Q&A with the creator of ‘House of Cards’

21 July 2014Television

Laura Prudom, interviewing ‘House of Cards’ creator Beau Willimon for Variety:

When you were first writing and pitching “House of Cards,” did you have any concept of the magic you were making?

Willimon: No idea. Very early on, it was really just four people: It was Fincher and then his two producing partners, Eric Roth, legendary screenwriter, and Josh Donen, who’s his business partner and accomplished producer, and me. The fact that we had Fincher onboard and he was the person masterminding all this in the beginning, I knew that we were going to put a pretty good foot forward no matter what. Shortly thereafter, Kevin and Robin came onboard. So we had the recipe to do something really fantastic. Honestly, you never know whether anything you’re going to make is going to connect with people. We worked for almost a year on the first episode, got it to where we wanted it to be and went out to find a home and Netflix made an offer we couldn’t refuse and blew everyone out of the water. We were all excited about this possible programmatic shift. None of us had really done television before and neither had Netflix. So we were all in the same boat of experimentation, trying something different. We didn’t know what the rules were, so we were completely ready to break them.

There was a lot of attention toward the show early on just because of the new model. So we definitely benefitted from that. We knew a lot of people were going to be interested. We were proud of the work that we had done; we thought it was good, but you never know until you know. As high as our expectations were, I don’t think any of us were prepared for the huge response that we got, which only motivated us to make it even better.

It’s fascinating to learn more about how ‘House of Cards’ – the show that solidified Netflix as a television powerhouse – came to be.