The popular political drama "House of Cards," whose production is based in Harford County, has been renewed by Netflix for a sixth season, the director of the Maryland Film Office confirmed.
Shooting will begin in Maryland for the season by the end of this month, according to Jack Gerbes, executive director of the Maryland Film Office.
"We're excited, very excited, because not only does it put a great spotlight on Maryland and Harford County, but the prime reason we go to attract these productions is the economic impact on the state of Maryland," Gerbes said Wednesday.
The series stars Kevin Spacey, as the scheming U.S. President Frank Underwood, and Robin Wright, as First Lady Claire Underwood. Many of the interior scenes are filmed at a Joppa area sound stage complex, while other location scenes have been shot throughout Harford County and elsewhere in the Baltimore region.
As filming begins later this month, a casting call has been scheduled for Friday, Nov. 10, seeking paid background performers for "a popular political drama."
Gerbes could not confirm if the casting call is for "House of Cards."
In Maryland, "House of Cards" pumped $129 million into the Maryland economy during filming for Season 5, Gerbes said, and 1,800 crew, actors and extras were hired. Goods were rented or bought from 1,757 Maryland businesses.
Particular to Harford, of those 1,757 businesses, more than 325 were in Harford County, Gerbes said.
"It has a huge economic impact and direct impact on Harford County, but then there's also indirect," he said, adding he hears of cast and crew patronizing their favorite restaurants. "So they're out spending money that wouldn't be here otherwise."
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said he was "pleasantly surprised" the show was renewed.
"That was good news. Once a series has been on for a while, every so often there's speculation it's winding down," Glassman said.
It's good news for several reasons, most importantly the economic impact it has on small businesses.
"But it's also sort of a feather in our cap," Glassman said. "When we go to New York or do economic development, we always get questions about 'House of Cards.' Anything to do with Hollywood, movies, catches people's attention."
Visit Harford!, the county's tourism agency, has used the popularity of "House of Cards" to help promote tourism for the county, the agency's Executive Director Greg Pizzuto said.
Someone from the Maryland Office of Tourism had taken a trip to Asia and when people found out he was from Maryland, they wanted to know about "House of Cards," Pizzuto said.
"We have bought advertisements internationally, in Europe and Asia," he said. "Has that resulted in anyone coming here? We don't know, but we have cashed in on the popularity of the show."
People everywhere want to talk about "House of Cards," Gerbes, a Forest Hill resident, said.
If people find out he's from Harford County or he's wearing his "House of Cards" baseball cap, people always start talking to him.
"They're so excited, they want to talk about it," he said. "It generates some excitement."
While the conversation is all well and good, Gerbes said, the bottom line is the bottom line.
"Jobs are created and money is spent directly in Harford County," he said.
The Aegis: Top stories
Visit Harford! has also created a tour of "House of Cards" filming locations for fans, even though many of the places may not look like they do in the show, he said.
As director of the Maryland Film Office, Gerbes said he's "ecstatic" the show is back for a sixth season.
"I'm very proud they decided to come to Maryland and stay in Maryland," Gerbes said. "And as a Harford County resident, I'm excited that it's here."
Glassman binge watches "House of Cards," he said, especially when he's stressed, he'll put it on in his office in the background while he's doing paperwork.
"For me, it's like eating candy," Glassman said of the politics of the show.
The casting call is set for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Bel Air Armory. Interested extras, who must be 18 to apply, should wear their "best" outfit, dressed in business professional, dresses or tuxedos. They should be "camera ready," with men and women asked to have their hair styled and women to have makeup applied.
In casting calls, some of which have been billed as being for "House of Cards," thousands of extra hopefuls have lined the streets of Bel Air, hoping for a chance to appear on the show.