Q&A: ‘House of Cards’ Creator Beau Willimon

Q&: 'House of Cards' Creator Beau
Adam Amengual for Variety

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.





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