Kevin Spacey on Politicians: 'I Don't Believe Them,' 'It's Performance Art'

On Tuesday, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show interviewed Kevin Spacey about his role on the Netflix original series House of Cards where he plays Frank Underwood, a ruthless House Majority Whip to the Democratic Party.

Stewart asked Spacey how he prepared for the role, including following around an actual House Whip. Spacey said:

I did. I followed Kevin McCarthy, but I also followed Steny Hoyer who's the Minority Whip. Kevin McCarthy is the Republican Majority Whip, so I followed him around for a while, he even invited me to a whip meeting, which was really interesting.

Spacey paused, and grinned as the audience laughed at his obvious attempt at double-entendre, to which Stewart responded saying, "Giuliani shut most of those places down." Stewart continued his questioning as follows:

Stewart: When you are that close to the power center of the country, do you feel the darkness? As an observer of it, it looks utterly corrupt and corrosive. When you're that close to it, what does it feel like?

Spacey: It feels like you are watching performance art. I don't believe them. I don't believe what they say. I don't think they are being absolutely sincere. I think it's performance art and most of them are bad actors.

Stewart: Would they ever drop the facade? Do you think it was a performance for your benefit or are they lying to themselves and each other?

Spacey: I think the often the delusion is very deep. It runs very deep.

Stewart: They believe in their heart what they are saying...

Spacey: Except for the ones that know they are full of sh*t.

Stewart: Give me a ballpark percentage.

Spacey: Actually, McCarthy said a very funny thing, and he said this publicly, he said it to me privately and later I was surprised he said it publicly. He said, 'If I could kill just one member of congress, I wouldn't have to worry about another vote,' and seven congressmen called him to say, 'am I the one you would kill? Is it me?' I thought it was a low number actually.

The frank, non-partisan "all politicians suck" stance Kevin Spacey took with Stewart arguably represents House of Cards' broad appeal on both sides of the aisle.