Julia Louis-Dreyfus explains why she took a ‘leap of faith’ to star in tear-jerking new movie ‘Tuesday’

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, one of the most celebrated comedic actresses of recent times, took a “leap of faith” to work with a first-time director on a sentimental new movie Tuesday.

The film follows Zora (Louis-Dreyfus) and her 15-year-old daughter, Tuesday (Lola Petticrew), as they confront Death, who arrives at their home in the form of a talking bird. It’s a twisted modern fairy tale about grief and mortality.

Louis-Dreyfus told Yahoo Entertainment that there were a number of scenes that, because of their intensity — her character confronting the reality that her daughter was going to die of cancer — stuck with her long after she filmed them.

“Those scenes were very emotional, and they were a challenge,” Louis-Dreyfus said.

The actress, best known for her Emmy-winning roles in Seinfeld, Veep and The New Adventures of Old Christine, cracks jokes in Tuesday — but sadness is the pervading emotion. There’s a giant talking parrot (voiced by Arinzé Kene) in many scenes, which might sound humorous, but he represents the ever-looming reality of death.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus with a parrot created with visual effects. (© A24/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus with a parrot created with visual effects. (© A24/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus with a parrot created with visual effects. (© A24/Courtesy Everett Collection)

A conversation with the film’s writer-director, Daina O. Pusić, convinced Louis-Dreyfus to sign on to a project that was so different in tone from her usual comedy.

The film’s exploration of depression was another reason she wanted to be a part of it.

“Pain can be isolating. You’re not alone,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “It’s important to recognize that there’s not just one way to be.”

In the movie, Zora makes what Louis-Dreyfus called “heinous” and “not-so-admirable” choices while dealing with grief.

“[Zora] is not a bad person. … She’s struggling, but inside she is a ferocious person,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “I think most people are struggling, and those struggles can feel isolating. I hope this film can make people feel less alone and open up channels of communication.”

Petticrew, who uses they/them pronouns, told Yahoo Entertainment that they hope people will see the movie in theaters to have the most “communal” experience possible.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Lola Petticrew Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Lola Petticrew

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Lola Petticrew in Tuesday. (A24/Courtesy Everett Collection)

“[The film shows] everybody is experiencing something universal, but at the same time totally unique to them,” they said.

There’s a popular trope in movies involving sick children that portrays them as wise beyond their years as if their struggles aged them up. Tuesday is certainly mature, often encouraging her mother to make more grown-up decisions, but Petticrew said they worked hard to ensure that the character’s wisecracking spirit shone through.

“Such a massive part of Tuesday’s personality is her sense of humor,” they said. “That’s her way of trying to make sure … everyone’s having a good time.”

Louis-Dreyfus said the secret making her mother-daughter relationship with Petticrew authentic was the fact that she was genuinely comfortable with them.

“We hit the ground running and got a sense of each other well enough to know we could trust each other quickly,” she said. “There’s a physical intimacy between these two characters that helped engender more trust and tenderness between us as actors.”

Tuesday premieres in theaters June 7.

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