Jayne Atkinson Q&A: ‘House of Cards’

“You never know who’s going to get thrown under the subway on the show” admits a relieved Jayne Atkinson as we chat (watch above) about her biggest season yet on “House of Cards.” For four seasons, she has played Secretary of State Catherine Durant on the political drama. This season, she was in the running to be the Vice Presidential candidate for Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey). Regarding this breakout arc, the actress readily admits, “I was thrilled and didn’t expect it. I thought I was going to stay on the periphery more. It was very important to me about having Catherine being very strong with him. It showed that I was a worthy opponent. He couldn’t really take out a card to pull me down,  except to show what a monster he is.”

Eventually, Durant was tossed aside in favour of his wife, Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). That led to a chilling Oval Office confrontation between Durant and Frank in the tenth episode of the season. “When you work with someone of that caliber it just brings out the best in you. We rehearsed the power dynamics and there were a few lines that got added in. Then we did a few takes and Kevin just nailed it.  It wasn’t hard to feel scared.”

Atkinson reveals, “My favorite other scene of the four years was the beer pong scene,” in which Durant and Claire play a late night game in the White House executive residence. “That was so much fun. I got to be a little drunk, a little silly and you got to hear a little sass. When you play such a staid person, it was wonderful to have that outlet.”

The actress is married to Michel Gill who played President Walker for the first two seasons of the show. She recalls, “when we first got there, people didn’t know we were married. Robin had no idea. In fact, they had a picture of us behind his desk of the oval office. He had to go to the art department and say: ‘That’s the Secretary of State, I don’t think I’m married to her.’”

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UPLOADED May 23, 2016 11:15 am