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Political satire ‘Veep’ continues to win people over

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JULIA Louis-Dreyfus in HBO’s “Veep”

Fictional American vice president Selina Meyer returns after a well-received initial season of “Veep,” HBO’s hit political comedy series cocreated by writer-producer Armando Iannucci.

The 10-episode Season 2 aims to further develop Selina Meyer and her various relationships, according to Iannucci, who discussed the show with Asian periodicals during a recent teleconference.

“In Season 1 she was just coming to terms with the office—recognizing its limitations, learning how to be a high-profile politician on a national and an international stage,” he said.

In Season 2, the self-monikered “Veep” will have more power and influence. “She gets closer to the president,” Iannucci revealed. “We see inside the West Wing. We meet the president’s staff. Selina acquires foreign policy and national security responsibilities. We will see how she uses them and how they affect her.”

Iannucci recounted choosing Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the role almost immediately, and said he was especially proud that she won the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series. (The show was nominated for outstanding comedy series.)

“[Casting her was] perfectly justified,” the writer-producer enthused. “I can’t imagine anyone else playing that part.”

Dreyfus’ Emmy victory means the “Veep” team has to work harder: “I’m really, really pleased that she got the Emmy, especially in the first [season] which had only eight episodes, up against comedies that produced 22 episodes a year. It kind of reassured the team that we had made a big impact. [But] we have to work harder to push the stories, the performances and the dialogue even harder.”

Iannucci also has praise for former child actress Anna Chlumsky, whom he previously worked with on the political satire “In the Loop.” In “Veep,” Chlumsky plays Selina’s dedicated chief of staff, Amy Brookheimer.

Said Iannucci: “She’s great … she’s very young; she’s not like Amy at all. Amy is very high-strung; Anna is very talkative, laid-back and jolly. I like that Anna gets the sharpness, the patter. There’s a rhythm to the way she speaks. Her lines come out like little bullets and daggers. I love the way she gets Amy.”

(“Veep” Season 2 starts airing Monday, 10 p.m. on HBO and HBO HD)

***

CNN producer on making ‘The Fighters’

CNN’S “The Fighters”

PRODUCER Leif Coorlim recounts shooting CNN’s Freedom Project Documentary “The Fighters” in the Philippines. The docu, about human trafficking for cyber sex, premieres on CNN International tomorrow.

Coorlim says they interviewed three girls “whose story was so profound and distressing, it left me in tears—the only time in my 15-year career that that’s happened.”

The girls seemed like typical 12-year-olds, he says. “But what they would tell us, about what they’d been through, stopped me cold.”

Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, director of the Visayan Forum Foundation, an organization that cares for rescued girls, explains: “The trauma is so deep, they sometimes wake up in the middle of the night screaming and crying. Sometimes one of the kids suddenly gets sick. Our psychologist says that’s because she remembers what guys on the Internet asked her to do.”

One of the girls interviewed for the docu relates: “At the Internet café they tell me to take my clothes off and dance [in front of the camera].” Often that wasn’t enough for paying customers on the other side of the sex chat room. For $27 an hour, anyone could tell the girls what to do, and a man behind the camera would make sure they did it.

The girls speak of American men among the clients. Coorlim asked what the children thought of Americans. “You’re maniacs,” one of them told him. “You should stop victimizing girls like us.”

The Visayan Forum Foundation has operated since 1991. Oebanda says it has reached out to more than 70,000 victims or potential victims and provided services to, or helped rescue, more than 15,000 victims. Among the foundation’s supporters is boxing champ Manny Pacquiao.

“The cases we handle are always of trafficking for prostitution and domestic servitude,” says Oebanda. “This (trafficking for cybersex) is a new phenomenon. The victims are getting younger and younger.”

‘24’ to return

BARBARA Walters announcing her retirement on her show “The View” on May 13. AFP

NEW YORK—Fox, facing the ebbing ratings power of “American Idol,” is betting big on its first miniseries showcase starting with a limited-edition “24,” and shows from heavyweight producers Seth MacFarlane and J.J. Abrams to invigorate its schedule.

The network is making its largest original-programming investment yet with a crop of 11 new series along with a miniseries from filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan for the 2013-14 season, Kevin Reilly, Fox Entertainment chair, said Monday.

Although producers of “24” had contemplated bringing the canceled show back with a big-screen movie, they decided that Fox’s planned “event series” would be the right place for it, Reilly said. “I couldn’t be more excited … Jack is back!” he said.

The miniseries, “24: Live Another Day,” will clock in at half the original series’ running length and the 12 episodes will be chronological but will skip some hours, said Reilly. It likely will kick off the event franchise in summer. AP

 

Not so fast

NEW YORK—TV news pioneer Barbara Walters said on Monday that retirement from her epochal television career is near, but it’s not happening right away.

Walters, 83, said on “The View” that she will step away from the camera next summer.  Before that, her retirement tour will include TV specials looking back on her work.

The announcement brought Walters to tears. While not really a surprise—reports leaked out about a month ago—the discussion was alternately saucy and emotional.

“In the summer of 2014 I plan to retire from appearing on television at all,” Walters said.

She preceded her announcement with a taped piece outlining career highlights, from her appearance in a Playboy bunny outfit on “Today” to her interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad last year. Her interviews became her calling card, sitting across actors and presidents. Her prime-time talk with Monica Lewinsky set a ratings standard.

She’s been through some health problems this year, but she didn’t cite that as a reason for leaving. “I want to leave while people are still saying, ‘Why is she leaving?’ instead of ‘Why doesn’t she leave?” Walters said. AP


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