If you thought the presidency of Frank Underwood on Netflix’s “House of Cards” seemed over-the-top, stars Neve Campbell and Michael Kelly say think again.
“The madness that’s happening with this current administration … people are going to watch ‘House of Cards’ and go, ‘that’s not so crazy,’” Kelly told CNN in a recent interview.
“This is insane what’s happening in the real world,” said Kelly, who plays White House chief of staff Doug Stamper on the show. “This is crazy town right now. It’s disturbing. We’ve always been a country, except for in television, that has someone who can represent the American people with knowledge and respect and proper decorum. This is the first time that we’ve not had that and that’s incredibly troubling.”
The upcoming fifth season of “House of Cards” was filmed during the run-up to the November presidential election. Campbell, who plays political consultant Leann Harvey, said even with the show’s notoriously dramatic twists, it was hard to turn away from actual political news during the season’s production.
“There’s a real feeling of responsibility,” Campbell said. “I think we are all feeling, ‘Oh, I can’t checkout now.’ Checking out is not the appropriate reaction.”
“House of Cards” will again offer what many will see as real-world parallels. In the season premiere, the central couple leverages fears of terrorism to advance their political objectives. “We can control the conversation,” Kevin Spacey’s President Underwood says at one point, referring to his ability to set the media agenda and steer it away from bad news.
That may ring familiar but any similarities on the show to politicians past or present, Spacey recently explained, are coincidental.
“That was never our intention to play into the real world of politics. We wanted to be an alternative universe,” Spacey said, while addressing an audience at a Netflix event.
But in a time of “alternative facts,” it’s hard to create political fiction.
“I think [the writers] have done a really good job of it,” Campbell said before adding, “But yeah, it’s a challenge because what happened in the last 20 months is insane.”
“House of Cards” Season 5 premieres May 30 on Netflix.