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Molly Parker flying high with role on House of Cards, new play

02/26/2015 08:30 EST | Updated 04/28/2015 05:59 EDT
Few actors could hold their own opposite Kevin Spacey's formidable Francis Underwood on the hit Netflix series House of Cards, but Canadian actress Molly Parker knew she had what it takes to play Underwood's chosen protege Jacqueline Sharp. 

Season three is expected to hit Netflix servers at 3:01 a.m. ET Friday and it's Parker's second season playing Congresswoman Jackie Sharp.

"I get to play this really tough, smart, powerful, sexual woman and I love her, she's great," said Parker in an interview with CBC News.  "I mean, all the characters on House of Cards are. It's a show about power, it's a show about the seeking of power, and every character on that show seeks it in different ways."

Parker's character, an Iraq war vet with a checkered past, is as much a hero as an antihero, and playing such characters has been a bit of Parker's specialty.

The breakout role for Maple Ridge, B.C.-born Parker was in the 1996 Canadian indie film Kissed, in which she played a necrophiliac. It set the tone for a career filled with playing oddballs and renegades.

And Jacqueline Sharp is not the only complex woman Parker is playing right now. "Look, I don't care about the characters I play being likable, I really don't," Parker told CBC. "What I do care about is that they are complex, and as close to complex human beings as I can make them to be."

Parker's professional stage debut

With the filming of season three of House of Cards wrapped, Parker is back to the city where her career started, Toronto, to star in the titular role of Canadian Stage's Harper Regan. 

The play, written by award-winning British playwright Simon Stephens, is directed by Matthew Jocelyn, and tells the story of a woman who, upon finding out about her father's illness, leaves her husband and children behind and goes on a journey of self-discovery.

Parker says she was drawn to the "Greek tragedy" she saw in the story.

"This woman sort of goes on this mini Odyssean journey and she doesn't even really quite know what to do or what she needs," said Parker to CBC News.  "But something needs to shift in her in order to go on and in the seeking of that something, she meets just these bizarre and remarkable characters who all affect her in some way."

The role is Parker's professional theatre debut—something she says she's been longing to do since she first set foot on stage in a small Vancouver theatre 18 years ago.

It also means she now has something new in common with House of Cards co-star and accomplished stage actor Kevin Spacey.

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When asked if she will now trade stage tips with Spacey, Parker quips: "I don't think he needs advice, he's doing alright!" 

And so is she.

Harper Regan runs at Toronto's Bluma Appel Theatre between March 1 and 22nd.

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