By Judy Kurtz
The Hill spotted the “American Beauty” star hanging out in the House GOP cloakroom last year, researching his part as the fictional Democratic majority whip Francis Underwood.
A McCarthy aide tells us the congressman met with the Hollywood vet twice and walked him around the Capitol and the House floor explaining the responsibilities of the House majority whip. We hear while McCarthy hasn’t gotten a sneak peek at an episode, he’s “excited” to see the show.
Spacey said Tuesday that McCarthy, along with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), were both “really helpful” and “They answered all my questions. They were forthright. And they let me sort of tag along and watch how it works."
Hoyer says he “thoroughly enjoyed” speaking with Spacey about his role. “We discussed what it's like day to day to mobilize House Democrats on critical legislation and coordinate legislative strategy within the caucus,” Hoyer said. He added to ITK, “I look forward to catching an episode soon.”
But the Academy Award winner says his character might have it a little easier than current members of Congress: “Obviously we’re doing a fictional show, so I might be as the whip in a little better stead with getting things done because we can make things happen in terms of the show.”
Robin Wright plays Spacey’s ambitious spouse, and described her character to a red carpet reporter as “the Lady Macbeth to his Richard III… They’re both leaders and the ends justify the means. They will do whatever it takes to get ahead.”
The actress, who sported a short hairdo, said she had visited the White House earlier that day to discuss the ongoing conflict in the Congo. “I met with them today — his closest advisers, [President Obama’s] closest advisers in the national security department,” she told ITK.
Netflix describes the political drama — the entire first season will be released on the video subscription service on Feb. 1 — as a show that “penetrates the shadowy world of greed, sex, and corruption in modern D.C.”
Executive producer Beau Willimon says of the series, which was adapted from the British miniseries of the same name, “I don’t think ‘House of Cards’ is a show about politics. It’s a show about power.”
Willimon, the writer behind the George Clooney-starring film, “The Ides of March,” explained, “What you have in D.C. is people who are masters at the power game. So it’s like watching grand master chess champions or watching the Yankees play baseball. It’s just a different level than the high school chess team or watching a local softball game.”
Kate Mara, who plays a budding local newspaper reporter trying to work her way up the Washington journalism food chain, says while she’s not a political junkie and wasn’t exactly glued to C-SPAN, she was hooked on the show’s script: “I don’t think it has to do with being interested in politics necessarily. It’s a lot about politics at home and in your relationships and in your life.”
When we asked the “American Horror Story” actress whether she has since changed her mind and developed an interest in politics, she replied with a laugh, “No, sorry. I know being in D.C. that’s very controversial to say!”
Photo: Kate Mara, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and Beau Willimon attend the Washington, D.C., premiere of the Netflix series, "House of Cards." / Paul Morigi/Netflix