House of Cards is an American political drama web television series developed and produced by Beau Willimon.
Let’s see some amazing facts and triva about the series!
1.As original as it may seem, House of Cards is actually based on a 1990 BBC miniseries of the same name. The four-episode series, which was adapted from a novel by Michael Dobbs, took place in the time period following Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as Prime Minister.
2. House of Cards author Michael Dobbs served as Thatcher’s chief of staff from 1986 to 1987 and the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party from 1994 to 1995.
3. House of Cards creator Beau Willimon is no stranger to the inner-workings of our own nation’s capital. His resume includes stints working for a range of well-known political figures, including Charles Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and Howard Dean.
4. A number of scenes in House of Cards are inspired by real life. When President Walker signs the education bill in season 1, the set up of the room is similar to when President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act. Both scenes also featured a Vice President who was forced to stand in the back of the room, largely forgotten. When Frank Underwood sees Zoey Barnes for the first time, he’s caught glancing at her backside. The shot seems to have been inspired by this picture of President Obama and then French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
5. David Fincher made the leap to the small screen for the first time with House of Cards, which he executive produces. Fincher also directed the series’ first two episodes.
6. Although Fincher directed only the two first episodes, he established an informal set of rules for how the show should be shot—and doesn’t think that handheld or Steadicam shooting should be a part of that. “I remember David saying something like he would only move the camera if there was a damn good reason to,” James Foley, the series’ most regular director, told DGA Quarterly. “So I found myself with a self-imposed discipline to work within because I felt it should be stylistically consistent.”
7. Fincher turned the directorial reins over to a small group of highly-acclaimed directors, including James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross, At Close Range), Carl Franklin (Devil in a Blue Dress, Out of Time), Joel Schumacher (Batman Forever, Phone Booth), Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa, The Secret Garden), and Jodie Foster (Little Man Tate, The Beaver). “I felt like we were telling 13 stories that are all part of one big story, and I was handing off movements to people whose work I admire,” Fincher told DGA Quarterly of the show’s first season.
8. In a commentary track for the first season, Fincher swears that every one of the show’s principal actors was the first choice for the role. And as such, “I walked in and I got to say the thing I’ve always wanted to say to a cast, which is ‘Every single person in this room represents our first choice, so don’t f*** this up. ‘Cause if you do, I will never forgive you.’”
9. David Fincher offered the role of Claire directly to Robin Wright, with whom he had just worked on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011). He convinced her by promising she would have input in the creation of the character.
10. Mara’s sister, Rooney, worked with Fincher. Kate Mara read the part of Zoe, she “fell in love with the character” and asked her sister to “put in a word for me with Fincher.” The next month, she got a call for an audition
11. Fincher and Kevin Spacey (who is also an executive producer on the series) began developing House of Cards without a network commitment.
12. Netflix won the bidding war between the rest of the networks to produce the show because they committed to do two seasons directly.
13. Spacey called Netflix’s model of publishing all episodes at once a “new perspective”. He added that Netflix’s commitment to two full seasons gave the series greater continuity. “We know exactly where we are going,” he said.
14. In order to help get the tone and political maneuvering just right—or, as he told Town & Country, “to make sure we didn’t completely embarrass ourselves”—Willimon recruited his college buddy Jay Carson, a political advisor and strategist who has worked with Michael Bloomberg, Howard Dean, and Hillary and Bill Clinton, as the series’ political consultant. Carson also inspired Stephen Meyers, Ryan Gosling’s character in George Clooney’s The Ides of March, which Willimon wrote.
15.Each season has 13 episodes. One episode per card in a suit of playing cards.
16. In order to better understand Frank Underwood’s position, Kevin Spacey spent some time with Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House Majority Whip from California. “I don’t envy him [or] the position,” Spacey told George Stephanopoulos of McCarthy. “It’s not easy. But it was very fascinating [for me] to go to a couple of whip meetings and actually see what the agenda is, what they’re going to put out there, how they do it.”
17. One of Frank Underwood’s most iconic lines was quoting Fincher! Early on in the first season, Frank Underwood breaks the fourth wall to tell the audience: “You know what I like about people? They stack so well.” Though it was Willimon who was responsible for writing the line into the script, the dialogue itself was taken from Fincher.
18. At the premiere of House of Cards’ season 4, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. unveiled its latest acquisition, a portrait of Frank Underwood, which will hang alongside its collection of presidential portraits through October.
19. During an interview on Inside the Actors Studio, Kevin Spacey was asked, “What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?” His answer was, “Politics.”
20. The first democratic whip was appointed in 1889 and named Oscar Wilder Underwood.
21. House of Cards has found an enormous audience in China, where it streams on Sohu, the Chinese equivalent of Netflix. In 2014, the company reported that, of the 24.5 million people who watched House of Cards, the majority of them were government employees. Wang Qishan, one of the Communist Party of China’s most powerful leaders, is reportedly one of the series’ most ardent fans.
22. When actress Rachel Brosnahan, who plays Doug Stamper’s tormented call girl/Achilles heel, was originally cast on the show she was set to appear in just two episodes and recite a total of five lines. “She had done such a fine job those first two episodes that I started exploring what it would mean to bring her character back and fully three-dimensionalize her,” Willimon told the Chicago Tribune. “Rachel was so fantastic when we brought her back that I just wanted to write for her more and more.
23. In real life, Michael Gill and Jayne Atkinson (who play former President Garrett Walker and Secretary of State Catherine Durant, respectively) have been married since October 3, 1998—a fact that was unknown to Fincher, Spacey, or the rest of the cast until they were hired.
24. In season 3, Doug Stamper’s (Michael Kelly) niece and nephew are played by his real life children, Franke and Clinton.
