9:31am PT by Jackie Strause
Kevin Spacey on 'House of Cards': "We're Scarier Than We've Ever Been Before"
When Kevin Spacey returns as President Frank Underwood in the new season of House of Cards — a show that once imagined Washington, D.C., at its most maniacally corrupt — it won't feel like such strange fiction.
In the fifth season, which releases in full May 30 on Netflix, President Underwood is "just using fear to get votes," the actor who plays him, Kevin Spacey, told Late Night's Seth Meyers of the Underwoods on the campaign trail now that wife Claire (Robin Wright) is his running mate.
But seemingly far-fetched plot points, like a husband and wife running on the same ballot, are just a taste of what's to come.
"What's interesting is that there are people who watch the show and even that, as an example, last year and thought, 'Oh that's crazy. That could never happen.' And then suddenly 18 months later it's like, 'Oh, wait a second. That actually could happen.' Or it is happening," said Spacey of how season five will resonate in President Donald Trump's America. "I think that we're scarier than we've ever been before."
Spacey has been hitting his own campaign trail to promote the upcoming season, and that recently included a Washington, D.C., stunt in which he and co-star Michael Kelly traveled with President Obama's photographer, Pete Souza, while in character as Frank Underwood and Doug Stamper, respectively. Spacey said about 97 percent of the people they encountered addressed him as "Mr. President."
"It makes me think that I could run, even without a platform — even though Netflix is a pretty big platform," said the actor, who is also an executive producer on the series, along with Wright.
He also explained the two things the show kept from the BBC series of the same name that House of Cards was adapted from: Frank's fourth-wall addresses to the audience and his initials. In the British show, the main character's name is Francis Urquhart, which Spacey admits didn't sound terribly American: "But we kept Francis Underwood so that the initials would be F.U."
When visiting Stephen Colbert's Late Show the night prior, Spacey credited the writers for out-Trumping Trump and predicting headlines before they even happened with the new season.
"At some point between when we shot the season and before it dropped, three to four to five things happened in the real world, and we go, 'Everyone's going to assume we stole it from the headlines,'" Spacey said. "We've never been more relevant.
Referencing Trump before he launched his candidacy, he said, "What has become clear since then — he's just not listening at all. I do believe we have better writers."
Spacey echoed that sentiment when speaking earlier this month about the show's "crystal ball-ish" talents.
"That was never our intention to play into the real world of politics," he said of parallels. "We wanted to be an alternative universe. And it may be a universe that some people prefer."
Wright is also making the talk-show circuit, where she's agreed with Spacey in saying more than once how "Trump has Trumped us."
She told Colbert during her Wednesday night visit, "We don't have any ideas for season six now — he stole them all." When Colbert recalled how Spacey said Frank's addresses to the audience are directed at Trump, Wright says the president simply doesn't understand Frank.
She then offered this tease about the upcoming season, "It's going to be difficult for Francis and very interesting for Claire, that's what this season holds."
Keep up with Live Feed for full season coverage when House of Cards returns May 30.