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'Cancer does a number on your mental health'

Life can be a slippery slope, Julia Louis-Dreyfus tells Donal Lynch as her new film 'Downhill' hits cinemas. The Emmy-winning star has had to deal with more than her fair share

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US actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives for the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on September 22, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)

US actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives for the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on September 22, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)

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Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus

FilmMagic

Julia Louis Dreyfus with husband Brad Hall in Ireland. Picture: Instagram

Julia Louis Dreyfus with husband Brad Hall in Ireland. Picture: Instagram

Julia as Elaine in Seinfeld

Julia as Elaine in Seinfeld

Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

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US actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives for the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on September 22, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)

It feels perfectly, improbably f itting to be taking a phone call from Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the middle of a skiing holiday in Austria. Her new film - Downhill - is set in the snowy mountains near Ischgl - and it perfectly captures the feeling that the dangers of winter sports are a stress test like no other for a relationship.

In my case it's my boyfriend teaching me how to ski - while he displays superhuman patience, I drag him backwards down an alp with me, cursing all the way. In Julia's case it was Will Ferrell, who, as her on-screen husband, temporarily abandons her character as an avalanche threatens to engulf the balcony where they sit with their children.

"(A winter holiday) looks so relaxing but the danger, the snow, it all adds to the stress," she says. "The crisis is so disturbing to her in and of itself but much worse is that he gaslights her after the fact," she explains.