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Kevin Spacey in awe at ‘remarkable’ Smithsonian portrait

Kevin Spacey can’t believe the portrait of his fictional House of Cards U.S. president is hanging in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
The actor, known for his portrayal of U.S. President Frank Underwood in the hit political drama, attended Monday night’s (22Feb16) unveiling in character, with a full motorcade, as the painting became the first of a fictional leader to join the gallery’s art collection.
Kevin admits he enjoyed reprising his ruthless role for the event, as he was treated like a real world leader.
“It was actually an incredible night and we did it as if it was a real, genuine presidential unveiling of a portrait, so I showed up as Frank Underwood, gave a speech,” he told U.S. breakfast show Today.
However, he was so convincing as the real-life President Underwood, attendees mistook gallery director Kim Sajet for an actress, too.
“The executive director (of the gallery) is a wonderful woman, (she) also gave a speech, and everybody thought, ‘Oh, who’s that actress playing the executive director?’ but it was actually her!” he laughed.
The British artist behind the portrait, Jonathan Yeo, was also on hand to celebrate the special moment, and Kevin reveals it wasn’t his first time sitting for the painter.
“It was really a remarkable thing because it’s a real portrait,” he continued. “This wonderful artist named Jonathan Yeo, who had done me before in a portrait when I played Richard III, did a really kind of remarkable portrait…
“It will hang in the Smithsonian, in the entry way as people walk in, and it will be there for six or seven months and then they (gallery bosses) hope to get someone to buy the painting and then donate it to the Smithsonian so it can stay there in the collection.”
Kevin was joined at Monday’s event, which doubled as a House of Cards’ season four premiere, by his onscreen assistant Doug Stamper, played by Michael Keely, and his bodyguard and driver, Edward Meechum, portrayed by Nathan Darrow.

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