Emmys: 'House of Cards' Nominees Credit Netflix for Creative Freedom

David Fincher “was very excited; he is usually quite reserved,” said nominated composer Jeff Beal.
"House of Cards"

When Netflix earned nine Emmy nominations, those recognized in the creative arts categories were quick to praise the online platform for providing creative freedom beyond what might be viewed as typical in television.

“Netflix was able to guarantee two seasons,” said nominated composer Jeff Beal. “We felt we had their trust and a long leash. They were supportive but hands-off [creatively].”

Director-producer David Fincher assembled some new members for his team, including nominated director of photography Eigil Bryld as well as longtime collaborators like nominated editor Kirk Baxter, who with Angus Wall won Oscars for Fincher’s The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

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“[Fincher] was very excited,” Beal said of the nominations. “He is usually quite reserved, but he said he wants to get together. I guess he wants to celebrate … or get back to work. We are workaholics.”

On creating a series for Netflix, Beal noted that “when you get into a [rhythm], you don’t have commercial breaks to change the dynamic. Scenes can run. … It feels more cinematic.”

“We approached House of Cards as a movie,” agreed cinematographer Bryld, who filmed the series with a customized Red Epic camera. “Shadows were part of the palette. There is always an undercurrent of something sinister and hidden motives.”

For Beal, a favorite scene from the pilot is one during which “Frank [Kevin Spacey] tells his wife, Claire [Robin Wright], that he didn’t get the job of secretary of state, and he stays up all night smoking cigarettes and plotting. It’s filled with dramatic tension and meaning. Musically it's a great microcosm of Frank and Claire’s world. [The music] was moody; the pacing was very deliberate -- almost intentionally not trying to speed up the action.”

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Editor Baxter was on vacation when the nominations were announced but sent the following statement:

“I'm on a holiday of a lifetime in the south of France with my family and dear friends staying in their villa; this day was already as good as days get, an Emmy nod puts it over the top. This is terrific news for Fincher and all involved in House of Cards.”

E-mail: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com

Twitter: @CGinLA