Allen. In one particular scene, Allen’s character is supposed to have this feeling that he has a tumor in his head, and he feels that his ears are ringing. She said,

He’s (Allen’s character) supposed to say: ‘Wait, stop. Do you hear that ringing?’ I’m his assistant. And so we start to shoot. He says, ‘Wait, stop …’ and I say, ‘What?’ He goes, ‘No, no, that’s the line.’ So we go back to the line, start to roll camera. He says, ‘Wait, stop …’ and I say, ‘What?’ again.

This mistake was repeated again and again, and later, Allen made a funny comment about her in front of the crew, which made her more ashamed. Although she felt embarrassed, she managed to perform her part, but that experience had a lasting impact on her.

In a recent interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Louis-Dreyfus elaborated on the incident. She revealed that she almost lost her role because of her nervousness. She said,

I was overcome to be in it and really excited and I kind of screwed up. So that was kind of a little bit of a heartbreaker too and but I survived that somehow. I mean it’s nothing if you watch it and you blink you’ll miss me but I did a little bit screwed up on set.

I misunderstood Woody when he was giving a direction and I kept doing it over and over again because I was so nervous so it was embarrassing.

Despite her embarrassing experience and short role in the movie, it was an important project for Dreyfus as it proved that she could perform both comedic and dramatic roles that later helped in her career trajectory. Also, performers like Carrie Fisher, who was a household name due to Star Wars, brought extra star power to the project, and working with them was also an experience for Dreyfus.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Hits Back at Political Correctness in Comedy

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jerry Seinfeld in Seinfeld
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jerry Seinfeld in Seinfeld | Credits: NBC/NBCUniversal 

In an interview with The New York Times, Louis-Dreyfus responded to Jerry Seinfeld‘s comments about political correctness in comedy, where he claimed while speaking at New Yorker’s Radio Hour that TV comedy had been “wrecked” by “the extreme left and PC crap“. Dreyfus said,

I think to have an antenna about sensitivities is not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that all comedy goes out the window as a result. When I hear people starting to complain about political correctness — and I understand why people might push back on it — but to me, that’s a red flag, because it sometimes means something else. I believe being aware of certain sensitivities is not a bad thing.

Louis-Dreyfus also clarified that, although tolerance and political correctness are her primary stances, she also acknowledges the right to free speech and the freedom to protest. She also pointed out the issue of money and power as a potential threat to artistic expression.

In an interview on the On With Kara Swisher podcast, Dreyfus mentioned that comedy has not suffered in any way due to political correctness. She also believes that there are many more opportunities at present in the field of comedy, and it is not an impossible time to be funny.

Hannah and Her Sisters and Seinfeld are available on Prime Video and Netflix respectively.

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