From Buttercup to Underwood


In the late 80’s, Rob Reiner set out to find the most beautiful woman in all the land. They needed, a “new Julie Christie,” he’d said. But England broke the mold after they’d made Christie. After an exhaustive search of the UK, he realized that there wasn’t one woman in the whole kingdom that was beautiful enough to play Princess Buttercup. They’d returned to the States empty-handed.

As it turned out, the new Julie Christie would be minted right in Hollywood’s backyard.

Born to a cosmetic salesman and a pharmaceutical employee in Dallas, Texas, Wright was raised in San Diego and attended high school in Los Angeles and began to model at 14. Burned out by modeling, Wright soon turned to acting and by the age of 18 scored a role on Santa Barbara, a mediocre soap opera. But it was out of the frying pan and into the fire. Or more specifically, out modeling and into TV jail.

After languishing on Santa Barbara for three years, her agent insisted that Rob Reiner meet her, that she was in fact the most beautiful woman in all the land. So with no time to prepare, Wright got into a jeep and met Reiner at his house. He was so taken with this young golden-haired beauty that he gave her the part. A month later, she was on a plane to England to play the part she will forever be known for.

But it didn’t seem that way at first. Bride did poorly in theaters and Wright didn’t work in film for another three years. Yet overtime, thanks to the VHS boom, the movie became a hit in living rooms all over the world and Wright was shot into a weird sort of retroactive stardom.

In 1994, seven years after Bride, she played Jenny in Forrest Gump and continued to work steadily in film for the next two decades until 2013, when TV, the thing she tried so hard to flee from, offered her a second role of a lifetime: Claire Underwood.

As the modern-day Lady Macbeth in the hit Netflix show House of Cards, Robin Wright has finally become a star in real time. And as our political climate get darker, Wright’s star is only poised to shine brighter in a series that grows more relevant by the day.