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House of Cards’ Robin Wright: ‘a female American President is overdue’

Robin Wright believes it’s time America had its first female President.

The actress, in London to promote the third season of the acclaimed US political drama House of Cards, was asked if the US was ready for a woman in the Oval Office. “Yeah, I think it’s overdue,” she replied.

The 48-year-old, nominated for two Emmy Award nominations for her role in the programme as Claire Underwood, the Machiavellian wife of Kevin Spacey’s newly elected President, Frank Underwood, continued: “It’s a new way of thinking. We’ve always had gentlemen, and that is the different side of the brain, isn’t it?

“We have 21 members of senate that are female, and apparently they solved a crisis together – they decided to sit around a table and come up with ideas together, and they mastered it in less than 90 minutes. They used this as a study in school. Women are very communal and the study showed that men are much more combative and egomaniacal and ‘my way or the highway’ in a group setting. And that is why nothing f—— gets through congress.”

Wright, who shot to prominence as the title character of the 1987 film The Princess Bride and received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Robert Zemeckis’s Forrest Gump in 1995, described herself as a “feminist”, and said there is still very much a gender “imbalance”. “The word ‘demand’ is a tricky word when used by our gender,” she said. “When used by men, it’s part of their vernacular.”

Kevin Spacey, whose portrayal of the imperious, manipulative Frank Underwood won him a Golden Globe, was in the mood to talk politics, too. “I’m not bothered about people asking about my politics,” he said. “I am a Democrat, I’ve always been a Democrat, I support my President, and people attack me for doing that.”

A scene in the new season shows Underwood spitting on a Jesus Christ statue in a church. Asked if he thought America was ready for an openly atheist President, Spacey, 55, replied: “Could there someday be a President who has a different point of view to a traditional one? Sure.”

Despite being close friends with President Bill Clinton, Spacey insisted that he hasn’t based his character on any real-life politicians. “There are no parallels,” he said. “[Clinton’s] never worried about what he says to me.”

The Netflix drama, which became the first internet-only series to win an Emmy Award, is a remake of the celebrated 1990 BBC series, which was adapted by Andrew Davies from a Michael Dobbs novel and starred Ian Richardson as the chief whip and political schemer Francis Urquhart.

Spacey, a two-time Oscar winner for The Usual Suspects and American Beauty, was asked how much influence he has over his character now. “I have an incredible relationship with Beau Willimon, who is our show-runner,” he said. “I think ‘influence’ is a really dangerous word – that makes it sound like I can say ‘I want this’ and ‘I want that’. That’s not at all what it’s like; it is a collaborative effort, in which Beau and I challenge each other and throw ideas down.”

He added: “There is a tremendous amount of elasticity in the way he and I work together. I don’t write, but sometimes I can feel what is trying to be accomplished and I can see where it is missing something.”

The show, whose three seasons are available on Netflix, is likely to return for a fourth run, although Spacey said he was still “waiting to find out”.

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