Kevin Spacey: Election coverage makes me think 'House of Cards' doesn't go far enough
Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood (Screen shot)

Star, who plays Frank Underwood in the Netflix series, says some real-life presidential candidates ‘appear to be fictional’

By Tara Conlan, The Guardian

House of Cards star Kevin Spacey has said turning on the news makes him think the political thriller “doesn’t go far enough” in reflecting the real-life race for the White House.

Spacey, who plays devious politician Frank Underwood in the Netflix series, said that sometimes after a day’s filming he “will go to my hotel room and wonder ‘have we gone too far ... have we crossed the Rubicon” by creating “something unbelievable ... then I turn on the TV and watch the news ... then I think we haven’t gone far enough.”

When asked what he thought of the candidates for the forthcoming US presidential elections, compared with Underwood, Spacey quipped: “We just need to remember he’s fictional character and that some of the candidates running appear to be fictional too.”

Spacey said “the parallel universe”, whereby an election is taking place in House of Cards at the same time as the one in real life, was “always intended” and has “been very interesting for audiences everywhere but US audiences in particular”.

He also said some politicians tell him House of Cards is very cynical, but others say it is “closer to the truth” than many would like to admit.

Speaking at a presentation of Netflix’s forthcoming shows in Paris, Spacey said the departure of the US show’s creator and showrunner, Beau Willimon, was sad, but the screenwriter was “very tired”.

“He’s been working non-stop since it began,” added the actor. “I’ll miss him [Beau] being there every day, but the writers’ room is the same writers as in season four – nothing’s changed in terms of the quality of work we’re doing.”

Spacey said when Netflix first commissioned House of Cards, he was impressed by its commitment to “taking the long view” and commissioning the show without a pilot. He said Netflix asked the producers how many seasons they wanted to do initially and agreed to their request for two, which chief content officer Ted Sarandos quipped was “the worst negotiation of all time”.

He said the show was a success because “it seems to translate borders ... not just because people are fascinated by US politics but because of the politics of life all over the world.”

He revealed he is now recognized in China as House of Cards has become a hit there and said a friend told him “the Chinese government rather enjoy it” while Underwood is popular with “the common man”, as he is seen as someone who fights corruption.