Beau Willimon is an emotive individual, unless you get to talking about the next season of “House of Cards.” Even if he’s as secretive toward spoilers as J.J. Abrams’ with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the talkative creator and showrunner of Netflix’s flagship original series isn’t afraid to dig into the content you’ve already seen. In fact, he’ll even call you out for liking Frank and Claire a little too much.
At a FYC post-screening Q&A for “House of Cards” in late April, moderator Jenelle Riley mentioned that she “can’t tell you how many people have told me they wish they had a relationship like the Underwoods.” As the audience started to chuckle at the idea of couples being envious of a murderer and his willing accomplice, Willimon expressed his amazement.
“God, that’s so fucked up.”
“Sometimes I can’t believe you’re a writer,” Robin Wright responded. “It’s not ‘unconventional.’ It’s just ‘fucked up.'”
In an evening packed with jokes, impersonations — you’d have to hear Kevin Spacey’s Bill Clinton to believe it — and witty asides, the “House of Cards” team did get around to discussing the nitty gritty of Season 3. Below, we’ve compiled the highlights of the nearly-hour long discussion, as well as Indiewire’s own one-on-one time with the actors and creator.
What’s to Come in Season 4?
“Can you tell us anything about Season 4?”
“Absolutely not,” Spacey said. “Otherwise I’d have to throw you in front of a moving train.”
The above exchange between reporter and star perfectly encapsulated all the repeated attempts throughout the evening to get any information at all about Season 4 from the jovial but secretive stars.
“We’re working on Season 4 right now,” Willimon told Indiewire before the screening. “We’ll start production in a little under two months, so I already know some of what’s going to happen for sure — but I’m not going to tell you any of it.”
Spacey, speaking to Indiewire before the panel, was able to confirm one thing: the two-time feature director isn’t likely to be step behind the camera for Season 4, like fellow actors Robin Wright and Jodie Foster have for “House of Cards” in the past.
“I’ve talked about it, but the problem is that because I have so much work to do in the acting department it’s very difficult to have the time to prep,” Spacey said. “If you’re going to do either one episode or two episodes, you have to spend so much time prepping and going to locations and making all these decisions that so far I just can’t take that on while I’m shooting. So it would probably have to be that I’d be doing the first episode, in order to be able to make that work, but I’m not doing the first episode so I don’t know that it will happen for Season 4.”
I guess that’s just one more thing Claire can do that Frank can’t.
Crediting David Fincher
Wright and Spacey were asked about what’s changed since they signed on to the show, which lead into a larger conversation about binge-viewing.
“Really, we signed on to start a new awards show called The Streamies,” Wright joked.
“I thought streaming was something you did when you pulled the car over to the side of the road and took a leak,” Spacey said, following her lead.
[Editor’s note: The Streamy Awards, established in 2009, actually exist.]
Willimon was quick to give credit to executive producer and director David Fincher for his work in getting the show up and running. “This really all began with David Fincher,” he said. “MRC approached him to see if he was interested in directing and producing ‘House of Cards.’ He and his producing partners […] brought me on board, and we worked for a whole year on the script. It was the strength of David’s relationships with Kevin and Robin that got them interested in the first place. So many actors who worked with David — Kim Dickens, as well — want to come back for more because they know the level of excellence he brings. He’s one of the greatest living filmmakers out there.”
Soon after, Spacey asked the audience how many of them were binge-watchers. About two-thirds raised their hands and many others clapped and cheered.
“Wow. Have you seen your families at all?” Spacey said.
“Fucking Get a Clue”
In case you thought it was just Willimon who was a bit appalled by certain fans’ reactions to “House of Cards,” Kevin Spacey also has a pointed request for viewers. When asked if he thought Frank was a good man who’d just been corrupted, Spacey jokingly retorted, “Don’t be so judgmental,” before digging into a broader, more personal point.
“I don’t judge the characters I play,” Spacey said. “I also don’t confuse the actor for doing something in a scene when it isn’t me — it’s the character I play. I get often people saying, ‘How could you do that?’ I didn’t fucking do that. My character did that. Can you not see a difference? It’s like when you used to hear that soap opera actors would get smacked by housewives about the way they were treating their wife or their girlfriend on the soap opera. And it’s like, ‘Fucking get a clue. We’re actors. We’re playing a part. It’s not us.’ Thank God.”
“I had one of those one time,” Wright said. “I played a battered wife in this little film, and yeah, she was battered. But the journalist [interviewing me] said, ‘How often do men hit you?'”
“How do you respond to that?” Riley asked.
“I wanted to punch her in the face.”
Lesson learned: Don’t mess with the “House of Cards” cast.