Michael Kelly Q&A: ‘House of Cards’
“We’ve never been that tear-from-headlines show,” reveals Michael Kelly during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above) when asked how “House of Cards” can possibly compete with what’s going on in the real world of politics. “I think it’s great that the writers – even when filming an election during an election – were able to maintain and stay true to what that show is, regardless of what the current political climate is.” Kelly reaped his third consecutive Emmy bid as Best Drama Supporting Actor for playing Doug Stamper, the loyal-to-a-fault Chief of Staff to the corrupt and cunning President Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey).
Season five saw Doug’s steadfast devotion to his boss seriously tested when asked to take the fall for the murder of Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara). For Kelly, this was a major turning point because, “that is the one thing you cannot question about that man, is his loyalty to Francis.” As mysterious and remote as Doug has been, “I think that we’ve shown over the years that the one thing that gives this guy his drive, makes him tick, is the work. He loves that job, he loves being in the action, and he loves being by Frank’s side.” His dedication comes from the fact that he both, “thinks Frank is the best person to lead the country,” but also, “Frank’s pretty much the closest thing Doug has to someone he would consider family, as dysfunctional as that relationship is.”
In addition to Kelly’s three Emmy bids, he has also contended at the Screen Actors Guild as part of the show’s ensemble in 2015 and 2016. He competes this year against prior category nominees Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul”) and Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”), as well as previous Emmy champs John Lithgow (“The Crown”) and Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”) and first-time contenders Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”) and David Harbour (“Stranger Things”). Check out our full interview above for more about Kelly’s work on “House of Cards.”