Neve Campbell shot down speculation that the fifth season of Netflix’s “House of Cards” borrowed from actual events surrounding the 2016 presidential election and Donald Trump’s administration.
“Every season seems to have something that is true to life or true to some event that’s happening in the real world. The show has not gone out and actually tried to tear stories from the newspapers,” Campbell told Business Insider on Friday.
There are certainly aspects of the show, which returns on Tuesday, that do echo some themes from the presidential election.
For example, an angry crowd chants “not my president” outside the White House. That was also a popular chant for Trump protesters after he won the presidential election with Electoral College votes but did not win the popular vote. But Campbell calls those kinds of similarities between the show and reality “accidental.”
“They set out their characters and the plots and the arcs this season way before anything really got crazy,” she said. “And I don’t think it would have made any sense to suddenly veer off the path of the season just because of things that are happening in the real world.”
On season five, Campbell returns as political strategist Leann Harvey. Though she actually works for Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), the First Lady is the running mate to her husband, President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey). And that means Leann not only works for Frank, but it’s also in her nature to impress him. That puts her in direct conflict with the president’s chief of staff, Doug Stamper (Micheal Kelly).
“Leann has come into the White House and into the world, and I think she likes the smell of power,” Campbell said. “She could go either way. She does have a commitment to Claire, but also being true to the president is important to her because she cares about her position.”
The new season finds Frank engaged in very corrupt plots to swing the election in his favour, a storyline that could be seen as playing off the current federal investigation into the Trump campaign and possible collusion with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.
“It just so happens that things did happen that mirror reality, but almost accidentally,” said the actress, who catapulted to fame after starring in the 1990s show “Party of Five,” the “Scream” movie franchise, and the provocative “Wild Things” opposite Kevin Bacon and Matt Dillon.
Campbell does say that the show faces the “challenge” of viewers feeling some fatigue surrounding politics who may not want to watch a political drama at the moment. But she thinks the show’s fans will show up.
“These are characters that everybody loves to hate,” she told us. “These are storylines that people have been following for four years already. People have a real thirst for more of it. And in the end, what’s great about this show is if you’re watching for Machiavellian characters, you’re watching it on your couch with a glass of wine. And when you turn it off, nothing bad happens. So there’s a difference between watching the show and tuning into CNN and witnessing what’s happening in the real world.”
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