Created by: Beau Willimon
Other cast: Kavin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sebastian Arcelus
Premiere date: February 1, 2013
Episodes: Season 1, 2x01, 4x06
Running time: 1h
Ruthless and cunning, Congressman Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) stop at nothing to conquer everything. This wicked political drama penetrates the shadowy world of greed, sex and corruption in modern D.C.
Fincher stated that every main cast member was their first choice. In the first read through, he said “I want everybody here to know that you represent our first choice — each actor here represents our first choice for these characters. So do not fuck this up.” Spacey, whose last regular television role was in the series Wiseguy, which ran from 1987 until 1990, responded positively to the script. He then played Richard III at The Old Vic, which Fincher said was “great training.” Spacey supported the decision to release all of the episodes at once, believing that this type of release pattern will be increasingly common with television shows. He said, “When I ask my friends what they did with their weekend, they say, ‘Oh, I stayed in and watched three seasons of Breaking Bad or it’s two seasons of Game of Thrones.” He was officially cast on March 18, 2011. Robin Wright was approached by Fincher to star in the series when they worked together in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She was cast as Claire Underwood in June 2011. Kate Mara was cast as Zoe Barnes in early February 2012. Mara’s sister, Rooney, worked with Fincher in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and when 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.
Principal photography for the first season began in January 2012 in Harford County, Maryland, on the Eastern seaboard of the United States. Filming of exterior scenes in 2013 centered primarily in and around the city of Baltimore, Maryland, which is about 40 miles northeast of Washington, D.C.
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.
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.
For its first season, House of Cards received nine nominations for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2013, to become the first original online-only web television series to receive major nominations. Kate received an Emmy’s Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series nomination for the second season.