Q&A: ‘Enough Said’s’ Julia Louis-Dreyfus Mourns her ‘Gentle Giant’ Co-Star James Gandolfini

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has gone from strength to strength – "Seinfeld" regular, “The New Adventures of Old Christine,’ and HBO’s “Veep,” currently shooting its third season. Now the actress, 52, brings that comic timing to Nicole Holofcener’s "Enough Said," which opens this Wednesday.

The tart comedy about midlife love and loss pairs Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini as divorced parents of college-bound daughters. The single parents have driven around the block enough times to be wary of falling in love – or even deep like. The movie's sense of loss is magnified by Gandolfini's sudden death from a heart attack in June at fifty-one.

In an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, Louis-Dreyfus spoke candidly about being torn between joy at the movie's positive reception and grieving over the man who was no longer around to enjoy the party. Death, as it turns out, creates the ultimate empty nest.

Q: You and Jim seem to have such a connection. Did you know him before the movie?

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS: No. I'd seen him. We’d been at a couple of the same parties and things, to say hello, but we became friends on this movie. We really hit it off. I really consider him to be a good buddy.

Q: We were at a New York Film Critics dinner a few years ago when "In the Loop" won best screenplay, and my teenaged son was there, too. He had his hair in a big fluffy Afro and Gandolfini just approached him and said, ‘Wow, I love your hair. Can I buy it?’ It was such a sweet, real thing -- and you could just see how genuine he was.

JLD: The character that he plays in this movie is so close to who he was. I mean a gentle giant, a kind, thoughtful guy. He was so self-effacing.

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Q: His character Albert has such a deadpan sense of humor: he sees everything but lets you think that he doesn’t.

JLD: He’s gentle, gentle, gentle.

Q: How close is your character, Eva, to you?

JLD: Well, you know, the struggle that she’s having, Eva, which is this dread of this impending departure of her only child to go off to college. It has gotten hold of her emotionally in a way that she doesn't even realize. And I think that fuels the very, very, bad thing that she does in this movie, even though she means well.

Q: We won't spoil it.

JLD: She's deceitful and it's terrible. But she doesn't mean to be. And she's really guided by fear and anxiety. And it's set against this landscape of her kid going off to college. Not that I've ever done anything like that, but I understand the anxiety about separation, and what that means for a parent, for a child going off, whether it's college, or just moving out of the house. My oldest son is in college and certainly that move in my life, and our family's life, was very pivotal. It was a really, really, really, big deal.

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Q: While Eva is a single mom with a remarried ex, you’ve been married to Brad Hall since 1987. I would guess that the two of you sort through this together.

JLD: Yeah. But it was still tricky. We're definitely partners but it doesn’t really soften the blow of our boys leaving.

Q: There's that thing that you feel as an individual: you're not the one going to college, you're not at the beginning, you're not the main character in this movie of your life.

JLD: It brings up a lot of issues. It's interesting too, that Eva’s a masseuse. She nurtures. She’s in that business. And she’s been looking after her daughter for eight, ten years. She actually physically massages and nurtures other people but, fundamentally, who’s nurturing her? Nobody.

Watch the trailer for "Enough Said"