House of Cards is an American political drama web television series created by Beau Willimon.
Let’s find out some fun facts about the series!
1. It is an adaptation of the BBC’s mini-series of the same name and is based on the novel by Michael Dobbs.
2. The thirteen-episode first season premiered on February 1, 2013, on the streaming service Netflix.
3. Thirteen-episode seasons followed on February 14, 2014, February 27, 2015 and March 4, 2016. Netflix announced a fifth season due for release on May 30, 2017.
4. Willimon has stated that plans for the show’s future are decided after each season.
5. Set in 2010s Washington, D.C., House of Cards is the story of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a Democrat from South Carolina’s 5th congressional district and House Majority Whip. After being passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, he initiates an elaborate plan to get himself into a position of greater power, aided by his wife, Claire Underwood (Robin Wright).
6. The series deals primarily with themes of ruthless pragmatism, manipulation, and power.
7. House of Cards has received positive reviews and several award nominations. To date, it has received 33 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor for Spacey, and Outstanding Lead Actress for Wright, for each of its first four seasons.
8. It is the first original online-only web television series to receive major Emmy nominations.
9. The show also earned eight Golden Globe Award nominations, with Wright winning for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 2014 and Spacey winning for Best Actor – Television Series Drama in 2015.
10. House of Cards is based on a 1990 BBC miniseries of the same name. That was only a four-episode series though, perhaps because British political intrigue isn’t nearly as complicated and generally solved over a cup of tea.
11. The UK House of Cards was adapted from a novel by Michael Dobbs who served as Margaret Thatcher’s chief of staff from 1986 to 1987 and as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party from 1994 to 1995.
12. In order to really nail the political backstabbing, Willimon hired Jay Carson, his former college buddy and current political strategist who had previously worked with Michael Bloomberg, Howard Dean, and the Clintons.
13. First TV series to win an EMMY. In 2013, House of Cards made history when it became the first online series to win an Emmy—three of them, actually: for Outstanding Directing (for Fincher), Outstanding Cinematography (for Eigil Bryld), and Outstanding Casting (for casting directors Laray Mayfield and Julie Schubert). A string of additional award nominations and wins, including Golden Globes for Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, followed and opened up the door for other online-only series like Amazon’s Transparent, which won Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series and Best Actor (for Jeffrey Tambor) in 2015.
14. Kevin Spacey used House of Cards as his… calling card to try and convince Woody Allen, who he greatly admired, to work with him. He sent Allen a Netflix subscription and a note that said, “I don’t know if you’ve seen my work, but you might want to watch this series.” Allen replied that he would love to work with him in a film. There’s more of that political maneuvering at play.
15. 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.”
16. Although much of the show is set in Washington, DC, much of the White House is just a recreation on a soundstage in Joppa, Maryland. “We’re making it last for what will hopefully be a very long run.” Don’t tell the Canadians. They burned it down once. They’ll do it again.
17. Whilst filming promotional stills, Kevin Spacey burned his hand while holding up a burning flag. To cover it up, he “conveniently” burned his hand with coffee and had to wear a bandage in episode nine of the third season.
18. 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.”
19. 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.
20. Although the show is set in Washington, the vast majority of it is filmed on a 300,000 ft soundstage in Joppa, near Baltimore. The soundstage boasts recreations of the Oval Office and the House of Congress, as well as numerous offices and room interiors for the shows’ use.
21. Doug Stamper often finds himself in covert meetings in a Baltimore diner that was a haven for detectives throughout The Wire’s run.
22. Michael Gill and Jayne Atkinson, who play President Garrett Walker and Secretary of State Catherine Durant were both hired independently, while the rest of the cast and the production team had no idea that they were actually married.