Robin Wright on Kevin Spacey's House of Cards exit: '"We had to start over"

Publish Date
Saturday, 17 November 2018, 1:46PM

Robin Wright reveals what those first days after Kevin Spacey's exit from House of Cards were like, and how she's feeling now the show's over.

What was it like the first day on set in the new season without your onscreen husband, Kevin Spacey?

We pulled up our bootstraps and got to work. We had to start over. And with a rewrite there was a lot of work to do. The atmosphere on the set took some getting used to for the actors. It was definitely something to adapt to collectively. But then again, there was a lot of laughter, a lot of joking all the time, that part never changed.

It must have been a difficult time for the cast and crew. You had to shut down production and no one really knew what was going to happen.

We had to take the time to process what happened so the producers and Netflix had multiple discussions. That's why we shut down for a few months and really weighed the options [for the future]. When you spend 6 years together, like everyone who does a TV series, the cast becomes their family. We spend more time together than we do with our own families and we are a support system for one another. The climate was so intense at the time, nobody knew what to do. All of this was at the forefront of the news.

It must be strange that often reality has preceded or followed what happens on House of Cards. For example, there was President Frank Underwood's proposed immigration ban, congressional hearings and leaks to the media, as well as Russia's attempt to take advantage of a divisive America.

It was weird. Sometimes with what was happening in [Washington] D.C, you'd predict what could happen with our current President, and then he would trump us, no pun intended, and then we'd realise, 'Now we can't use that idea!' so we were constantly having to change the script.

If real life continues to imitate art, then we might finally see a woman in the White House?

Well, I am not giving up hope. Maybe there's some magic dust that's going to be brought down from above that will bring some kind of change. That's what we need, right? It's interesting that so many other countries that have female leaders, yet we are the land of opportunity.

What were the unexpected obstacles and joys of moving into the lead role while you're also directing?

Obstacles, there really weren't any. It was just that my days were longer and there were a lot of Rubik's Cube type of situations where you move stuff around quickly, changing things last minute. And the joys, I love working so much as a director because I get to work with all of the people and we have such an incredible production and cast.

Has House of Cards make you more political?

I don't think so. It's made me more politically aware of how corrupt politics can be. It's shocking to watch the news every day in and of itself and that the show actually brings levity.

Do you talk to your kids about the show? Does it open up discussions with them?

No! My kids are so bored with my work.

You got married again recently. Congratulations!

Thank you. I don't really feel comfortable talking about my personal life because I've been so taken out of context and paraphrased for the 30 years that I've been in this industry and I'm kind of done doing that now.

When you were with Ben Foster you talked quite a bit about that.

I know! Stupid, stupid of me. I'm learning to shut my mouth more.

When you see Princess Bride or Forrest Gump on TV, do you watch them?

I don't, actually. It's so strange to look at yourself 30 years ago like that. That's another human being, right, like when you look at pictures of yourself? It's the same thing. It's too upsetting. You're like, 'Oh, youth has gone!' (laughs)

What will you miss the most about Claire?

Her clothes.

Did you get to keep any of them?

No, because I think they're going to do an exhibition of them because my stylist designed those pieces from the ground up, most of them, and we were very much involved every season changing the look of Claire and why the gold buttons and the military epaulets. She became more military as she ascended.

What won't you miss?

The 16 hour days!

You're shooting Woman Woman 1984: I thought you died in the last movie?

The Amazons are a flashback in the film.

Speaking of the 80s, that was the decade you grew up in. How do you feel about that era?

It was so great being around in the '80s. It was was fantastic, much better than now.

In what way?

It was a better world.

• Season six of House of Cards is screening on Netflix now.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission.

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