House Of Cards resumes production, with Greg Kinnear and Diane Lane

Netflix did not disclose what roles Lane or Kinnear (both above) will play other than that they will be brother and sister.
Netflix did not disclose what roles Lane or Kinnear (both above) will play other than that they will be brother and sister. PHOTOS: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (NYTIMES) - Kevin Spacey is out. Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear are in.

The sixth and final season of House Of Cards will introduce new characters as it tries to move past a sexual misconduct scandal that put the Netflix series in peril and forced out its biggest star.

Spacey, who played the central character, Frank Underwood, a ruthless politician who becomes president, was shown the door amid allegations of sexual misconduct last year.

Production for the new season, after a three-month hiatus, resumed on Tuesday (Jan 30).

Netflix did not disclose what roles Lane or Kinnear will play other than that they will be brother and sister.

Kinnear, 54, and Lane, 53, are both Academy Award nominees. Robin Wright, the co-star of House Of Cards, will be at the centre of the final season.

The return to production ends a three-month odyssey that began shortly after The New York Times published an investigation detailing sexual harassment and assault allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and a national reckoning on sexual harassment began in earnest.

In October, after Anthony Rapp, an actor, accused Spacey of inappropriate sexual behaviour, Netflix announced that the next season of House Of Cards would be its last, and suspended production not long after. Spacey apologised to Rapp, but numerous other allegations against him emerged.

Though House Of Cards is past its peak in terms of cultural relevance, it is a landmark for the streaming service. It gave Netflix a bold entry into the TV landscape when it debuted in 2013, and in the five years since, the tech giant has upended the TV industry.

Netflix said it would spend up to US$8 billion (S$10 billion) in content this year, dwarfing all rivals.

Other tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google are now springing into gear and investing hundreds of millions of dollars to create their own original programming.

Netflix has paid a price for sexual misconduct scandals. The streaming service last month said it took a US$39 million write down for unreleased programming that David Wells, its chief financial officer, said was related to the "the societal reset around sexual harassment."

Netflix had been planning a movie starring Spacey about Gore Vidal, the writer, and a stand-up special with Louis CK, the comedian who was also accused of sexual misconduct. Both have been tossed away.

The final season of House Of Cards is expected to be eight episodes long, down from the usual 13, and could be released later this year.