“It changed my life in so many ways” says Michael Kelly about playing Doug Stamper for the entire run of Netflix’s flagship series “House of Cards.” Watch our exclusive video interview where he adds “about one month into filming Season 1 my son was born. I have a real reference to my life over that span.”
The sixth season closed out the history making series that has picked up an impressive 46 Emmy nominations (winning 7). However the series almost didn’t get a final act. Right when filming was about to commence, sexual assault allegations against the show’s leading man Kevin Spacey threatened an abrupt end to the drama. Production was ultimately resumed after that actor was fired.
Kelly reveals that returning to the set “was difficult in many ways for me to wrap my head around. I was in almost every scene with that guy for a long time. It was almost like going back to a different show. But you had that crew and Robin Wright and the writers and everyone who grounded it. There was such a sense of relief and gratitude. I can’t imagine the pressure the writers were under. Everyone agreed we had to finish it. To finish this story. When you look back ‘House of Cards’ was the first original program streaming for Netflix. And now the whole TV landscape has completely changed.”
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE FINALE:
Wright’s character, Claire Underwood, assumed the role of President for the final season. Kelly’s character, Doug, became her adversary to protect the legacy of the previous Commander-In-Chief. The very last scene of the series saw an intense showdown where Claire kills Doug in the Oval Office.
When he first read that scene, he reveals, “I was scared, it was heavy. But I was also grateful to be given the challenge. So many people have different opinions about the end. I kinda wanted to see Doug win. He was a complicated, troubled man with an unwavering loyalty that ultimately cost him in the end. There was something that felt really good about closing that chapter. Especially with such finality for him.”
It also closed the potential of a Doug Stamper spin-off series that Kelly admits “we went pretty far down the road on. It was really interesting concept. But I kind of like that the character had such closure. My chapter’s closed and that feels kind of good.”
Kelly has received three Emmy nominations for this role. Looking back on his time, he will miss “the solitude. When I was there working, I made a point to give myself quiet time. Not saying a word to anyone. Not getting on the phone or computer. Just being in my apartment. Not saying I was method or lived it; just an hour every day of nothingness. I miss the peace and solitude of that. It sort of helped me get into that guy’s head. But more than anything I’ll miss that family we had.”
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