Nearly nine months after sexual misconduct allegations came to light about Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and her fellow House of Cards cast-members are speaking out on the actor’s wicked past—and how it almost killed their show.
In a new interview with NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie, Wright discussed the near-death of Netflix’s flagship drama, and why they decided to push forward with the narrative of her character, Claire Underwood.
“We were coworkers, really,” she explained, insisting that the two didn’t interact much on a personal level—but that doesn’t nullify what he’s done to others. “We never socialized outside of work. [It was a] respectful, professional relationship. He was so great with me. He was never disrespectful to me, so that’s my personal experience. That’s the only thing that I feel I have the right to talk about,” Wright said. “Kevin and I knew each other between action and cut and in between setups where we would giggle. I didn’t know the man. I knew the incredible craftsman that he is.”
The allegations tore through the House of Cards set back in October 2017, and temporarily shut down production of the show, as they were serious. Actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making inappropriate sexual advances back in 1986, when he was 26 and Rapp was just 14, a minor.
After Rapp’s accusations surfaced and production was halted, Netflix eventually decided to move forward without Spacey, which was messy: The actor served as an executive producer on the award-winning show, as well as the star, having garnered one Golden Globe win and five consecutive Emmy nominations for portraying Frank Underwood. Later, more than 15 men came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Spacey.
But somewhat felicitously, the season five cliffhanger, which aired five months before Rapp’s allegations came to light, showed Claire forcefully and powerfully turning to camera, mimicking the way Frank has always broken the fourth wall, and asserted, “My turn”—allowing for a full-fledged Claire takeover. So, in the show’s upcoming sixth and final season, we can assume House of Cards will center Claire more than ever before.
“I think we were all surprised, of course, and ultimately saddened,” she told Guthrie, of hearing about Rapp’s allegations against Spacey. “We forged ahead and we were so thankful that we were able to complete the series as planned.”
All of the show’s cast and crew members were affected by the production shutdown, which left fans in an uproar—why should the show, the crew, and the fans suffer because of the nefarious behaviors of one man? Spacey responded in just about the worst way possible. He penned a letter where he came out as a gay man—something that had long been speculated about—but the timing of his admission begged for sympathy, when obviously nothing can excuse the insidious acts he had been accused of.
Wright’s co-stars Michael Kelly, known as Doug Stamper on House of Cards, and Constance Zimmer, who plays Janine Skorsky, also spoke to Guthrie. “The first table read was always Robin, Kevin and me at the head of the table,” Kelly recalled. “The first time we sat down, it was me and Robin and both of us looked at each other and it was like, ‘Wow, we’re doing this.'” Zimmer added, “We already knew that this season was the final season before all of this happened.”
Of the #MeToo movement, Wright insinuates that she, too, has experienced harassment. “Who hasn’t? Seduction, I don’t care who you are, it’s about power,” she said. “And once you overpower someone, that person then becomes vulnerable. This last year has shined the light in a new way to allow us to start a new conversation, so we just need to shift the paradigm.”
Since the debacle, Wright insists she’s had zero communication with the disgraced actor. “I haven’t heard from him and I don’t even know how to reach him,” she said.
Wright was not only elevated as the show’s starring character for the sixth season, but also behind-the-scenes—she’ll be directing the finale. The final season of House of Cards is set to air this fall. You can watch the clip from Wright’s interview here, but the full interview will air closer to the House of Cards premiere.