When a group of actors and directors made a $100 million gamble on the Internet series "House of Cards," Kevin Spacey took on the role of the perfectly diabolical schemer Frank Underwood.
The opportunity of working with streaming-video service Netflix was exciting, yet frightening for the actor, who for the last 10 years has been running -- and performing at -- London's Old Vic Theatre. .
"When you walk down the road you haven't walked down before ... yeah, it's a little scary," he told ABC News. "But it's also, in many ways, I think, it's the only way to go. It opens new doors, it presents situations and experiences and relationships that you could've never anticipated."
This week, "House of Cards," a drama about the goings-on of Washington politics, made headlines when it became the first online series to be nominated for the top Emmy honor of Best Drama Series. Spacey, a two-time Oscar winner, was nominated in the category of Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
"I think for the [Academy of Television Arts and Sciences] to have recognized this series really ... shows that they're far more modern than maybe some people suspected," he said, "and that this, in some ways, I think, might be a new paradigm where more and more companies that have been in basically a porthole business are gonna wanna get into the original content business. It means more people will get employed -- more actors, more writers, more directors, more storytellers."
Spacey said the project was a big gamble for Netflix, more than for himself and the others who had collaborated on it.
"We believed in the idea of this series," he said. "It was a big hit in Britain. It was a fantastic character to play and a real sort of examination of not just Washington politics but all the elements that make great drama."
As for Spacey -- who sings, tap-dances and can do a fine impersonation of Jack Nicholson -- he said he was still learning things about his character.
"That's part of the thrill and the excitement, is the not knowing, the not being sure that you can do something, the feeling that, you know: How am I ever gonna achieve what a writer has given me or what a director like David Fincher is asking me to do?" he said.
"I feel like everything I've done has led up to this experience. I've been so fortunate to work with the kind of artists and people who took me under their wing when I was first starting out," Spacey said. "All of these experiences have helped me so much [to] gain in confidence and try to be better each time out. I feel like I'm just getting started."