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Michael Kelly: Finishing ‘House of Cards’ Without Kevin Spacey Is ‘Tough’ and ‘Hard to Process’

Kelly tells Variety that he hasn't spoken with Spacey since the actor was fired last year in the wake of sexual harassment and abuse allegations.

Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”


Michael Kelly is speaking for the first time about Kevin Spacey’s exit from the Netflix original series “House of Cards” in a new interview with Variety. Kelly starred opposite Spacey for five seasons as chief of staff Doug Stamper. The nature of their characters’ relationship meant a majority of Kelly’s scenes through 65 episodes were with Spacey, so it’s no wonder Spacey’s firing over sexual harassment and abuse allegations has been hard for Kelly to process.

“It’s such a mixed bag of emotions because I was with that guy every single day,” Kelly tells Variety. “To go back to the same stages, to the same sets…to go back to those sets and all of a sudden be with completely different people, it was a strange feeling. I don’t even know how to put it into words. There’s obviously a million emotions that I went through, that I processed during this whole thing. I don’t want to talk too much about it because it was heartbreaking in so many ways.”

Despite all of the time Kelly spent with Spacey on set over the last several years, the actor says he has not heard from or spoken with Spacey since the allegations led to his firing from the Netflix show. Kelly admits it’s been “tough” going from seeing Spacey every day to not having any communication with the actor at all.

“All I know is what I hear, but I don’t know,” Kelly said. “It’s tough. You go from talking to someone often to not at all, and in any profession, in anything, circumstances removed, what happened removed, it’s strange…and I’m still processing. I haven’t formulated any opinion, and I haven’t talked publicly about it. This is the first thing I’ve ever said. I think I’m still going through a lot, processing the whole thing. It’s tough.”

One thing Kelly knows for sure is that he’s happy “House of Cards” gets to continue with a sixth and final season, which will see Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood step into the lead role. The show’s fifth season finale saw Claire take on the role of President, with Doug becoming her chief of staff. Kelly is thankful the show took this direction before the allegations against Spacey went public, as it allowed for the series not to die without its star.

“Thank God she was President at the end of last season or else we might have found ourselves doing pretty badly,” Kelly said. “But it all worked out, and Robin is so frigging talented. I don’t want to say effortless because she works her ass off, but the way she portrays that character, it just…you work with her, and now the two of us have a lot together, where everything before was with Francis (Underwood). Now everything is with Claire, and it’s really been an interesting time.”

“House of Cards” Season 6 is currently in production and is set to be released in late 2018. Stamper has been nominated three times for supporting actor for his work on the series. Head over to Variety to read the actor’s interview in full.

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