Beau Willimon is the creator and showrunner of “House of Cards.” He was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay for “The Ides of March.” Now he’s world-premiering his play “Breathing Time,” which runs through April 13 at Teatro Iati, a tiny theater in downtown Manhattan.
Why a little production from fledgling Fault Line Theater?
I liked the idea of doing it in an intimate setting. We seat 70 people at a time. Every seat will be a good one, which is the right way to do a play like this. It’s about loss and how we contend with it.
Have your roots as a playwright influenced your screenwriting?
Theater is dialogue-driven, and film is visually driven. But TV is somewhere in between: It’s filmic, but the best of television tends to be more character-based, because you’re spending 13 episodes at a time with these people.
Has your screenwriting informed how you write plays?
There’s an economy to screenwriting (that’s) definitely improved my playwriting. Even in a 55-page scene in a play, you want every moment to pack a wallop.
Your “House of Cards” writers’ room is in New York. Why?
New York feeds you. Sometimes when you’re stuck in a tough moment in a script, New York can unexpectedly give you the answer.
Working on any plays now?
I’m always working on a couple of plays in various stages. If I didn’t, I’d go bonkers. It’s my first love. You find an hour or you dedicate a Saturday. The fact that “House of Cards” gets me up at 6 or 7 every morning, it’s in my bones now to write every day.