That duality reminds me a bit of your character. Connor is quite smarmy, but the audience can still perceive him as charming and someone they empathize with slightly. Was it difficult finding that balance when playing him?
No…you have to remember how unaware the character is. I think there is a line of professionalism, that as things get ramped up a little bit, and you get antagonized… you get more professional and dig deeper into your box of tools. Those types are always calm, cool and collected, and people respect them for that.
What do you think motivates him, is he power hungry or is he just an a-type that wants to succeed at everything?
If he were power hungry, he would have dug his heels in a little more and not let himself be jockeyed out. He got played, but he certainly didn’t lose. I think he rolled with upward mobility in mind, but I don’t think it was a power move.
How was it hanging out in Baltimore while the show was being shot?
I have some family in D.C., so it was good to get down to D.C. It’s funny, my cousin is a senate staffer…
Yeah (laughing), so I would go down there an hangout with him and his friends and they would all say, “Wow, [besides] the way things work and the way people talk on the show, that’s so spot on, but the set-dressing is unbelievable — they got it perfectly right.” There’s a trophy on Frank Underwood’s desk, and he was like, “my boss actually has that award.” So the show has an eye for details.
The whole set up does feels so real. Did you have a favourite place to hangout during days off while on location?
I got to go to Camden Yards a few times, and I’m a huge baseball fan. It’s one of the most beautiful ballparks in the league.
You’re already on to some new projects I hear, since the launch of the new season of House of Cards. Didn’t you just do a guest spot on The Mindy Project?
Yeah, I did. It was so much fun! I love seeing two actors kind of running a set.
What was your character like?
I play a guy that Mindy sees on the subway and gets into kind of a correspondence with…I guess that’s all I can say. And, that as is typical with a lot of the roles I play, nothing is quite as it seems.
Intriguing. Will we see you on the new season of the show?
They haven’t said there is a plan to, but it could be a very funny character to bring back; a funny character for anyone on the show to run into again.
Do you like comedy?
I love it and would love to do more of it. Based on the rehearsals and some of the takes, I got a lot of laughs…from the crew anyway (laughing). A lot of comedians say that what’s great about doing comedy, you know whether it’s working or not…with drama, you never really know until you see the final cut.
Do you have a preference between comedy and drama?
It’s good to keep a balance. Part of what I love about the last five or six years is that I’ve done a lot of barnstorming, as far as guest-starring, and getting these great guest star arcs on these great shows. What I love about that is getting the chance to meet so many different actors and work with so many different crews and directors.
It seems like no matter what role you play, from your character on Gossip Girl to House of Cards, you’re always dressed quite stylishly. Are you a fan of fashion yourself?
I guess I’ve become one. I’ve had the good fortune of working on shows that have great wardrobe designers. It’s fun when you’re trying on really nice, perfectly tailored clothes; it forms the character your playing. On House of Cards, the suits are tailored absolutely perfectly. And at my first fitting, they kept saying, “Fincher likes this, and Fincher likes to make sure that this is done and Fincher likes it so that there’s just enough so your top is showing…” and what I really love more than anything else about that kind of situation is that people have a very clear and focused idea of what they want. Fincher has a very clear and focused vision.
How would you describe your personal style, are you more a T-shirt and jeans guy or do you have a soft spot for those tailored suits you were just talking about?
Oh yeah, T-shirt, jeans…those are the two, I love T-shirts and jeans…and sneakers. But having a couple of really nice suits is good. I think wherever you get it, put some money into the tailoring and it will look like a million bucks.
I see you did a J.Crew campaign a while back, any more fashion campaigns in your future?
(Laughing.) That was a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun on the shoot. The clothes are great. I was just in there the other day. I have one of their suits at home and I would put that up against any of the high-end, big fashion houses’ suits that I’ve worn.
Yeah, they’re great.
................... Styling - Wyman Chang
Hair, Makeup & Grooming - Daniele Piersons at Exclusive Artists Management using M.A.C. Cosmetics
Photographer's Assistant - Kevin Burnstein ...................Published March 22, 2014