The Maryland State House was transformed Monday into a set for “House of Cards,” the Netflix original series about a scheming Washington politician starring Kevin Spacey.
Spacey was among the cast on hand for the first of two long days of filming in Annapolis, where the House of Delegates chamber had been spruced up and was standing in for the U.S. Senate.
By mid-morning, well over 100 crew members and extras had essentially taken over the first floor of the 240-year-old capitol, with rows of director’s chairs, lighting equipment and racks of costumes set up in the hallway. Calls of “action!” and “cut!” rang out as scenes were shot for the second season of the series.
Much of the first season of “House of Cards” was filmed on a sound stage in Harford County and in other locations around Maryland. State officials have touted the economic impact of hosting the production, as well as the attention it has drawn.
“It’s put a real spotlight on Maryland,” said Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office, who was among the onlookers Monday morning.
State House aides and lobbyists with access to the State House also took peeks at the production. The building was closed to tourists.
The first season of the series (spoiler alert) ended with Spacey’s character, a conniving Democrat from South Carolina named Rep. Francis Underwood, getting promoted from House majority whip to vice president. (Presumably, his new post has something to do with the scenes that were shot Monday, given the vice president presides over the Senate.)
Portraits of past speakers of the Maryland House were temporarily removed from the chamber for this week’s filming, and a couple of rows of desks were taken out. The crew of “House of Cards” also installed fake marble around the dais and more ornate doors in the chamber.
The fake legislating comes at a relatively slow time in the State House. The Maryland General Assembly is not scheduled to return until January, and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is out of the country this week on a trip to France and Ireland.