House of Cards star Robin Wright is finally talking about the recent shake-up at the hit Netflix show. The controversy stems from sexual misconduct allegations against Kevin Spacey, who headlined the first five seasons as ambitious politician Frank Underwood. The accusations started in October when actor Anthony Rapp claimed Spacey made advances toward him. Rapp was only 14 at the time.
By December, Netflix had fired Spacey ahead of the series' sixth and final season. Producers also cut the episode count for the final batch from 13 to 8. As recent House of Cards trailers show, this year will be entirely about Wright's character Claire, who ascended to the presidency in the season 5 finale. Because Frank resigned from office to go work in the private sector, the writers don't necessarily have much work to do to explain his absence in the new episodes. Still, his presence at the center of the increasingly scandalous plot so far will make his absence nonetheless significant, and the final season risks living in the shadow of the real-world reasons for Spacey not being there.
Wright will appear on NBC's The Today Show Monday morning, where she will speak publicly for the first time about her on-set relationship with Spacey. The show released a brief preview of the talk on Twitter. In it, Wright distances herself from her former co-star, saying that she only knew him as an actor and not as a person. "Kevin and I knew each other between 'Action' and 'Cut' and in between setups, where we would giggle," Wright says. "I didn't know the man; I knew the incredible craftsman that he is."
Losing House of Cards was not the only hit to Spacey's career. Director Ridley Scott famously cut all of the actor's scenes from last winter's All the Money in the World. Scott then re-shot all of them, replacing Spacey with Christopher Plummer. And he did this a month before the film came out, in a feat many said couldn't be accomplished properly. Spacey's firing and its causes were just one example of the so-called Weinstein Effect. It's named after disgraced former film producer Harvey Weinstein, who left his company amid public outcry and dozens of accusations of misconduct. In May, he turned himself in to the New York police for charges related to two of his accusers. He is currently out on bail and under travel restrictions.
That scandal and Spacey's helped to initially solidify the ongoing "#MeToo" social media campaign and movement, which aims to spread awareness of widespread sexual harassment and assault, and hold its perpetrators accountable. Someday, Netflix may reveal its original plans for how House of Cards was going to end, but this shake-up was a bold response - and the correct one - and it may yet pay off. Wright is more than capable of carrying the show by herself, and hopefully the specter of Spacey's downfall will not haunt her Oval Office.
House of Cards Season 6 will stream on Netflix in late 2018.
Source: The Today Show