Journalists often ask celebrities political questions hoping for clickbait responses.
When Deadline did just that with legendary actress Ellen Burstyn, the outlet had an excuse. Burstyn co-stars on Netflix’s “House of Cards,” one of the most popular political dramas on any screen these days.
So seguing from President Frank Underwood to the current presidential campaign made some sense.
And Burstyn didn’t disappoint.
Burstyn, a recent “Cards” cast member who plays Robin Wright’s mother, laced into Donald Trump during the Q&A. She said she can’t remember a similar campaign in her 83 years. Then, she threw open the possibility that the nation electing its first black president may oddly be to blame.
“The only thing I can think—and this is just a hypothesis; I have nothing to base it on—is that the fact we elected a black president has excited an underlying racism, and it has come to the surface. Now they’re saying, ‘OK, it’s our turn. The racists get a turn.’ I can’t imagine any other election year that there could be this ridiculous and overpowering support for that particular candidate.”
Burstyn continued the conversation, expanding on her earliest days in Hollywood. She lamented how the film industry has changed over the course of her career.
While 1971’s “The Last Picture Show” cemented her rising star status, that kind of project would be a tough commercial sell today.
“It’s a real war,” she says, to make quality films in 2016.