In an interview with actor Kevin Spacey on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer quoted the liberal star's description of his new role in a political drama, playing "a wily murderous politician worming his way to the White House." Spacey quipped in response: "Kind of like this year, isn't it?" Immediately picking up on the reference to Mitt Romney, Lauer chuckled and replied: "No, no, no. Get yourself in trouble, not me." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the segment, Lauer asked Spacey – who is temporarily living in London – for reaction to the Olympics so far. Spacey gushed over the collectivist tone of the event: "I was able to go to the opening ceremonies, which I thought was just extraordinary.... It felt very much like Danny Boyle had done something that was about the workers, about what it takes to build a country, to build a society. It was an extraordinary look at a village."
Anchoring the opening ceremony, Lauer and fellow co-host Meredith Vieira cheered Boyle's tribute to Britain's government-run health care system. Lauer proclaimed: "...we're locked in this kind of partisan debate over the future of health care in our own country. Here, they feel so strongly about their health care system, they're actually celebrating it as part of the Olympic opening ceremony."
Here is a transcript of the August 1 exchange between Lauer and Spacey:
MATT LAUER: We welcome you back now to London and day five of the games of the XXX Olympiad. And look who we found taking in some of the action, two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey. For nearly a decade he's served as the artistic director of the Old Victory Theater here in London. Kevin, it's good to see you on your side of the pond for a change.
KEVIN SPACEY: I know, it's good to have you on my turf for once.
LAUER: It really is nice. You came here a while ago. This is your home away from home, no question about it. Oftentimes, when the Olympic games come to a city, the people who live there have mixed emotions. You know, there's the traffic and the security and then there's the prestige. How do you feel about it?
SPACEY: Well, I'm lucky because I'm a resident of Great Britain but I'm a citizen of the United States, so I can root for both countries, which is great. And it's been incredible to be back. I had a chance to come back last Thursday, so I was able to go to the opening ceremonies, which I thought was just extraordinary, live. I don't know what they look like on television, but they were quite remarkable to be there. It felt very much like Danny Boyle had done something that was about the workers, about what it takes to build a country, to build a society. It was an extraordinary look at a village. And I thought he took us through the industrial revolution and everything. I thought it was remarkable.
LAUER: You've been on a lot of planes lately, going back and forth to Baltimore. You're shooting a series there called House of Cards, kind of a political drama. And I just want to read how you described your character recently: "A wily murderous politician worming his way to the White House."
SPACEY: Yeah. Yeah.
LAUER: Another great thing to sink your teeth into.
SPACEY [LAUGHING]: Kind of like this year, isn't it?
LAUER: No, no, no. Get yourself in trouble, not me. When are we going to see this? I know it's going to be streamed on Netflix?
SPACEY: Yes, it's the first original program for Netflix. And it was actually based on a very popular British series that was here in the 1980's, about a wily politician worming his way to the – to becoming prime minister. And oddly enough, it was based on Richard III, which I've just spent the last ten months, or the last year, performing around the world. So I feel like I've had a good ten months of rehearsal to play this character. David Fincher and I are doing it. It's been an extraordinary experience. To sort of delve into that world of politics and power and greed and ambition and all that. And as David and I like to say, it ain't your daddy's West Wing.
LAUER: You always do it well. I can't wait to see it. Kevin, it's always great to see you.
SPACEY: Good to see you.
LAUER: Pleasure. Kevin Spacey.