Robin Wright remembers turning down director David Fincher when he first pitched House of Cards to her. “I wanted to do movies,” she said. But then Fincher, ever the visionary, said the words that made her change her mind. “Don’t you want to be a part of a revolution?”
The actor spent the next six years of her life working on the show, and her character, Claire Underwood, has become one of the most popular she has played. She said that she is ‘shocked at how many people watch House of Cards.’
Robin Wright in conversation with Netlfix CCO Ted Sarandos.
Wright was speaking at Netflix’s See What’s Next event in Singapore. House of Cards, the streaming service’s first original series, launched in 2013 and concluded its sixth and final season on November 9. In the five years since House of Cards premiered – Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos remembers being concerned that ‘it wouldn’t appeal to an audience outside DC’ – there have been hundreds of new originals produced for online exclusive viewing, with other streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video also launching their own original content.
“Fincher educated me,” Wright said about her preconceptions. She had other ideas about television and film. TV now isn’t what it used to be in the ‘80s, Wright said. There was a difference, and films were always given more respect. But House of Cards, she said, not only ‘changed television, it revolutionised how TV is viewed.’
Even though Fincher – the Academy Award nominated director behind films such as Se7evn, Fight Club and The Social Network – didn’t direct an episode of the show after the first two (which he won a historical Emmy for), the cast and crew still goes to great lengths to preserve his vision. “David Fincher created a certain style,” Wright said. “We couldn’t use certain lenses, we couldn’t use steadicams and certain colours. We couldn’t use a certain shade of the colour red.”
In this file photo taken on February 13, 2014, Executive producer/actor Kevin Spacey (L) and actress Robin Wright arrive at the special screening of Netflix’s “House of Cards” Season 2 at the Directors Guild Of America in Los Angeles, California.
House of Cards became the first ‘television show’ to win an Emmy that was never aired on TV. Wright has become one of the world’s highest paid TV actors off it. She’s won a Golden Globe for her performance as Claire, the wife of the Machiavellian Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey in the show. Spacey was fired after sexual misconduct allegations were made against him during the #MeToo movement that spread across Hollywood late 2017.
It’s easy to imagine Spacey sitting alongside Wright just a year ago, reflecting on the show that was as important for his career as it has been for her’s. But in November, 2017, with two episodes of the final season in the can and an explosive finale being written, Netflix announced that they would be terminating the services of Spacey; the future of their flagship show was uncertain.
This image released by Netflix shows Robin Wright in a scene from the final season of House Of Cards.
Wright was instrumental in getting season six made. “I feel proud of our team for creating one of the most conniving couples on television, and proud of the crew and the fans,” she said, emphasising how important it was to her for the show to end on its own terms.
She said that the House of Cards’ fate has always been uncertain. Two versions of the every season finale were written because they didn’t know if they’d be renewed. But Claire’s arc was always mapped out.
“I wont miss her clothes and her shoes,” she said, but she’ll miss her House of Cards family. It was like making a ‘six-year-long movie’. She said that she intends on taking a step back from acting now and plans on switching focus on directing films.
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First Published: Nov 08, 2018 16:57 IST