On Netflix’s crown jewel show House of Cards, the President of the United States has used his power to get what he wants, and the First Lady, played by Robin Wright, has done the same. Wright said in a recent interview that life has been imitating art behind the scenes as she had to use threats to get pay equal to that of co-star Kevin Spacey, who plays President Frank Underwood.
During a talk at New York City’s Rockefeller Center, Wright said she requested pay equal to Spacey’s because she viewed House of Cards as one of the rare TV shows where “the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal.” However, just like Claire Underwood, Wright used some key information and carefully placed threats. “I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Spacey’s] for a period of time. So I capitalized on it. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public,’ and they did,” she said.
A set number on each star’s salary is harder to get clarity on than Frank and Claire’s marriage. In March 2014, prior to the season two premiere, Spacey’s salary was reportedly increased from $5 million to $9 million. However, following the show’s second season in August 2014, Spacey was reportedly pulling in half a million dollars per episode, which would put his salary at $6.5 million for season two, far short of the $9 million previously reported.
In Wright’s case, there is even less news about her salary, however a little deduction shows she received a raise of at least $2 million between season two and season three of House of Cards. According to Forbes, Wright was the 14th highest-paid TV actress of 2015, earning $5.5 million andplacing her salary at $450,000 per episode. Wright did not make the Top 10 of the list in 2014, with Lena Dunham’s 2014 earnings of $3.5 million rounding out the list. Earning less than $3.5 million would mean Wright pulled in under $270,000 per episode for season two, a little more than half the salary of her co-star Spacey.
If art keeps imitating life, then the next President of the United States may look to Netflix for their running mate.