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Clifton Park native Reid has key role in HBO series 'Veep'

Saturday, May 10, 2014
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Reid Scott and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a scene from HBO's "Veep." (HBO)
Reid Scott and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a scene from HBO's "Veep." (HBO)

Dan Egan caught a big break on last Sunday’s episode of “Veep,” learning that he was Vice President Selina Meyer’s choice to run her presidential campaign.

The news was also well received by Clifton Park native Reid Scott, who plays Egan on the popular Sunday night HBO series that stars four-time Emmy Award winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the vice president.

“That was huge for Dan,” said Scott Wednesday afternoon from his home in Los Angeles. “He’s such a Machiavellian climber, for him to get closer to the VP than anyone else is big. It’s a huge stepping stone for him. He’s a big believer in Selina, but an even bigger believer in himself.”

Scott’s character can be somewhat caustic and self-serving, but he’s also quite likable. The 1996 Shenendehowa graduate and Syracuse University alum, Scott is already looking forward to filming season four in September. This Sunday’s show will be the sixth of 10 half-hour episodes in season three, which concludes in June on the eve of the presidential election.

“Politics is the zeitgeist in our culture today, but I think it’s high time people stop taking things so seriously,” said Scott, whose character had been the VP’s deputy director of communications. “We kind of let the air out of politics and politicians. We try to stick it to them a bit, but they love it. We were just in Washington and the response there for the show is overwhelming. They love it.”

Included in the acting ensemble with Scott is Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer, the chief of staff and the No. 1 rival in the battle to become campaign manager. Also in the show and part of the VP’s inner circle are Tony Hale as Gary Walsh, her personal assistant, and Matt Walsh as Mike McLintock, the VP’s director of communications. It’s a cast of characters that are devoted to the VP, almost as much as their own political careers. Louis-Dreyfus, a 16-time Emmy nominee who also won the award for playing Elaine in “Seinfield” (1996) and the title character in “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (2006), is the self-absorbed leader of the group and the country’s first female vice president.

“Julia is fantastic, she’s the funniest woman on television,” said Scott. “Along with all that, she really is a delight to work with. A very cool lady.”

Shenendehowa grad

Scott was born Reid Scott Weiner on Nov. 19, 1977, the first of two children for Neil and Kathleen Weiner of Clifton Park. He went to elementary school in the Shenendehowa district, transferred to LaSalle Institute in Troy for grades 7-11, and then came back to Shenendehowa for his senior year.

“Girls, no dress code, you could wear your hair a little longer; yeah I had a blast at Shenendehowa,” said Scott, who has a younger sister named Katianna. “I was a pretty good student, so I guess my parents took it easy on me when I was a senior. LaSalle was great, they had some wonderful teachers, and Shenendehowa had a great arts facility.”

Following his senior year, Scott went on to Syracuse and graduated in 2000 with a degree in film and theater.

“My mom was a teacher at Shenendehowa, and she really inspired me and kept me on an artistic path,” said Scott. “I think I started performing way back in the fifth grade, but I really didn’t start thinking about pursuing something like this in college seriously until I was a junior in high school.”

Scott’s grandmother taught at Syracuse and his grandfather was a student there, so his college choice was a fairly easy one. When he was done he headed right to New York and immediately found work.

“Like a lot of students in the arts, I went to New York and got a job bartending,” said Scott, laughing. “But I went on auditions, did some writing and directing, and tried to mount a few plays and found out how hard that is. But I did stay pretty busy.”

TV break

He also went to Los Angeles and found plenty of television work, landing a role on the TBS series, “My Boys,” from 2006-2010. Then, in 2010, he got a big break when he played Dr. Ted Mauer for two seasons (2010-2011) on Showtime’s “The Big C” with Laura Linney. While he was working there, he was noticed by “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci.

“I had a meeting with him and it went really well,” said Scott. “He told me to improvise as Dan, so the two of us just sat there and riffed for 10 to 15 minutes. When we were done, in that moment, he looked at me and smiled. I was in.”

Scott has also had the time to work on a few movie projects and remain involved as a director and a playwright, which is how he saw his career unfolding when he was younger.

“I directed ‘Elephant Man’ in Los Angeles two years ago and that was a wonderful experience,” he said. “That was always what I intended to do. I saw myself as a director — in film and the stage — who generated his own material. That is still on my horizon, and it’s probably my most favorite thing because you’re in control. But I understand you have to ride the wave you’re on, and this is great fun.”

Scott, who played lacrosse, was on the swim team and “dabbled” in football at LaSalle and Shenendehowa, couldn’t say what’s ahead for his character in season four, let alone the last half of season three.

“I remember a friend, a casting director, told me, ‘hey look, this is a tricky one because this guy’s a total ass,’ ” said Scott. “But he was mostly a likable ass. There’s probably a little bit of me in him, but I don’t think Dan and Reid would hang out together.”

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or bbuell@dailygazette.com.

 
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