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Sebastian Arcelus Talks Uncovering Political Secrets on His 'Thrilling' New Series House of Cards

Sebastian Arcelus Talks Uncovering Political Secrets on His 'Thrilling' New Series House of Cards
Sebastian Arcelus in 'House of Cards'
'It’s interesting to play a character who is an idealist.'

Sebastian Arcelus has some dirt on the president. Worry not, Mr. Obama: the Elf and Jersey Boys alum plays Lucas Goodwin, deputy editor at the fictional Washington Herald, in Netflix’s new Kevin Spacey-led original series House of Cards. Penned by playwright Beau Willimon (Farragut North), the show's first season will be available for streaming on the site beginning February 1.

“It’s all about the intricacies of how a political chameleon weaves his way through the upper echelon of the political world,” Arcelus told of the series, which follows Francis Underwood (Spacey), a spurned congressman plotting revenge after being passed over by the president for a key cabinet position. “You see the real underbelly of political machination. It’s remarkably put together and was thrilling to be a part of.”

Ready to expose the president’s secrets, Underwood allies himself with a young reporter (Kate Mara), who works under Arcelus’ character. “He’s a purist,” Arcelus says of the newsman. “He’s one of those guys who grew up with a real appreciation of the noble task of journalism. It’s interesting to play a character who is an idealist. On one hand he believes in an ethical and moral standard that should be met, but simultaneously there’s a whole new world grating against that sensibility, which is the 24-hour news cycle.”

Playing a political reporter isn’t quite a stretch for Arcelus. “When I was young I flirted with the idea of a career in journalism on one hand and politics on the other,” said Arcelus, who received a degree in political science from Williams College and even spent a summer volunteering at the D.C. headquarters for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. “Once I started acting full time, that part of me was never extinguished, so to come into a series where you get to toy with all those interests and desires is a joy.” 

While Arcelus doesn’t share screen time with Spacey, he was thrilled to work with the show’s director and executive producer, Oscar-nominated Social Network helmer David Fincher. “He’s an astonishing man, and so intelligent and gifted in his craft. I loved every second in the room with him.”

Watch the trailer for House of Cards below!

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