It’s not uncommon for a series in its fifth season to struggle for a relevant handhold, suffering from a stalling story after nearly a half-decade on air. But House of Cards, which premieres its fifth season this week, has a very different problem: how exactly does a show so deeply contingent on dark and frankly inconceivably political machinations compete with the pure mania that’s happening in our very real political climate?
The answer to whether or not the daring drama will manage to out-crazy the current administration still remains a minor mystery, but after creator Beau Willimon’s departure at the end of the last season, the series is finding new life in the hands of long-time writers Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson, who certainly have their work cut out for them. This month, we had a chance to sit down with series stars Mike Kelly (who appears as the always morally corrupt Stamper) and magnetic Season 4 addition Neve Campbell (who made her series debut last season as Claire Underwood’s campaign manager LeAnn) to discuss what’s in store for Season 5, the effect that Trump’s campaign and ultimate victory has had on the series, the departure of Willimon and Stamper and LeAnn’s curious chemistry.
Well this just became a semi-depressing show to talk about! I would love to hear about how this shocker of an election helped inform the series, and what that was like for you all on set.
NEVE CAMPBELL: It was certainly interesting to be shooting a season based around an insane election whilst surrounded by an insane election process. [Laughs] Overwhelming, in a lot of ways. We watched CNN in the hair and makeup trailer pretty much all day, every day. And then the show’s politics as well, it was pretty all encompassing. This year has been really challenging for us. The day after the election was really tough on our set, very depressing. I think for most people in the creative world, most creative people, tend to be leftist. So it was interesting shooting a show that has dirty politics and then witnessing dirty politics.
MIKE KELLY: But to see it since we wrapped right, like it keeps getting worse and worse. Like every day I’m just like, “Oh my god, are you doing that just to be a dick? Are you doing this just to be spiteful?” It’s almost become Trump’s whole mission is to destroy Obama’s legacy. It’s not like he’s doing anything proactive or to help the country. He’s just destroying everything that he did.