25. Uncredited ‘hacktivist’ Gregg Housh worked closely with actor Jimmi Simpson (Gavin Orsay) on the Baltimore set for 6 months as a computer hacker-advisor.
26. Actress Kate Mara is a descendant of New York Giants owner John Mara and Dan Rooney, the chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mara was forced to miss the Steelers victory in Super Bowl XL due to work, so she had it put in all future contracts that she gets to skip town to attend the Super Bowl if the Giants or Steelers are playing. She attended the Giants victory in Super Bowl XLII, the Steelers victory in Super Bowl XLIII and the Giants win in Super Bowl XLVI.
27. Most of the characters incorrectly pronounce Xander Feng’s family name as “Fang”. Only Raymond Tusk pronounces it correctly as “Fung” which makes sense since he is the only western character who speaks Chinese. Xander, however, would not be his given Chinese name, but it is common for Chinese people to select western names.
28. The “king of barbecue”, Freddy, portrayed by Reg E. Cathey has appeared in a recurring role in four of the five television series that are or have been filmed in Baltimore, Maryland. Besides House of Cards he has appeared in Homicide: Life on the Street, The Corner, and The Wire. The only show that he has not been part of is Veep.
29. In the third season the name of Russia’s president is Viktor Petrov, V. and P. as in Vladmir Putin. Also, Vladimir Putin’s name is Viktor!
30. There’s no doubt that the breakout star of House of Cards’ second season was Cashew, the meme-tastic guinea pig BFF of hacker Gavin (Jimmi Simpson). The role is actually played by a trio of guinea pigs—Oscar, Lucas, and Encore—though trainer Carol Rosen told Vulture that it was Oscar who was used for about 90 percent of the scenes.
31. Though set in D.C., the bulk of House of Cards’ locations—including much of The White House—were built on a soundstage in Joppa, Maryland. “We’re making it to last for what will hopefully be a very long run,” executive producer John Melfi told The Baltimore Sun in 2012 of the massive sets they were building. “This is a Hollywood studio back lot.
32. Among the numerous exteriors filmed in Baltimore, but set in Washington, D.C., are: Francis and Claire Underwood’s residence, Zoe Barnes’ apartment, Freddy’s BBQ Rib Joint, The Clean Water Initiative building where Claire works, The Washington Herald offices, the Washington Opera House, the Secretary of State’s building, Hotel Cotesworth, The Georgetown Hotel, Werner’s Bar, Tio Pepe’s, the DuPont Circle Bar, as well as scenes set in other locations, including Peter Russo’s campaign rally in Pennsylvania and The Sentinel (military academy)’s Francis J. Underwood Library and Waldron Hall in South Carolina.
33. Most of the interior scenes in House of Cards are filmed in a large industrial warehouse,which is located in Joppa, Maryland, also in Harford County, which is about 17 miles north east of Baltimore. The warehouse is used for the filming of some of the most iconic scenes of the series, such as the full-scale reconstruction of most of the West Wing of the White House, including the Oval Office, the Congressional offices and corridors, the large ‘Slugline’ open-plan office interior, and domestic interiors such as the large townhouse rooms of the Underwood residence and a large loft apartment.
34. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Spacey shared that he sent Woody Allen a gift subscription to Netflix.
35. Season 3 was accidentally released to Netflix two weeks before the official release. It was taken down around 17 minutes later.
36. The first teaser trailer for Season four premiered during the Republican Party debate on CNN which featured a mock Presidential campaign advertisement.
37. For its first season, House of Cards received nine Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series,Outstanding Lead Actor for Spacey, Outstanding Lead Actress for Wright, and Outstanding Directing for David Fincher. It is the first original online-only web- television series to receive major Emmy nomination.
38. The show also earned four Golden Globe Award nominations and Wright won Best Actress – Television Series Drama, the first major acting award for an online-only web television series. For its second season, the series received 13 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Lead Actor (Spacey), Outstanding Lead Actress (Wright), Outstanding Directing (Carl Franklin), Outstanding Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing (Willimon). The second season also earned three Golden Globe Award nominations, with Spacey winning for Best Actor – Television Series Drama.
39. For season 1, the company received a final tax credit of $11.6 million. Production costs were $63 million, more than 1,800 Maryland businesses were involved, and nearly 2,200 Marylanders were hired with a $138 million economic impact.
40. Each season cost $100 million.
41. Fans of HBO’s critically acclaimed series The Wire (which was also shot in Baltimore) have probably recognized some familiar faces in House of Cards, which is hardly a coincidence. In a conversation on Twitter, Willimon told a fan that “My favorite show of all time is THE WIRE. BREAKING BAD = Genius. Also love SURVIVORMAN as far as reality-TV goes.”
42. In season one, Frank and Doug Stamper are mulling over a list of potential Congressmen to exploit, with their names displayed on a white board. One of the Congressmen on the board is listed as D. Fichner. How curious.
43. In January 2016, show creator, executive producer and showrunner Beau Willimon’s departure following season 4 was announced.
44. President Obama tweeted that he loves House of Cards but hates the spoilers!
45. Spacey told Stephen Colbert when he appeared on his show in September that he pretends he is talking directly to Donald Trump, and Donald Trump only, when he does scenes where he looks directly into the camera and speaks to the audience. Colbert asked Spacey, “Who do you think you’re talking to when you talk right to the camera? Who is that person? Is it like a close confidant? Because the persona you’re actually talking to, of course, are people on a 10-hour Netflix binge, sucking on boxed wine.” Spacey replies, “This is the truth from the very beginning. When I’m looking directly into that camera I’m talking to one person and one person only and that is…Donald Trump.”