Kevin Spacey on the red carpet at Netflix’s reception for “House of Cards.” (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Lately, it seems like Kevin Spacey is practically a local. Check out his CV: Over the past five years, he has played just about every sub-species of Washington heavyweight. First, campaign operative Ron Klain (“Recount”), then disgraced superlobbyist Jack Abramoff (“Casino Jack”), and now, in “House of Cards,” a sinister (though fictional) House majority whip.

Staffer, lobbyist, pol: A Beltway trinity! Is this a new specialty?

“It’s not a particular plan,” Spacey told us. “It’s just these scripts came along at a certain time.”

We caught up with the Oscar winner Tuesday at one of those journalist/actor mutual-agony procedures known as a “red carpet,” before a Newseum screening and reception for the new David Fincher-directed miniseries, now getting a big rollout from Netflix.

These red carpet settings are fraught with weird power dynamics (we have to talk. . . with a rope line between us?) but may be especially awkward in D.C., where we reporters try our darnedest to squeeze some profundity out of the exchange. We can’t just do who-are-you-wearing here.

Kate Mara and Kevin Spacey with co-star Robin Wright and writer/producer Beau Willimon (Paul Morigi/Invision/AP)

So of course someone else had just asked a version of our question. Of his political characters, Spacey said, “I don’t really think in terms of villains or heroes. They’ve done some good and some not-so-good things.” Much as it is with real-life politicians. The movie “Lincoln,” he noted, has opened the door to such nuance, portraying “a politician deemed our most saintly president, and he was trying to make as many backdoor deals as the rest of them. . . I look at a figure like Lyndon Johnson. The way he negotiated was very tough. But he was very effective.”

So, isn’t it time he played a president — and which one would he play?

“I have to play a president next?” he smirked. “I can’t presume who would like to cast me.”

You know, maybe we should stick to asking about their clothes, after all. This is all just business for them, too. Elsewhere on the carpet, actress Kate Mara politely deflected coy questions about the real-life model for her devious blogger (er, ask the screenwriter?) and whether the dark drama had affected her feelings about Washington.

“Listen,” she said, “it’s all made up, isn’t it?”

Read earlier: ‘House of Cards,’ an original series set in Washington with Kevin Spacey, is bold new strategy for Netflix, 1/25/13
Kevin Spacey screens Abramoff flick for Washington media crowd, 11/12/10

Stars, reporters, and the art of red-carpet Kremlinology, 2/22/12

Yeah, that’s what the red carpet is like. Kevin Spacey at the Newseum. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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