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Why HBO is making a Julia Louis-Dreyfus pilot here

In January, we reported that a pilot would be filming in Baltimore for a potential HBO political satire starring "Seinfeld" alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Read it here.

The pilot is for a projected series tentatively titled "VEEP" about a former senator (Louis-Dreyfus) "who finds being vice president of the United States is nothing like she expected and everything everyone ever warned her about," according to a release from Maryland's Department of Business & Economic Development, which helped secure the project through use of incentives for the filmmakers.

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Baltimore is standing in for Washington in the production.

Louis-Dreyfus, whose credits include Seinfeld and New Adventures of Old Christine, is also producing. The pilot will be directed by Armando Iannucci. He and Simon Blackwell wrote the script, and he, Chris Godsick and Frank Rich are executive producers. Iannucci previously wrote and directed In the Loop, a 2009 political satire, and The Thick of It, a British TV series.

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While I wrote several other posts and stories on the project in January (here and here) what we weren't able to get at the time was a clear explanation as to why Baltimore was chosen.

Since then, Quentin Schaffer, executive vice president at HBO, has provided us with one.

"Baltimore was selected for VEEP for a number of reasons," Shaffer said in an email to the Sun.  "Baltimore as a whole, has less restrictions on shooting than Washington, DC, and it has a number of interiors and exteriors that can double for DC. At the same time, it gives us proximity to DC should we need to shoot there."

Schaffer also praised the the local production talent here that worked on other HBO series like The Corner and The Wire.

"There is also a good production base there (i.e. crew, service companies) from past TV shows, including The Wire," he wrote. "And, as is the case in many states today, the film commission has wisely made it financially beneficial offering a generous rebate on spending there."

The Maryland Film Office estimates that production of the pilot could have an economic impact in excess of $6 million and could create more than 700 jobs for Maryland crew and actors while "prepping and filming" in the state.

“Maryland has had a long and successful relationship with HBO,” Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement making the announcement. “We are pleased to welcome HBO back to our state for another first-class filming experience.”

Production starts Saturday, so expect to see some of the folks connected with "VEEP" around town the next couple of weeks.

 

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