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An Extra’s Lot

What do Netflix, Kevin Spacey and a North Beach actor have in common?

Marc Goodman followed a link on Facebook to the set of the big-budget television series House of Cards.
    The first series produced by Netflix, House of Cards remakes a 1990 British series set in the last days of Margaret Thatcher’s administration. This updated take transplants the story to American electoral politics. Director David Fincher is no stranger to Maryland, where he shot part of his 2011 Academy Award-winning The Social Network.
    Fincher is a perfectionist, and filming had been going on for a month — long for a single episode — when Goodman came in. His first lesson was that being an extra can be tough. At Baltimore’s Lyric Opera House, Goodman endured two hours of rehearsals with stand-ins in place of the main actors. Once stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright entered, filming continued for a couple dozen more takes.
    “It was grueling,” says Goodman, a North Beach energy consultant and avocational actor. “But it’s something anybody interested in acting should do at least once.”
    Goodman headed home at 2am, though the shoot continued for another couple of hours.
    Goodman won’t be the last Marylander to appear in productions like House of Cards. Last year, the state passed the Film Production Employment Act, upping the tax credits for productions from $1 million to $7.5 million each year. The provision helped bring the HBO productions Game Change and Veep — and stars Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson — to Maryland.
    House of Cards has a budget of $100 million, against which even Maryland’s $7.5 million credit is small potatoes.
    Look for Goodman on House of Cards later this year, when Netflix subscribers can stream all 13 episodes.