Killing Frank Underwood? Producers are exploring several options for getting “House of Cards” back on track in the wake of sexual assault and harassment allegations against star Kevin Spacey.
One scenario being discussed is to kill off Spacey’s character, the villainous Frank Underwood, and have the show’s sixth and final season concentrate on his equally manipulative wife Claire, played by Robin Wright, according to insiders.
The Netflix series is produced by Media Rights Capital. The producers worry that the allegations against Spacey make moving forward with the actor untenable.
The likelihood he will continue to be involved dimmed this week after CNN published a report claiming that Spacey made the “House of Cards” set a “‘toxic work environment,” one in which he groped and propositioned them.
However, the producers are also cognizant of the fact that 300 cast and crew members are employed by the series and would be put out of work if the sixth season does not move forward. The feeling is that they did nothing wrong and should not be penalized for Spacey’s behavior.
The show has just started filming, so the sense is that Spacey’s character could be safely written out without too many logistical hurdles.
The idea to continue without Spacey may have picked up steam after actress Jessica Chastain tweeted “Can #RobinWright just be the lead of @HouseofCards now? We’re ready for it.”
The producers are currently poring over Spacey’s contract to see if they can legally move forward without him or if they are obligated to put him in the remaining episodes. Production on “House of Cards” season six was suspended on Tuesday, two days after actor Anthony Rapp alleged in an interview with Buzzfeed that Spacey had sexually assaulted him when the “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Rent” star was 14 years old.
On Thursday, Spacey was dropped as a client by CAA and his publicist, Staci Wolfe. On Friday, Scotland Yard opened an investigation into Spacey in response to an allegation that he sexually assaulted a male actor in London.
As they weigh their options for season six, Netflix and Media Rights Capital are also exploring a possible spinoff of “House of Cards.” As Variety reported Monday, the producer and the streaming service are developing multiple ideas for a new series taking place in the same narrative universe as “House of Cards,” including one concept revolving around Doug Stamper, the political aide-de-camp played by actor Michael Kelly, with Eric Roth set to write.