June 03, 2017

Joel talked with The Hollywood Reporter about the new season of House of Cards, his character, Will Conway, and how the season shares political parallels with the real-life U.S. elections. Just a heads up that this entire interview contains major spoilers!

This season Will’s arc is a bit more emotional and rather devastating. What mind set did you get into the role this time around? 

I really settled into the role during the fifth season. It’s always a good experience to come back to a role. When I jumped on House of Cards on season four, I was supposed to have five weeks in between Suicide Squad and House of Cards, but since we went over schedule on Suicide Squad, I ended up having five days in between. I really had to just jump in so when I came back I felt like I settled in. It’s the same thing you get at the end of a film; often you really know the character. That’s what’s nice with doing TV you get the chance to revisit and to let it marinate. [For] Will’s arc in this round, we go much deeper with him. You get to go to his dark place. In season four, it’s more of portraying this worthy opponent [to Frank] in a way. In here, it’s actually more fun to play a character that’s unraveling and we get to peel the layers off and see what’s under the facade.

It’s also interesting with this kind of character that is so polished and that is so much playing a role in his own life and when his narrative isn’t playing out the way he wants, then everything starts to crumble.

Going into season five, how early on did you know how his story would end?

[Showrunners] Melissa [James Gibson] and Frank [Pugliese] told me straight-up way before we started shooting how they envisioned the arc of the character. I thought it was a great idea. It was fun for me and Dominique [McElligott]. They [are] this perfect couple and have this perfect facade where you feel that the image that they are showing to the world. People that are too keen on showing how perfect they are they usually aren’t that perfect and it was really fun for us together to get to play that unraveling. You get to see that actually [Hannah] might have been the more genuine and sincere person and when the game had to be played on such a deep level to be won, she was the one that pulled the plug and [said], “I can’t live like this.” And then they broke.

Frank and Melissa spoke about this season showing the blur between entertainment and politics. How did your character, with his use of social media, the live webcasts, etc., help further that? And why is his story a cautionary one?

Considering where we are now where we have a president that is so flippant with his social media and uses any whim that he gets he will communicate that to the world and conduct the nuclear level diplomacy with his Twitter account we see the dangers of that. (Laughs.) Someone needs to tell that schmuck to stop using his Twitter account to conduct diplomacy with North Korea. He’s going to start a nuclear war because he’s in a bad mood.

You personally wrapped filming before the election was over, but what were the conversations on set while the election was taking place?

We were shooting [during] the conventions. There was awhile there when the “Never Trump” movement was gaining steam and there were Republican fractions that were talking about stopping the delegates from voting for Trump. I thought it was going to be another case of House of Cards predicting the future. There were times where I was wondering maybe we need to go even crazier here because reality is so insane. And everyone who was watching the election was asking themselves, “Is this real life? Is this really happening?” And that feeling hasn’t subsided. It’s still very present. (Laughs.)

Read the full interview over at The Hollywood Reporter.

May 03, 2017

Check out the full promo for the new season of House of Cards below! You can also find two high-quality stills in our gallery.

April 10, 2016

I have updated the gallery with 5 high-quality stills from the fourth season of House of Cards.

Joel appears in the fourth season of House of Cards as Governor Will Conway. You can now find high-resolution screencaps in our gallery!


March 09, 2016

Just a warning that the following interview by The Hollywood Reporter contains spoilers from the fourth season of House of Cards

Will is about making videos, taking selfies, and using social media to appeal to his voters. How do you think his character reflects the current presidential candidates in the real life election where they’re active on Twitter and Snapchat?

This election is just crazy, more unpredictable than anyone could have imagined. What we’re portraying in this show with social media playing a bigger part to appeal to a younger demographic in the way he’s promoting himself and what they both have in common is what previously kind of was perceived as something that was beneath a presidential candidacy. I think this presidential campaign we’re seeing especially on the Republican side, there’s very few things left that we ever thought we were going to see in a presidential election. After we seen a presidential candidate implying how big his dick is, I think there’s not much left for shock value.

Do you think there are parallels with your character and any of the candidates? Or any other characters?

I think there are more parallels with Donald Trump and [former Prime Minister of Italy] Silvio Berlusconi than anyone else. He’s just his own entity because he’s just a reality star that’s now a presidential candidate. In the ways that Will is using social media, I mean all the candidates use Twitter, but Trump uses it more.

Your addition to the show was pretty tight-lipped. What were the logistics to you joining the series?

It’s like anything when you go into a project, you have to follow the lead of the production and the publicity side of that and how they want to promote it. As many things as I’ve done before, you go into it and you keep it quiet and under wraps and sort of leak the information when everybody feels it’s the right timing. It was an amazing experience with Kevin, and Robin [Wright] and particularly Beau Willimon who I just think is a brilliant, brilliant man. I just had a lot of fun working with the material and also coming to a set and a creative space where there were some pages that we got, but then it was all a creative process that I was invited to participate in and help create the character and give input.

How did Beau bring you on to do the show?

He called my people up and asked if I wanted to be a part of it. Then we started talking about it and I made the decision to join.

What drew you to the role and to join the series?

I loved the show. I think it’s one of the best shows on television, if not the best, and I was a real fan of it, but it was definitely the character and the role. You know there are a lot of roles on phenomenal TV shows that I wouldn’t want to do anyway, but this was something that I thought was special and it was an opportunity to play with Kevin. It was a very fun character.

What scenes were your favorite to film?

I really enjoyed the scenes I had with Kevin. We had, during the Democratic Convention and the scenes we had in this little room — that was a lot of fun. Even though they would get spaced out over a whole episode it came down to a 15-page scene that we shot continuously. It was like we were doing a little mini-TV play, just me and him in that room. He’s such an amazing actor and this character is something he completely embodies. It was like a sparring match and I think we both really enjoyed ourselves in that.

Where do you hope Will goes in season five?

We’ll just have to find out. I mean I have a contract for a few episodes, but we’ll see what happens.

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