If you’re a woman casually breaking a glass ceiling in a movie or television show, there’s a good chance that Reid Scott is nearby, spewing vitriol as the voice of the old guard. “I’m making a career out of playing the privileged white prick,” he jokes. In this summer’s upcoming Late Night, written by The Mindy Project’s Mindy Kaling, he appears as the smug head writer for a late night show anchored by Emma Thompson. Meanwhile, on Veep, he stars as, in his words, a “backstabbing womanizer bastard” opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus as America’s once (and future?) commander-in-chief.
For Scott, playing the bad guy in a fresh story is still a net positive experience. “I have the most incredible luck to work with strong women over and over, and I love changing the narrative,” he says. “Even if you didn’t want to do the right and important thing and treat human beings like human beings — even if you are the most sexist or racist person in the world — aren’t you just bored of seeing the same old shit?”
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In conversation, Scott swears only about half as often as Dan Egan, his character on Veep. “I come from a family very steeped in that tradition, so I definitely appreciate the poetry of his profanity. But it’s a double-edged sword,” he says. “It is so fun to spit all of that stuff, and you have to get into it to do the guy justice. But then we wrap, and I realize all over again that he’s such a shit.”
Turtleneck (Reid’s own).
Nevertheless, Dan’s a fan favourite — even among the crowd that he satirizes. At a political event a few years ago, Scott was approached by none other than Joe Biden. “He walks over, arms outstretched, slams his hands down on my shoulders and says, ‘I want you to talk to me like you talk to that boss of yours on TV.’ I was already a fan of his, but that brought it all the way home for me.”
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Biden aside, the current state of politics gave Scott some reason to pause when he returned to film the seventh and final season of Veep, the first written during the Trump administration. “The news is eclipsing the absurdity of the show,” he says. “So many people in government now feel like monsters and robots — and I usually love monsters and robots, but this is scarier somehow. Julia even apologized for it in her last Emmy speech.” He credits Veep’s writers for finding a way of addressing “the elephant in the room” without turning the show into a Saturday Night Live clone.
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So how, exactly, will Selina Meyer’s wild ride through Washington conclude? Scott says to look out for an upcoming crossover episode planned with another hit HBO show preparing for its swan song, Game of Thrones. “It ends right where everyone expects it to go,” he says. “Khaleesi wins the presidency and Dan fucks a dragon.” Monsters indeed.