EXCLUSIVE: 'House of Cards' Star Nathan Darrow on His Flirty Bond With Kevin Spacey
By Stacy Lambe
It didn’t take long for Edward Meechum, the loyal bodyguard played
by Nathan Darrow, to become a fan favorite on the hit Netflix drama, House of Cards.
First hired as a temporary bodyguard for Frank Underwood
(Kevin Spacey), the former policeman eventually became a part of Underwood’s
personal security detail in the Secret Service and the subject of the politician’s
desires, even participating in a threesome with Underwood’s wife, Claire (Robin Wright).
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
While never a main character, Meechum quickly became a
fixture on House of Cards -- that is,
until his abrupt end in the fourth episode of the new season when he was killed
protecting President Underwood during an assassination attempt.
Quite simply, Darrow’s character went from sharing a kiss
with Underwood to taking a bullet for the man. The death may have been a shock
for fans, but not for Darrow, who felt it was an appropriate end.
“It was in line with how I thought of Meechum,” the 39-year-old
actor tells ETonline, revealing he learned of his character’s fate between seasons
when creator Beau Willimon called him with the news. “When Beau told me that
was where it was going, I honestly have to tell you that it was a scenario that
had occurred to me.”
Darrow, who first worked with Spacey in an international touring production
of William Shakespeare’s Richard III,
landed the role after the Oscar-winning actor submitted his name for the part. “It
was stacked with some very talented actors who were really right for House of Cards, so Kevin put a bunch of
us up for it,” Darrow previously told Entertainment
Weekly. “I went in for casting and later for [executive producer David]
Fincher, and that’s just how it happened.”
Since then, Darrow says the two actors have formed a bond
akin to experiences of working in long-running theater companies. “Your own
comfort level increases or ebbs and flows as people change,” he explains, saying
it's “cool to do almost anything with Kevin on camera.”
Over the course of the series, their on-screen relationship was constantly teased. At times, the feeling between Meechum and Underwood was serious, and other times, almost carnal. One of the two characters’ final moments together saw Underwood playfully tracing Meechum’s hand on a wall inside the White House as the Secret Service agent looked enamored -- it just also happened to be the final scene Darrow filmed for the show.
“I enjoyed it all so much. Hell, I enjoyed flirting with
him, I enjoyed when he gave me dirty looks, or gave me the business, or almost
fired me,” Darrow says of working with Spacey, adding: “He's a f**king fantastic
Funnily enough, part of the character’s appeal may be the
same thing that frustrated fans most. While Meechum was intriguing, audiences never got
more than his fleeting moments with the Underwoods.
“Early on, as an actor, I was anxious to be in the mix,”
Darrow says, acknowledging the character’s limited scope. “But as it went on, I
started to really like this idea of this character that you don't ever quite
And Darrow -- who also has recurring roles on Showtime's Billions and as Mr. Freeze on Gotham -- leaves the show proud, if not somewhat sad to
let it go. “This was a very, very interesting thing to do as a person and as an
actor and it was very, very interesting to do with Kevin.”