Staff in the Executive Office Building scramble over yet another incident involving the Vice President. This time, while the President and his advisors are photographed tensely following the release of hostages, the VP seems more interested in a cell phone. The embarrassing photo has gone viral. Later, the White House’s Dream Metric Team analyzes the latest demographics.
If this plot sounds familiar, then you are a fan of the HBO series Veep starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer, and probably watched last week’s segment “The Vic Allen Dinner.”
It’s not unusual to see local actors on Veep, either with speaking roles or as extras. Adi Stein, local actor, director and playwright, got one of those extras roles as part of the White House Dream Metrics Team, and told us about his day on the set.
DCTS: How did you get the role on Veep?
Adi Stein: I actually got on the show because a friend of mine, Ken Arnold, had posted on Facebook about being on the show. I have always been a huge fan of Veep and so I immediately wrote to him and he set me up with the right people. The next thing I knew I was driving out to Baltimore to shoot!
Tell us about being on the set.
We shot my section on January 26th. The studio was a giant lot in Columbia, Maryland. I am sure that it has a name, though I did not know it. All of the major sets for the show were in this one huge warehouse/studio, so when I wasn’t shooting I was able to walk through the VP’s office and certain sections of Congress. It’s actually a really cool thing because every component of the set looks like they film in DC, but it is recreated with such awesome detail that you’d never know it was filmed hours away.
My call time was 2pm so I arrive around then with two different wardrobe options. The costumer decided what I was going to wear and after that the hair and make-up artist went to work. I then proceeded to sit around for a few hours until they called me in for my sections.
What is the Dream Metrics Team?
They are analysts who scour the internet to determine a political figure’s clout in social media. Basically, I was just a political nerd who knows how to use Twitter.
In my scene, we were being introduced to Matt Walsh’s character, Mike, by Gary Cole’s character, Kent. Kent was the mastermind behind the Dream Metric team and was getting everyone excited about launching this new campaign.
I got to meet and work with one of the show’s creators, Chris Addison, along with Matt and Garry, two hysterical and incredibly talented people.
Unfortunately, because I was only an extra, my experience with them was very limited. That being said, it was really cool seeing how Chris [Morris], the director, worked with Matt and Garry. He would let them just improvise and make things up, which made it very difficult to keep a straight face. You simply never knew what they were actually going to say.
The energy of that set can best described as frantic. People are running all over grabbing this prop of that person. Everyone is moving at a break-neck pace to make sure they stay on schedule and film what they need to film on that day. It was a lot of fun.
We filmed for about an hour and then went on dinner break. Everyone, cast and crew, ate together for dinner which was really cool and exciting.
Did you see any other local actors?
It’s interesting because, for the most part, shows like Veep and House of Cards use a lot of actors from the DC/Baltimore area. For example, in the first season of Veep you can find Mary-Beth Wise. Just a few weeks ago Brandon McCoy was featured. We’re everywhere!
Any chance you and the Dream Metrics team might be back?
It was unclear, though the season finished filming a long time ago. Maybe next season though?
Will this get you your SAG card?
I’ve actually had my SAG card for about 10 years now, which is part of how I got this part. I’ve been acting in film and television since I was 10 years old and joined SAG after my work on the film Stolen Summer when I was 12.
Have you done other television work?
I have! In fact, just last week I filmed a few scenes for House of Cards which you will be able to see next season.
One last question: what did you learn?
I learned that when you have an opportunity to do what you really want in life, you need to find a way to seize that opportunity.
Season 2 of Veep airs Sunday nights at 10pm on HBO.
Adi Stein’s latest play is The Will. Description: “The Whitmans are a conniving bunch, so it?s no surprise that the patriarch?s funeral has nothing to do with the deceased himself. What starts as a memoriam quickly turns for the worse. This comedy explores what it means to be a family — one that has to deceive, cheat, and steal to get just what they want. And you thought your family was rough.” A free staged reading is being held Sunday, May 12 at 7PM at The Wonderland Ballroom, 1101 Kenyon St NW (Columbia Heights), Washington, DC 20009.