EMMYS

EXCLUSIVE: ‘House of Cards’ Star Michael Kelly on ‘Damn Good’ Feeling of Emmy Nom & Tough Season 5 Without Creator Beau Willimon

by Stacy Lambe 1:35 PM PDT, July 14, 2016
Photo: Netflix

The TV Academy announced the 2016 Primetime Emmy nominations on Thursday. Among the many deserving nominees is Michael Kelly, who was recognized for a second time for playing Doug Stamper on House of Cards. The Netflix series earned a total of 13 nominations, including Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Kelly.

While many would-be nominees were ready to find out if they had been nominated, Kelly tells ET he had forgotten all about the announcements. “I was at the beach with my family,” he says before he and his wife realized what day it was. “She was like, ‘You're not going to get nominated because we're together,’ because I never get any good news when I'm with my wife. And then my phone, right at that moment, went crazy.”

MORE: 'House of Cards' Star Nathan Darrow on His Flirty Bond With Kevin Spacey

When it comes to playing Doug, Kelly loves the day-to-day of being in character and that season four just gave him so many great actors to work with, including guest stars Neve Campbell and Ellen Burstyn. “They assembled an incredible cast this year,” he says.

The most bizarre thing about season four is how much it parallels the 2016 presidential election as Donald Trump assumes the GOP nomination. “It's insane,” Kelly says. “We always joke with [creator] Beau Willimon about being a soothsayer and that he can see into the future. They write this a year before and inevitably several things every year will come to fruition. I remember saying the KKK will never make it. Lo and behold, Trump and his KKK buddies hit the news.”

That being said, the 47-year-old actor notes that House of Cards is “not a ripped-from-the-headlines show.”

MORE: The Complete List of 2016 Emmy Nominations

As for next season, what happens remains to be seen. So far, Kelly has only worked one day on season five, the first without Willimon as showrunner. The creator was replaced by Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese.

“Quite honestly, it broke my heart. He's not only a good friend but one of the most talented guys out there. I'll miss everything about him,” Kelly says of Willimon’s departure. “It'll be tough for many reasons, but I think we'll continue to make a great show.”

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