With manufacturing halted on the sixth and ultimate season of “House of Cards,” Netflix and producer Media Rights Capital are taking the primary steps towards the firing of actor Kevin Spacey and contemplating choices for the way forward for the drama collection that put Netflix on the unique programming map. But there’s no path ahead that appears straightforward.
Insiders advised Variety previous to Spacey’s dismissal that producers are contemplating killing off Frank Underwood, the devious congressman turned president who’s
portrayed by Spacey and has been the present’s central character from the outset. A transfer is critical to salvage the season given the flood of badual misconduct allegations that started with actor Anthony Rapp’s declare in a BuzzFeed interview Oct. 29 that Spacey badually badaulted him when the “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Rent” star was simply 14 years previous.
More allegations have since mounted, together with one from a former manufacturing badistant on “House of Cards” who advised CNN that Spacey shoved his hand down the staffer’s pants with out permission. Spacey additionally has been dropped by his company, CAA, and his publicist, Staci Wolfe. Scotland Yard has opened an investigation in response to an allegation he badually badaulted a male actor in London.
“Consequences have actions,” mentioned Brian Pacheco of Safe Horizon, an advocacy group for victims of abuse and violent crime. “There are a lot of innocent people affected by what is alleged to have happened.” But, Pacheco added, that doesn’t imply that “House of Cards” has to finish.
“The cast and crew, do they deserve for the show to be halted? No, they don’t,” he mentioned. Production on season six, which employs roughly 300 individuals, started in
October and was halted Oct. 31, two days after the publication of Rapp’s allegation and someday after executives from Netflix and Media Rights Capital visited the set to talk with staffers. With taking pictures stopped whereas season six remains to be in its early levels, persevering with the present with out Spacey is logistically possible. Spacey had been nominated 5 occasions for excellent lead actor in a drama collection on the Primetime Emmy Awards.
Creatively it guarantees to be heavy lifting. Although some followers have referred to as for a story pivot to Robin Wright’s scheming first woman Claire Underwood — Jessica Chastain wrote on Twitter, “Can #RobinWright just be the lead of @HouseofCards now?” — Spacey has been on the high of the present’s name sheet from the start. He additionally has an government producer credit score.
Assuming that producers can efficiently extricate themselves from Spacey’s contract, the prospect of a handoff to Wright may rekindle a long-simmering pay dispute between her and the present. For season 5, Spacey made $500,000 per episode. During an look final 12 months at The Rockefeller Foundation, Wright advised an viewers that she had landed a increase that might pay her the identical quantity as Spacey. But months later, she mentioned in an interview with United Airlines’ inflight journal, Rhapsody, that she had not achieved parity together with her co-star. “I really don’t like being duped,” she mentioned.
Another choice could be for Netflix to fast-track one in all a number of “House of Cards” spinoffs it has in early levels of growth. As Variety reported, Netflix and Media Rights Capital have a number of concepts within the works for successor collection that might happen in the identical fictional world as “House of Cards.” One idea revolves round Doug Stamper, the political aide-de-camp performed by actor Michael Kelly, with Eric Roth set to put in writing.
“House of Cards” is a traditionally essential present — the primary authentic collection on a streaming service to garner an Emmy nomination. It additionally served as a calling card for Netflix’s then-nascent authentic growth efforts when, in 2011, the streaming service aggressively outbid HBO with a two-season, straight-to-series order price $100 million.
“Before ‘House of Cards’ was launched, I don’t think that people generally badociated streaming video with quality,” media badyst Brad Adgate mentioned. “So it holds a very important [place] for Netflix.”
But the corporate is not a newcomer with only a handful of reveals below its belt. Instead it’s probably the most aggressive participant within the programming market, planning to spend $eight billion subsequent 12 months on content material, a lot of it on authentic collection.
“They have a lot of shows now,” Adgate mentioned of Netflix. “Quality original series with A-list actors, A-list directors on these projects. So do they really need ‘House of Cards’? Probably not. It’s not as critical as it was, say, five years ago. It wouldn’t surprise me if they said, ‘This is it,’ and just moved on to other projects. They have really had a huge focus on producing original content, and they’ve been very successful with it.”
Brent Lang contributed to this report.