Speaking to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week Sunday morning, actor Kevin Spacey said that President Obama “must wish” that his administration could work as quickly and effectively as that of the fictional “Frank Underwood” on the Netflix drama House of Cards.
“It does seem,” Stephanopoulos said, “like even President Obama has a little bit of Frank Underwood envy, the ruthlessly efficient Frank Underwood.”
“I can imagine why he would,” Spacey replied. “I’ve thought actually over the last year it must be really interesting for not just an American public, but people around the world to view a very effective Congress that gets things done. And so I can imagine he must feel, ‘Gosh, I wish we could move that quickly.'”
“Is Washington more exciting than Hollywood?” Stephanopouls asked.
“For me it’s like performance art,” Spacey replied. “I sometimes watch it actually we can get done shooting on a day and I’ll come home and turn on the news and I’ll think, you know, our storylines are not that crazy. They’re really not.”
The pair then discussed how Spacey prepared for the role of a Washington insider by shadowing House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). “What did you pick up following him around,” Stephanopoulos asked.
“It’s particularly interesting for him,” Spacey replied, “because there are so many new members of Congress who were sort of brought in, in the Tea Party and we’re going to fight against Washington and we’re not going to do it the usual way, that it’s very difficult to harangue 218 congressman to vote a particular way you want them to vote. So I don’t envy him the position. It’s not easy.”
Spacey also addressed the subject of whether House of Cards creates a “blanket cynicism” about the American political system, as opposed to the West Wing, which was, according to Spacey, “a different sort of fantasy.”
“Lyndon Johnson is a character that my character in House of Cards admires,” he continued. “You know, during his lifetime, and certainly during his presidency he took an enormous amount of criticism, certainly for his policies in Vietnam. But we also have to look at the fact that he passed three civil rights bills in a very short presidency. And, yes, he was called ruthless and Machiavellian, an SOB and a lot of things during the course of his life.”
Watch Stephanopoulos’s entire interview with Spacey below.
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