Beau Willimon, executive producer of “House of Cards,” refuses to tease any details about the third season, premiering on Netflix on Feb. 27, but he acknowledges the show’s changed dynamic, what with Frank Underwood having achieved the pinnacle of power in the final episode of season 2.
“It forces us to ask new questions,” Willimon tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “Once you have everything that you have achieved, what do you do? What do you do with that kind of power?
“We have seen him for the first two seasons climb to the top, and there you are atop Mount Everest, now what? You either stay there, or you start heading down, probably not voluntarily.”
Willimon does say that there will be more unexpected moments, perhaps on par with the out-of-the-blue threesome that Frank and Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) had with their Secret Service agent.
Willimon says he does watch real-world politics with an eye toward how figures are wielding power. After Democrats suffered stinging losses in the midterm elections, President Obama has announced plans for execution action on immigration and delivered a State of the Union address that gave little acknowledgment to who controlled Congress.
Willimon speculates that “there was a desire to show strength and resolve after taking a beating. Politics is theater. It is about perception.”
Willimon talks about President Obama after the midterms.
Willimon challenges notions that “House of Cards” reflects a time when more Americans have a cynical view of politics.
Willimon says audiences may root for Frank Underwood because they see “he is not evil in his own mind.” “There is a certain vicarious pleasure in seeing someone who is actually able to achieve something in Washington as opposed to being mired in the gridlock many of us must live through day to day.”
Playwright Eve Ensler (“The Vagina Monologues”) talks about One Billion Rising, the organization she founded to end violence against women around the world, via a movement for “global solidarity” on the issue and a day of action on Feb. 14. “We want revolution of the mindset of patriarchy, of consciousness. In some cases people [in other countries] want to oust their president. In some cases people want to change their families where abuse is rampant.”
Ensler talks about trying to keep hopeful in the face of horrific stories of violence against women in the news, like the Boko Haram terrorist kidnappings in Nigeria.
Ensler says artists have a responsibility to create “different ideas about what masculinity is.” “It is so easy to create box cut images of men who are violent, who are aggressive, who are dominant. We see them over and over again. It’s boring. What would a new man look like?”
On The Mix, Mary Murphy of USC and Nikki Schwab of U.S. News talk about the role of entertainment industry figures like Jenny McCarthy in driving the anti-vaccine movement, as well as plans among some celebrities to start to a draft-Elizabeth Warren effort.
PopPolitics, hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel 124.