Spacey: Insiders say ‘House of Cards’ hits close to home

Kevin Spacey says multiple Washington insiders are telling him that his dark, sinister and supposedly fictional Netflix series “House of Cards” is “the most accurate description of how politics actually works.”

The Academy Award winner plays the ethically challenged Democratic House Majority Whip Frank Underwood in the political thriller. He shadowed real-life whip Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to prep for the starring role.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Whether they might say this publicly or not publicly, I’ve talked to more people in politics who have said to me, ‘It’s closer than you can imagine,’ ” Spacey disclosed during a Monday lecture on ethics and power in politics at Georgetown University.

Speaking with Ron Klain, who served as chief of staff to Vice Presidents Gore and Biden — and whom Spacey portrayed in the 2008 HBO movie “Recount” — the actor said people with political connections tell him the show is “the most accurate description of how politics actually works that we’ve ever seen.’

Spacey noted while dramas such as NBC’s “West Wing,” which ended its run in 2006, show a “beautiful, wonderful idea of how democracy should work,” he’s had “more people in politics say ‘House of Cards’ is closer.”

The 54-year-old entertainer and producer said with a slight chuckle, “I don’t know whether to take that as a compliment or a sad state of affairs. I’m not sure.”

Spacey also touched on the events surrounding the 2000 presidential election that were chronicled in “Recount.”

“The s--t that went down in that experience was some of the most extraordinary, mind-boggling manipulation,” he said. “Sometimes, here’s my feeling: I watch what’s going on in Washington and I think to myself, 'Our scripts are not that f---ing crazy.' They’re really not.”

Klain recalled Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s remarks last year in a CNN interview about the controversial 2000 ruling, in which Scalia said, “My usual response is, ‘Get over it.’ ”

The former White House staffer and Georgetown adjunct professor said of the ruling, which ultimately determined George W. Bush as the next president, “I’m not over it. Just to be clear about that.”

Klain pressed Spacey about the conniving character he plays on “House of Cards,” saying the general thinking in Washington is “for things to get done, people in power have to be men and women of their word.”

Citing an episode in which Underwood stretches a promise by saying he merely “revised [its] parameters,” Klain asked Spacey if such a move was kosher in the political world.

“It’s politics, baby,” Spacey replied. 

More in In The Know

Sanchez's cat roots for Hillary Clinton in annual holiday card

Read more »