Matt Walsh is used to playing the pathetic, sad-sack character Mike McLintock on the HBO show “Veep,” and he starts off just as miserable in his new film, a romantic comedy called “Under the Eiffel Tower.”
But while vacationing in France and falling in love, he shows he has a few hidden talents, among them being a great cook, a painter and an expert on bourbon. And he even has a neat trick for opening a wine bottle without the aid of a corkscrew.
“I remember reading that [in the script] and I was like, ‘What are you talking about?'” Walsh said in an interview with TheWrap about his new film. “[B]ut I started YouTubing it, and lo and behold, you can.”
In “Under the Eiffel Tower,” Walsh plays a man recently fired from his job who goes on a vacation to Paris with his close friends to celebrate their daughter graduating from college. When she makes an offhand remark that the two of them should run off together, he impulsively asks her to marry him. And when that inevitably does not go well, he finds himself wandering France looking for companionship until he meets an attractive woman (Judith Godrèche) who runs a local vineyard.
“The simple version of what this movie is, I like to say, it’s the reverse ‘Beauty and the Beast,'” Walsh said. “She’s the beast in a lonely little town in France, windows drawn, not happy. I’m the Beauty, I stumble in, bring lightness and air to that stodgy little castle and give her something to live for.”
Walsh, who in addition to his talents on “Veep” is a co-founder of the improv comedy troupe the Upright Citizens Brigade, has some hidden talents not unlike that of his character.
“I make a mean Irish soda bread every Christmas and give it out to friends and family,” Walsh said. “I can speak a little German, a little Spanish, and I was a psych major, so I’m good at listening to people’s problems. I can’t get you on the road to recovery like a real doctor, but I can listen.”
And his co-star on “Veep” Reid Scott also displays a surprise gift in “Under the Eiffel Tower,” donning a Scottish accent as an ex-footballer who gets caught in a love triangle between Walsh and Godrèche. He never really gets to show it on “Veep,” but Walsh says he knew Scott had it in him to pull off the role.
“Reid is one of those people on ‘Veep,’ at the table read, if they need someone to play an actor that isn’t there, they’ll just plug Reid in there,” Walsh said. “He can do an impression of Gary Cole, he can do an impression of whoever. He’s a really good mimic. He’s really good with dialect, so I knew he would be great in it.”
Walsh also talked about the upcoming season of “Veep,” which returns on Mar. 31 on HBO for its final season. While he couldn’t reveal whether Mike McLintock is in for a happy or more typically miserable ending, he said that Mike is now trying to support his three adopted children by cutting it as a journalist, which early on in the season puts him at odds with Selina Meyer and the rest of the characters.
TheWrap asked Walsh about how the show, approaching its seventh season, manages to predict the future, like when showrunner David Mandel shared a clip during the latest government shutdown about Jonah Ryan boasting that he shut down the government.
“Seemingly, there’s always something we create as a joke or as a fiction, and then lo and behold, it comes true in the real world. There was a slogan that we had for one of her new campaigns, and an Australian congressman was using it as his slogan,” Walsh said. “It’s unfortunate that our politics are so terrible sometimes, because everyone on the show is so terrible.”
“Under the Eiffel Tower” is out in theaters Feb. 8, and it will be available on digital and on demand on Feb. 12. Watch the video with Matt Walsh above: