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凯文·史派西谈《纸牌屋》

更新时间:2014-2-28 15:27:17 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Kevin Spacey Talks About 'House of Cards'
凯文·史派西谈《纸牌屋》

In Season 1 of the inside-the-Beltway drama 'House of Cards,' fictitious Congressman Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) carried on a quid pro quo affair with a young journalist and baited a political ally with a prostitute and then killed him, all in service to his bottomless ambition: to be one heartbeat away from the presidency.

The series was a huge risk for the streaming service Netflix -- and not just because Mr. Spacey's character broke the vaunted 'fourth wall' and talked directly to the audience. It cost more than $100 million to produce the first two seasons.

But like Mr. Underwood, 'House of Cards' ultimately triumphed. Helped by the success of the first season, as well as other original programs that followed, Netflix added 2.3 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2013, bringing its total in the U.S. to 33.4 million -- more than HBO. 'House of Cards' was also a critical sensation, winning three primetime Emmys and a Golden Globe. The second batch of 13 episodes will be released Feb. 14.

The two-time Academy Award winner, 54, is getting ready to leave his post as the artistic director of London's storied Old Vic Theater next year, to focus more on film and television projects, as well as his eponymous foundation, which supports aspiring actors around the world. Edited excerpts from a recent conversation:

WSJ: Frank Underwood ended last season having achieved what was a surprising goal, getting named Vice President. A lot of critics said -- after all those lies, a murder, this was his objective? Vice president?

A: I don't give two s---s about what other people think.

WSJ: I can't help but suspect that he has a more sinister agenda here, which was hinted at in the Season 2 trailer. Frank conspiratorially tells the audience that 'democracy is so overrated,' because he ascended to the vice presidency without a single vote.

A: I am going to be very circumspect because I do not want to discuss where the show's going. I think in Season 2 there will be a lot of intrigue and surprises and things people won't expect.

WSJ: A lot of your most memorable characters have been these complex villains -- do you prefer playing unconventional bad guys?

A: I started out doing stand-up comedy, so I do lots of things that are very funny. Only two years ago did I tackle 'Richard III,' which is the first Shakespearean villain I have ever taken on in my career. So it's not about what I prefer or that I go out and pursue these things specifically because I want to be the Machiavellian guy.

WSJ: Did you ever expect that your keynote speech last year at the Edinburgh International Television Festival -- in which you said that appointment television was over -- would go so viral?

A: There are a lot of things I said in that speech that I had been thinking for a long time. The fact that [business] models are changing, companies that have made gazillions of dollars providing portholes for content, that if they were going to compete, were going to end up making original content. One of the reasons it went viral is because nobody in my position had said it in such a public way before.

WSJ: Do you know how many of Netflix's subscribers watch 'House of Cards'?

A: Even if I knew I couldn't tell you anything more than Netflix is willing to tell. All the conversations that occurred after we announced our deal, people were saying, 'They'll never make their money back! Crazy!' In actual fact, all that Netflix had to do to break even on that deal was to get 565,000 more members. So the fact that they now have brought in more members than HBO and a significant amount of new members this year, I would say it's been very cost effective.

WSJ: Your priorities seem to have changed in your career as you attained a certain level of success. When did that happen?

A: I think that it was right around the time I went back to London in 1998 to do 'The Iceman Cometh.' I came back to America after that and shot 'American Beauty' [for which he won his second Oscar]. I was kind of feeling like the 12-year plan of 'put on the blinders and try to build a film career' had gone better than I could have ever possibly hoped. And there was something happening to me inside. I didn't want to spend 10 years pursuing the same dream so doggedly with my own ambition about myself. I didn't want to be one of those guys on the 'Top 10' lists.

WSJ: That's when the Old Vic job came up?

A: When the Old Vic sort of happened, I had dreamed my whole life about running a theater. I had no idea how to do it, and literally started from scratch in a dressing room with me and a producer and a phone in 2003. Everything I could have hoped it could have been in terms of refocusing me, putting some distance between a career -- the silliness and stuff on the outside -- I was glad to take a moment and make a left turn and put some perspective on my life and career.

WSJ: Do you plan on making more movies when you leave the Old Vic?

A: Lord knows, 'House of Cards,' if it continues, requires a tremendous amount of my focus and time. I want to do more films. I want to direct more. I want to do more music. [He sang all his own songs in the 2004 movie 'Beyond the Sea.'] There are a lot of things I'll have time to do that I just simply haven't had time to do.

WSJ: President Obama recently said he likes 'House of Cards,' but that it portrays a Washington that is far more efficient than it is in reality. Would you agree with that?

A: I think that as time goes on, people and historians have an opportunity to look back on political figures in this country, who, maybe during their ascendancy or during their years in power were perceived as ruthless sons of bitches. Yet, you can look at some of those figures now and realize yeah, that's all true, but they got a lot done. I do think there's something very interesting about an American public viewing a fictional Congress that is very effective at a time when we have a Congress that is not effective.

WSJ: Do you have any political ambitions yourself?

A: No, and I'll tell you why. When I look back at my own life and my own experiences it's quite clear I like to get s--- done. Part of my job at the Old Vic is that I am like a facilitator. I bring people together, and choose the right elements to tell a story. I think I would hate being in politics because I would be so frustrated by the fact that you just can't do it. Instead of saying 'This is a good idea' and 'Let's make this work' there's obstructionism.

WSJ: You're originally from New Jersey -- what do you think of this Chris Christie bridge-gate situation? The story sounds like it could have been in an episode of 'House of Cards.'

A: I will say that there were many times during Season 1 and many times during Season 2 where I'd be watching what would happen in politics and this and that and I'd think to myself 'our story lines really are not that crazy.'
WSJ: Is it true that you sent Woody Allen, perhaps the least technologically savvy person in the world, a Netflix subscription?

A: I admire Woody Allen so much. I was at a point where every time he announces a new movie, I never get an audition and nobody ever calls me to come in. I was like, 'You know what? I am going to just write Woody Allen.' So, I introduced myself and sent him a Netflix subscription and said 'I don't know if you've seen my work, but you might want to watch this series.' He wrote me back a warm and wonderful letter, and thanked me for the Netflix. He said he'd seen me play lots of different roles and said he absolutely would consider me in a film.

WSJ: What kind of role would you want to play in one of his movies?

A: I would be delighted and honored to do anything he might come up with. I am not the kind of actor who covets parts. What I like is when a director says to me, 'I want to see you do this role.' I would never have come up with doing 'Richard II.' But Trevor Nunn wanted to see me play that role. The thing that put it over the top for me was that he had never directed a production of that play. So I thought, 'How incredible that we can both have our first experience doing 'Richard II' together, as opposed to me being his seventh Richard II.' So that's why I did that play. It was an incredible experience. I had to convincingly play an English king. It's much more interesting when things don't come easy.

在华府宫斗大戏《纸牌屋》(House of Cards)第一季里,凯文·史派西(Kevin Spacey)饰演的国会议员弗兰克·安德伍德(Frank Underwood)跟一位年轻的记者发生了一段各有所图的关系,还用一名妓女引诱一位政治同盟上钩,然后杀死了他,这一切都服务于他深不可测的野心:坐上总统旁边的位置。

对于流媒体服务商Netflix来讲,播出这部连续剧冒了很大的风险──不仅是因为史派西的角色打破了被人夸耀的“第四堵墙”,直接跟观众对话。头两季的制作耗资便超过了一亿美元。

但和安德伍德一样,《纸牌屋》最后胜利了。由于第一季以及后来的其他原创节目取得成功,2013年第四季度 Netflix的订户增加了230万,美国订户总数达3,340万,超过HBO。《纸牌屋》在评论界也引起了轰动,赢得三个黄金时段艾美奖和一个金球奖。第二季共13集,已于2月14日播出。

现年54岁、两度获得奥斯卡奖的史派西准备在明年辞去赫赫有名的伦敦老维克剧院(Old Vic Theater)的艺术总监的职务,把更多精力放在电影和电视项目,以及支持全世界胸怀抱负演员的以他名字命名的基金会上面。以下是经过编辑的近期对史派西的访谈:

《华尔街日报》:上一季结束时,弗兰克·安德伍德实现了一个出人意料的目标,即荣登副总统宝座。很多评论家说,经过这么多谎言和一桩谋杀案之后,难道这就是他的目标?副总统?

史派西:我才不管别人怎么想呢。

《华尔街日报》:我不由得猜想他在这里有着一个更加邪恶的企图,这在第二季片花里面已经有暗示。弗兰克充满深意地跟观众说,“大家对民主的评价太高了”,因为他不经任何选举就上升到了副总统的职位。

史派西:我可得非常小心了,因为我不想讨论戏演到了什么地方。我认为第二季会有很多阴谋诡计和意外,以及人们不会料到的事情。

《华尔街日报》:在你饰演的让人难忘的角色当中,有很多都是这种复杂的反面角色──你是不是喜欢扮演非常规的坏人?

史派西:我最开始是表演单口喜剧的,所以我做的很多事情都是非常有趣的。两年前我才接演《理查三世》(Richard III),那是我从艺以来扮演的第一个莎士比亚反面角色。所以说不是我喜欢演什么,也不是因为我想饰演马基雅维利主义者的形象而专门去追求这些东西。

《华尔街日报》:去年你在爱丁堡国际电视节(Edinburgh International Television Festival)发表的主旨演讲,说守着电视机看电视(appointment television)的时代已经结束了。有没有料到这篇演讲会如此走红?

史派西:我在那次演讲里面说到的很多东西,之前都思考过很长时间。我说到商业模式正在变化,说到有些公司提供内容通道赚了不少钱,如果它们要跟别人竞争,终究会制作原创内容。它走红的原因之一,是因为之前没有谁在我那样的位置上如此公开地将这些表达出来。

《华尔街日报》:你是否知道Netflix订户当中有多少人在看《纸牌屋》?

