DETAILS: As Claire Underwood, the wife of Kevin Spacey's conniving congressman on House of Cards, you make Lady MacBeth look like a piker. Some call her fierce, some sadistic. What do you call her?
ROBIN WRIGHT: I liked the way [executive producer] David Fincher described her to me: strong, calculating, Machiavellian. He said, "You have to contain all of those adjectives in a marble bust." If Claire's moving or flailing, she loses her foundation. It's like martial arts—you have to keep your center solid or you'll be knocked over.
DETAILS: What do you think is the scariest part of the character?
ROBIN WRIGHT: There's a cadence to her speech—soothing but foreboding—that reminds me of a metronome. The clock is ticking, time is wasting, and if you don't do what Claire wants, you're gone.
DETAILS: In perhaps your most infamous scene so far, Claire gives her husband's dying bodyguard a hand job after he professes his love—while she explains her preference for more powerful men.
ROBIN WRIGHT: The most humiliating aspect of that scene was that she removed her hand just before he climaxes. Ha! Lesson learned, boys: Don't fuck with Claire!
DETAILS: You once referred to Hollywood as a mafia. which is more ruthless, Washington or L.A.?
ROBIN WRIGHT: After doing this show? D.C., you win!
DETAILS:You're 47, and Your fiancé, actor Ben Foster, is 33. Does it annoy you to be referred to as a cougar?
ROBIN WRIGHT: Am I?
DETAILS: The word has come up.
ROBIN WRIGHT: You know, I deliberately don't read anything about myself for that reason.
DETAILS: Career cage match: The Plucky Princess Bride versus cunning Claire Underwood—Who wins?
ROBIN WRIGHT: My instinct is to say Claire, but you never know, right? We've seen a lot of young girls in Hollywood turn into beasts.
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