Watch My Show: House of Cards' Beau Willimon Answers Our Showrunner Survey
Beau Willimon | Photo Credits: Paul Morigi/WireImage
Netflix released all 13 episodes of House of Cards on Feb. 1, and almost immediately the political thriller became one of TV's most addictive dramas. Most viewers watch multiple episodes in one sitting, and fans share stories of lapping up the entire season in just a few days. Kevin Spacey stars as Frank Underwood, a crafty politician bent on revenge, with Robin Wright as his cunning wife, Claire. House of Cards was adapted by executive producer Beau Willimon from a BBC series; Willimon is a recovering politico, having worked on several campaigns before turning to writing. He took time out from working on Season 2 to tell us why we should start playing House of Cards.
TV Guide Magazine: I've got time to watch one more show. Tell me why it should be yours.
Beau Willimon: You sound far too busy. Take a sick day. Sleep in. Call your mother. Then log in to Netflix and check out House of Cards. You don't even have to get out of bed. You can watch it on your phone. It's diabolical and delicious, and Kevin Spacey talks directly to you! He'll haunt your dreams...in a good way.
TV Guide Magazine: Who should be watching?
Willimon: Everyone, of course. And their extended families. And their pets. You might have heard that our show is a "political drama," but it's not just for political junkies. The show is really about power. We all experience power struggles in our lives — at the workplace, with our friends, in our love lives. In a way, we're all politicians. That's what makes our show universal. It's about people navigating one another to get what they want, and we can all relate to that. Our characters are probably just a little more ruthless than you are...or a lot.
TV Guide Magazine: What happens if we don't watch?
Willimon: When people ask you what episode you're on, you'll have to say, "I haven't started watching yet." Then they'll glower at you with pity or disgust, or both, and who wants that?
TV Guide Magazine: What's the best thing anyone has said or written about your show?
Willimon: When my mom finished watching all 13, she called me. She was crying, she was so proud. Nothing beats that. Sometimes the best scenes don't have any dialogue, they just have tears. (I also breathed a sigh of relief that she didn't disown me for having such a dark, twisted mind.)
TV Guide Magazine: What's the worst thing?
Willimon: My own neuroses generate more scathing criticism than anyone could ever sling my way. The flaws keep me awake at night. I'm always seeing ways I could have improved a scene or lamenting a lost opportunity in the storytelling. The flip side is that it motivates me make Season 2 even better than Season 1.
TV Guide Magazine: Who was right?
Willimon: Moms are always right. Despite my neuroses, I'm proud of our show. I think it's good, and our fans seem to agree.
TV Guide Magazine: What's an alternate title for your show?
Willimon: Had David Hasselhoff played Francis Underwood we might have called it Binge-watch. It's okay, you can groan. Puns make me ill too. (No offense to The Hoff, but thank heaven and hell we got Spacey. The show wouldn't be worth doing without him.)
TV Guide Magazine: What Washington and Hollywood figures is Frank Underwood he modeled after?
Willimon: Two scoops of LBJ with a dash of Richard III and a pinch of Hannibal Lecter.