When Kevin Spacey was revealed as a sexual predator with a decades-long history of preying on young boys, I figured Netflix’s House of Cards had played its last hand. After all, Spacey was the undisputed face of the show, both its lead character and featuring heavily in the marketing material. With his name suddenly about as toxic as you can get, how could you carry on? Well, Robin Wright, who plays the steely Claire Underwood, fought to keep the show from being cancelled, arguing that they owed it to their viewers to finish the story.
Her opinions on the series’ brush with disaster and her relationship with Spacey were laid out in an interview with Net-A-Porter, in which she was asked how close the show came to being axed.
“Very, very close. Because of the climate at that time. The air was thick, you know. Harvey Weinstein… People were [saying], ‘We have to shut everything down or otherwise it will look like we are glorifying and honoring this thing that’s dirty.”
But Robin Wright isn’t someone to give up a fight easily, angrily arguing that:
“Our show’s not dirty! I believed we should finish. I believed we should honor our commitment. To the people that loved the show, also. Why quit? They printed that it was ‘only’ 600 people out of work, but if you include security, cops, shooting on location in Baltimore, everything, 2,500 people would have been out of a job. And that’s not fair – to take that security away from those people… They didn’t do anything [wrong].”
She goes on to describe the mood on set as one of “shock and fear,” with everyone afraid of losing their jobs and Wright feeling responsible for them in her role as executive producer. Fortunately, her arguments were listened to and in a weird way it’s quite uplifting that the show proved it was capable of carrying on without Spacey, with the production shifting its focus to Wright’s Claire Underwood.
But what of Spacey? Well, Wright struggles to communicate her emotions on the disgraced actor, eventually being asked whether he’ll ever deserve a career reprieve.
I don’t know how to comment on that, I really don’t,” she starts. “I believe every human being has the ability to reform. Has the ability to reform. In that sense, second chances, or whatever you are going to call it – absolutely, I believe in that. It’s called growth.”
The final season of House of Cards is set to be released on Netflix on November 2nd, and we can’t wait to see how it unfolds without Kevin Spacey at the helm.