史派西:即使我知道,Netflix不愿意说的我也不会告诉你。我们公布交易之后,大家都在说:“他们怎么也回不了本!疯了!”事实上Netflix只需要增加56.5万名会员,交易就回了本。所以,鉴于他们现在的会员数量超过HBO,且今年增加了不少的新会员,我认为这笔买卖还是非常划算的。

《华尔街日报》:在取得一定程度的成功之后,你职业生涯中的重点似乎也变了。是在什么时候变的?

史派西:我想大概是在1998年回伦敦出演《冰人未了》(The Iceman Cometh)的时候。在那之后我回到美国拍摄《美国丽人》(American Beauty,他藉此获得第二个奥斯卡奖)。我感觉“一门心思在电影行业做出一番事业”的12年计划完全比我预料的顺利。我内心的想法也有了一些变化。我有自己的抱负,不想10年时间都在顽固地追逐同样的梦想。我不想成为各种“10大排行榜”上的人之一。

《华尔街日报》:于是就有了老维克的那个职务?

史派西:到老维克工作之前,我一辈子的梦想都是运营一家剧院。我不知道怎么做,2003年在一间化妆室开始做的时候,只有我、一名制作人和一部电话,确实是白手起家。我所希望的,可能只是找准自己的方向,在事业与外界的愚蠢等东西之间形成一定的距离──我乐于抽个空拐个弯,换个角度审视自己的人生和职业道路。

《华尔街日报》:你是否打算在离开老维克之后拍更多的影片呢?

史派西:天晓得。如果继续拍《纸牌屋》的话,我得花费大量的精力和时间。我想做更多的电影,我想导演更多的电影。我想做更多的音乐。(2004年电影《飞跃海洋》(Beyond the Sea)里他所饰演角色的歌全都是他自己唱的。)我会有时间去做之前根本没有时间去做的很多事情。

《华尔街日报》:奥巴马总统最近说他喜欢《纸牌屋》,但《纸牌屋》里的华盛顿远比现实中的更有效率。你是这样认为吗?

史派西:我认为随着时间的推移,人们和历史学家将有机会回顾这个国家的政治人物。这些人在事业上升期或掌权期或许被视为无情的杂种。你现在可以看看其中的某些人,会发现这种看法一点没错,但他们做了很多实事。我倒是觉得,在国会效率低下的时候美国公众观看的是一个派系林立却又非常有效的国会,这事非常有意思。

《华尔街日报》:你自己有没有什么政治上的抱负?

史派西:没有。我来跟你说说为什么。回顾自己的人生、自己的经历的时候,相当明显,我喜欢干实事。我在老维克的一部分工作便是扮演促进者的角色。我把人凑齐,选择合适的元素来讲一个故事。我想我会讨厌涉身政治,因为办不了事情会让我非常沮丧。在政坛,人们不会说“这办法不错”、“就这么办吧”,而是去刻意阻挠。

《华尔街日报》:你出生在新泽西,对州长克里斯·克里斯蒂(Chris Christie)的“堵桥门”怎么看?这个故事听起来好像可以出现在《纸牌屋》的某一集里面。

史派西:这么说吧,在拍摄第一季的很多时候,在拍摄第二季的很多时候,我都会注意政坛将会发生什么,然后我心里面会想:“我们的故事情节还真没那么离奇。”

《华尔街日报》:你是不是给伍迪·艾伦(Woody Allen)订购了Netflix服务?他恐怕是世界上最不懂技术的人了。

史派西:我非常敬佩伍迪·艾伦。那个时候,每次他公布新片拍摄计划,我一个试镜的机会都没有,甚至都没有人打电话叫我去。我心想:“看着吧,我会给伍迪·艾伦去信的。”于是我做了自我介绍,给他订购了Netflix服务,并表示“我不知道你有没有看过我的作品,但还是看看这部连续剧吧”。他给我回了一封热情洋溢的信,感谢我给他订购Netflix服务。他说之前看过我扮演的很多不同角色,并表示肯定会考虑我参演某部片子。

《华尔街日报》:你希望在他的影片中扮演什么角色?

史派西:不管他给什么,我都会感到高兴、感到光荣。我不是那种特别想扮演某些角色的演员。我喜欢的是导演对我说,“我想让你演这个角色”。我本来是不会出演《理查二世》(Richard II)的,但特雷弗·纳恩(Trevor Nunn)想让我扮演一个角色。我唯一想到的是,他从来没有导过那部戏。所以我想,“如果我们两个人都通过一起做《理查二世》来获得第一次经验,而不是让我饰演他第七次执导的《理查二世》,那将是多么地不可思议。”这就是我演那部剧的原因。那是一段不可思议的经历。我必须让人信服地扮演一位英格兰国王。事情不容易做的时候,要有意思得多。

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