Celebrity interview: Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey.
Kevin Spacey.
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Kevin Spacey is no stranger to treacherous roles so he’s perfect to play ruthless politician Francis Underwood in the remake of House Of Cards.

FRANCIS UNDERWOOD IS SUCH AN INTERESTING, COMPLEX CHARACTER TO PLAY. DID YOU BASE HIM ON ANYONE?

No, not at all. Michael Dobbs created a pretty interesting character in Francis Urquhart, as he was called in the original House Of Cards, and we looked at that series and we thought, ‘It’s delicious and it’s diabolical’, and used it as this launch pad to try to turn the show into something that’s quite real and current. And because Michael Dobbs based it on Richard III, there’s a rich tapestry, there’s a lot in it.

We’ve only done 13, but it’s like being in the middle of a pretty amazing championship chess match.

ARE THERE ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN SHOWBIZ AND POLITICS?

I think you can definitely see the qualities of being a performer, getting your message across, talking to your audience, getting your listener to believe you.

WHAT MAKES THIS ONE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER TV SHOWS?

I have no idea what makes it different. It’s not Homeland, it’s not Veep. It is its own thing. I think Homeland’s brilliant, I love Veep, it’s very funny. I think people have always been interested in politics and it’s always been great fodder for examining in film and television.

TELL ME ABOUT THE DYNAMIC BETWEEN YOU AND ROBIN WRIGHT (WHO PLAYS UNDERWOOD’S WIFE). IT’S ELECTRIC ON SCREEN.

I’ve known Robin for 25 years, we’ve been close friends and we’ve worked with each other once before in a film called Hurlyburly. She’s just an awesome Lady Macbeth and I think that relationship’s going to be really interesting to explore more and more as we go on.

DID YOU FIND MAKING A SHOW FOR NETFLIX DIFFERENT TO MAKING FILMS OR A TRADITIONAL TV SHOW?

I guess you have to think of it this way: that camera doesn’t know it’s a TV camera. It’s just a camera. We’re actually not on television. We’re the new television show but it isn’t on television, we’re streaming. So it doesn’t matter what the portal is going to be, how people will see it.

I think what’s unique about this is that unlike most television shows, unlike most networks, we weren’t asked to do a pilot.

For me, it feels like I’m making a really long movie as opposed to an episodic.

House Of Cards began on www.netflix.com yesterday. (Feb 1)

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