7 Questions with ‘House of Cards’ Star Michael Kelly: Emmy Contender Quickie

“If nominated, I’d lose my mind,” the man behind creepy Doug Stamper tells TheWrap

Michael Kelly

While Michael Kelly was counted among the “House of Cards” ensemble that received a Screen Actors Guild nomination in 2013, individually speaking, Hollywood may be a touch behind in honoring the show’s third lead.

The higher-billed Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright both have two Emmy nominations in as many seasons, but the man behind creepy Doug Stamper has been generally overlooked to date in terms of trophy opportunities.

TheWrap wanted to do our part to rectify that, and after we got up the nerve to talk to the spooky on-screen Chief of Staff, it turns out Kelly is a really nice guy. We also learned that he tried to talk Netflix out of its full-season episode dump strategy. Clearly, he got outvoted.

Read below to find out what else we squeezed out of Kelly for our Emmy Contender Quickie series.

TheWrap: What was the toughest thing you had to do this season?
Kelly: It was taking on the challenge of playing a completely different character than I played the two previous seasons, and all the prep work … just to learn about people who had TBI’s (Traumatic Brain Injuries), to learn about speech patterns with TBIs, to learn about the physicality, the cane, the way I was going to walk.

What was the most fun thing you got to do this season?
I think the most fun — and the worst at the same time — was the day that my children came and were in the show with me. I got to act with my daughter — she was five at the time — talk about a proud dad.

But it was really tough too, because you want to direct [them]. It was a really tough day. But when the day was over, my wife and I brought the two kids home and it was like, “Wow, they got to see what dad did.” That was really special.

Let’s assume that somebody has never seen your show. What would you say to persuade them to watch it?
Some people will be like, “Oh, I’m not that into politics.” I’m like, “It’s about power, not politics.” If you get off on power — you know, everybody can identify with power, no matter what end you’re on — that’s what the show at its real root is about. I always tell that to people, I’m like, “You’ll dig it, that’s why.” Because it’s really good.

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright aside, who else on your show deserves an Emmy nomination, and why?
So, obviously Kevin and Robin have gotten the recognition. I think that both of them deserve to win one, one year.

But I think, Rachel Brosnahan, I mean, that girl … what she did on that show — I just think that she’s such an amazing actress. And so young, she’s so good. Rachel Brosnahan is just a real talent.

Are you a binge-watcher or a once-a-weeker?
I don’t really watch a lot of television, but this year, I just ripped through “The Fall” in probably a few days. Jamie Dornan … that kid hit a home run. He was so good. Gillian [Anderson] was great. That’s just an incredible show.

It’s the only way I can do it … and I think it’s what Netflix saw. I remember asking them, “You sure you don’t want to do like seven and six?” They were like, “No, all 13 at once — that’s what the consumer wants.” It’s just the way it is today and Netflix was smart enough to jump on it first.

If you could add any new category to the Emmys, serious or silly, what would it be?
It’s a tough one, because it’s already such a long damn night. That could be my answer: “Isn’t the night long enough?”

If nominated, which episode would you submit and why?
If nominated, I’d lose my mind. I wouldn’t even know what to do — I would freak out. It feels so bizarre to even be in those conversations. It’s an incredible, stacked field … the supporting actors.

I don’t know, I’d probably call Beau Willimon — our writer/showrunner — and ask him. Or my publicist or my manager or somebody, I don’t know. I wouldn’t know which one! I’d have someone else ultimately make the decision I think.