“Look, for me it’s like performance art, you know,” he said. “We can get done shooting on a day, and I’ll come home and turn on the news and I’ll think, ‘You know, our storylines are not that crazy. They’re really not.'”
Host George Stephanopoulos pointed out that President Barack Obama had joked about Underwood, Spacey’s character, a conniving House majority whip who is vying for higher spots in Washington.
“I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient,” Obama said in December. “I was looking at Kevin Spacey, I was thinking, ‘Man, this guy is getting a lot of stuff done.'”
Spacey agreed with Stephanopoulos’ assessment that Obama had “Francis Underwood envy.”
“I can imagine why he would. I’ve thought actually over the last year it must be really interesting for not just an American public, but people around the world to view a very effective Congress that gets things done,” Spacey said. “And so I can imagine he must feel, ‘Gosh, I wish we could move that quickly.'”
He joked that people have told him the show is 99 percent accurate “and that the 1 percent that isn’t is that you could never get an education bill passed that fast.”
Spacey said he shadowed real-life House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in the Capitol to study the role, adding that McCarthy was “very generous” to him. But Spacey said it was hard to envy McCarthy, given his regular dealings with the tea party and divisions among House Republicans.
“It’s particularly interesting for him, because there are so many new members of Congress who were sort of brought in, in the Tea Party and ‘we’re going to fight against Washington and we’re not going to do it the usual way,’ that it’s very difficult to harangue 218 congressman to vote a particular way you want them to vote,” Spacey said. “So I don’t envy him the position. It’s not easy.”