9 Little Known Facts about House of Cards

If you’ve been marathoning it like I have, you’re probably just wrapping up the third season of House of Cards as the weekend draws to a close. 

If that finale left you wanting a little bit more to chew on, here are 9 bits of trivia that you can use to you can impress your friends while you’re all discussing it this week.

1. The series is based on British, not US, politics.

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Despite being a fascinating portrayal of the inner-workings of Washington D.C., Netflix’s series is actually based on a BBC miniseries, which was itself based on a book about British politics by former politician Michael Dobbs.

2. Kevin Spacey spent time learning the ins and outs of government.

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In preparation for the first season of the show, the actor shadowed Kevin McCarthy, then the Republican House Majority Whip, to see what the job was actually like.

3. Season 3 unofficially premiered two weeks early.

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All 13 episodes of Season 3 were accidentally released on Netflix well before the official premiere date. They were available for only around half an hour or so before Netflix corrected their mistake, but in that time, online discussion of the show spiked over 1,000%. So… accident, or publicity stunt?

4. House of Cards is filmed in a giant warehouse.

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To create the sets for House of Cards, Netflix rented out a 300,000+ sq ft warehouse in Joppa, Maryland. Inside they’ve built the Oval Office, and the House of Congress, as well as various offices and hotel rooms.

5. The series has a bunch of weird connections to The Wire.

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House of Cards and The Wire focus on (mostly) different sorts of crime, they’re connected in some really random ways. For example, both shows were shot in the Baltimore, Maryland area, and even use the same diner location (the one where Doug Stamper closes his deals). Additionally, Reg E. Cathey, Freddy on House of Cards, was also in two seasons of The Wire.

6. Cashew is actually three different guinea pigs.

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Gavin’s adorable little animal friend (who makes a quick season 3 cameo) was actually played by a trio of tiny actors named Oscar, Lucas, and Encore. Oscar was the star of the bunch for whatever reason, and is the one we see in the final product approximately 90% of the time.

7. The show has no love for shaky cam.

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A big part of House of Cards‘ visual style is how little the camera moves. This was a intentional decision on the part of David Fincher when he was putting the show together, and it’s an informal rule that most of the episodes have stuck to. In fact, House of Cards has so little camera motion that not a a single shot in the entire series was handheld.

8. It’s the first online series to win an Emmy.

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House of Cards made history in 2013 when it became the first online series to take home an Emmy award (and three of them at that).

9. China is a huge fan.

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House of Cards is enormously popular in China for some reason, where it streams on a service called Sohu. Over 24.5 million people in that country watched the show’s second season, and a majority of them were government employees. Wang Qishan, one of the senior leaders of the Communist Party, is reportedly a die-hard fan. Let’s hope he’s not taking notes.

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