The Smithsonian Associates presents an evening with Beau Willimon, the mastermind behind the popular Netflix series, House of Cards, Thursday, June 19, at 6:45 p.m. in Baird Auditorium at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. In a conversation with culture reporter and “Media Equation” columnist David Carr of The New York Times, Willimon will discuss his inspiration behind the series, its influence on the future of television and how closely his plotlines parallel what really happens behind closed doors in Washington.
As creator, showrunner and executive producer, Willimon has spent the past four years obsessively writing and rewriting each episode, paying the utmost attention to every detail. According to Willimon, House of Cards is all about power—both personal and political—and how the two intersect. The show has been described as “Shakespearean” in its depiction of political duplicity, and Kevin Spacey’s Congressman Francis Underwood often directly addresses viewers in a way that echoes nasty Richard III’s asides to the audience. The critically praised show has also made television history, earning nine Emmy nominations, including “Best Drama”—the first online streaming show to be so recognized.
House of Cards stands out in the crowd of recent political television dramas. Based on a BBC miniseries and novel by Michael Dobbs, the show has not only changed the way Americans view television—Netflix releases an entire season at once—but also how they view their government. When the second season was released Feb. 14 this year, fans binged on episode after episode of the dark and cynical portrayal of Washington power players.
Willimon is also the author of the play Farragut North, the basis for the Academy Award-nominated screenplay for Ides of March, co-written with George Clooney and Grant Heslov. In addition to his career as a writer and producer, Willimon worked on a number of political campaigns, including Chuck Schumer’s 1998 Senate race, Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential race, Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate race and Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential race.
Ticket prices for the Smithsonian Associates’ presentation are $30 for general admission and $25 for Associate members. For tickets and information, the public may call (202) 633-3030 or visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.