At Thursday night’s Smithsonian Associates-sponsored talk, Beau Willimon was trying really mightily not to divulge any spoilers about season three of “House of Cards,” the hit Netflix show that he runs.
But David Carr, the New York Times writer leading the discussion, was having none of it. “You’ve got to show a little leg,” he admonished Willimon.
And so the showrunner obliged, rolling up the cuff of his jeans to reveal a few inches of flesh.
The audience laughed. And sighed. Why else would they show up on a weeknight, pay 30 bucks and cram into an auditorium at the Museum of Natural History, if they weren’t going to get just the tiniest morsel of a hint of what dark doings they could expect from “House of Cards’” Frank Underwood, the devious, newly installed president, and his assorted associates?
Egged on by the crowd, Willimon budged a bit, offering up a suggestion that Underwood, who has spent the first two seasons scheming his way to the “summit” — the White House — now might grapple with an identity crisis. “What do you you do when you’re on top of it?” he wondered aloud. “Who are you? You can no longer say, ‘I’m the guy trying to reach the summit.’”
And President Underwood will have to think about his legacy (sound familiar?). “Now, it had to have meaning. It used to be that the meaning was getting there,” Willimon said.
But forget next season — Willimon described some footage that we really want to see: During a punchier moment of the talk, he said that on his phone, there is a video of Carr and Robin Wright, who plays icy first lady Claire Underwood, at some party (perhaps it was a soiree, the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, which the two men had talked about earlier?), “dancing like animals.”
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