We asked Kevin Spacey how you act like the President of the United States of America

The 'theatre rat' called on advice he received when playing Richard II

'Owning the room' doesn't begin to sum up Kevin Spacey's performance in House of Cards. As President Frank Underwood he owns it and then sub-lets it out to whatever poor bastard is stuck in there with him, bleeding them dry before dismissing them at his whim.

But how do you feel and act 'presidential'? How do you dominate a room as literally and figuratively large as the Oval Office?

"The one time that a director gave me really great direction about this was when I played Richard II at the Old Vic," he told us. "I was a little bit worried, I remember saying to [director] Trevor Nunn 'How do I behave like the king?'

"He said 'Oh you don't, it's not about you behaving like the king it's about how everyone else reacts to you when you walk into the room. You are the king. '

"So I kind of take that same thing into the Oval Office, I don't have to be 'presidential' because I am the president and it's about how everyone else reacts to that. That's what makes it work it's not about suddenly having to put on some sort of air of presidentialness, it just exists."

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Kevin Spacey as Richard III

With its asides and direct addresses, House of Cards is a very theatrical show – we asked Kevin if this was one of the draws to the project for him.

"Well I am a theatre rat, I love theatre more than anything," he said.

"If you look back at the original series Michael Dobb says he based a lot of the character and the idea of House of Cards on Shakespeare, and that's why the direct address happens because Shakespeare invented it in Richard III.

"So there's a kind of Shakespearian quality to it, but I mean we're not playing it like we're gonna hit the back wall, the camera's right in your face, but there is a certain grandeur to it that I think is pretty specific to the kind of show it is."

All 13 episode of House of Cards season 3 went live on Netflix on 27 February.

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