‘House of Cards’ Star Reed Birney Endures ‘Quiet Desperation’ in ‘Mad Women’

Reed Birney in "Mad Women"
Reed Birney in “Mad Women”

If anybody should get a free subscription to Netflix, it’s Reed Birney.

The actor plays the vice president on the network’s “House of Cards,” while his wife, actress Constance Shulman, is seen as Yoga Jones on another hit series on the channel, “Orange Is the New Black.”

“I think they gave us six months,” laughs Birney during an interview with Made in Hollywood. “We should just take a year off and binge watch.”

That hardly seems likely for Birney, one of the busiest actors in America who also juggled a TV gig as Tom Connolly on “The Blacklist” with New York stage work, including a Tony-nominated turn in “Casa Valentina.” He’ll next appear off-Broadway in “The Humans.”

And at movie theaters he’s rejoined writer-director Jeff Lipsky in the family drama “Mad Women,” in limited release, playing the husband of a woman who’s running for small-town mayor, played by Christina Starbuck.

For Birney, it means another turn as a political second banana, this time a dentist who made some very bad choices involving LSD and a teenager.

“It’s great to be able to show a guy who’s lost and discredited and confused and all those things,” says Birney. “His life suddenly falls apart and he has to reconstruct pretty much everything. There’s really a quiet desperation.”

Of course, on “HoC” Birney channels another man quietly enduring desperate situations, but Birney has no chance of being pigeonholed as an actor. “One of the reasons I loved to do ‘Blacklist,’” he says, “is to get to be a real son of a bitch.”

“Mad Women” opened July 10 in New York, expands to Los Angeles on Friday at the Sundance Cinemas and goes nationwide next month. Check out the trailer below:

Mad Women Trailer from Jeff Lipsky on Vimeo.

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