POLITICS

'House of Cards' is really, really not about politics

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Yeas and Nays,Politics,Nikki Schwab

It's about Shakespeare, not politics. That was the talking point most well-delivered on Tuesday night's red carpet for the new Netflix drama "House of Cards."

Actor Kevin Spacey likened his character -- a Democratic House majority whip who tries taking down the administration after he gets passed over for secretary of state -- to Shakespeare's "Richard III." And noted that party affiliation didn't mean squat. "I think he could be a Republican, without question," Spacey told Yeas & Nays. "So I don't think it is [partisan]," the actor added. Actress Robin Wright, who plays Spacey's wife in the series, is a different vintage character. "She is, again, the Lady MacBeth to his Richard III," she explained.

Only the show's executive producer and showrunner, Beau Willimon, dared mention actual politicians when describing Spacey's character. "He's a ruthless politician, the ilk of Richard the III and LBJ, a little bit of Dick Cheney, all sort of wrapped into one, and maybe a little Hannibal Lecter too," Willimon said.

As for preparing for the roles, Wright said she didn't talk to any congressional spouses beforehand. "I didn't," she said. "I wanted to just come in fresh and, also, because we were coming from a Shakespearean template instead of D.C." Actress Kate Mara, who plays a cub reporter at the fake Washington Herald, didn't talk to any Washington journos about their gigs either. "I didn't spend time with reporters," she noted. "The thing about our show is you don't have to be a fan of politics to enjoy it."

It was only Spacey, who spent any downtime with pols, hanging out with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and also House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. "He was incredibly generous ... with helping me understand what it might be like to try and corral 218 individuals to vote in a particular way," he said of McCarthy. "[They] were both really helpful to me. They answered all my questions. They were very forthright and they let me sort of tag along and watch how it works," Spacey continued.

Netflix users can start streaming season one of "House of Cards" Feb. 1.

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Nikki Schwab

Staff Reporter - Yeas & Nays
The Washington Examiner