Sources say production has been shut down for two weeks (and potentially longer) to give the staff more time to rework a final season that had been almost completely plotted out.
The future for Netflix’s House of Cards may be coming into sharper focus.
A day after several employees on the Kevin Spacey drama accused the star of inappropriate behavior, sources say the writing staff on the political series is actively reworking the sixth and final season to write the actor out of the show. Netflix declined comment.
Sources note that season six was almost entirely written before Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp went public Oct. 29 with allegations that Spacey made unwanted sexual advances toward him in 1986 — when Spacey was 26 and Rapp was 14. Production on the first two episodes had already been completed and a table read for episode three was on the schedule. Netflix and producers Media Rights Capital said they were “deeply troubled” by Rapp’s claim and traveled to the show’s Maryland set to ensure cast and crew felt safe and supported.
Production on season six was suspended a day later. Sources say that the shutdown will last for two weeks — and possibly longer — to provide the writing staff time to rework the season and write Spacey’s Frank Underwood out of the show. Writing out Spacey — who also serves as an exec producer on the drama — is one of the options being considered, with a total shutdown a lesser possibility.
“They shut it down to figure out how to write him out,” one well-placed source tells The Hollywood Reporter of the behind-the-scenes drama that ushered Netflix into the lucrative scripted originals space. While Netflix announced that season six of House of Cards would be its last, sources stress that decision had been made during the summer — ahead of Spacey’s allegations — that the upcoming episodes were always intended be the show’s conclusion.
Writing Spacey out of House of Cards would not be a stretch. In the Michael Dobbs book that inspired the Netflix series, Frank’s character dies. Meanwhile, speculation has been growing in the wake of the Spacey allegations that star Robin Wright, who plays Frank’s wife, Claire, could become the show’s centerpiece.
Netflix, meanwhile, has no timeline on a formal decision about the future of House of Cards. The streaming giant is also considering House of Cards spinoffs as it mulls the future of the franchise. “We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the production, and have nothing further to share at this time,” Netflix said in a statement Thursday.
Media Rights Capital is co-owned by Eldridge Industries, which also owns THR.