Thursday, 22 October 2009


According to The Hollywood Reporter, Media Rights Capital and David Fincher (Fight Club, The Curious case of Benjamin Button) are developing a US weekly version of House of Cards (1) - the iconic BBC political thriller miniseries adapted from the 1989 novel by Michael Dobbs.

House of Cards (1990) starred the great Ian Richardson as Francis Urquhart (initials FU - Dobbs wrote that the concept of his book came from that!) a modern Richard III practicing his total lack of conscience and his consumed art of manipulation as the Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, destroying careers and lives on his way to 10 Downing Street. Urquhart died at the end of the book, but BBC had other plans and Dobbs brought him back in two other novels, To Play the King (1992) and The Final Cut (1994) - respectively adapted with Ian Richardson in 1993 and 1995.

The House of Cards trilogy is considered as one of the greatest British television programmes ever and had even echoes in the real British political life. Francis Urquhart and his catch phrase « You might very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment » are part of the national Popular culture in the UK. On a personal level the novels rank among your humble servant's favourite books and I'm a huge fan of the television trilogy (actually I even tried to help a little to get a DVD release in France).

House of Cards and its sequels are intrinsically British, written by a former insider of the British Conservative Party, describing with brilliance (in both the books and the adaptations) the British political system. Now another British television classic gets the stateside treatment, as if Life on Mars US was not the last straw. Remember the American movie adaptation of State of Play, a BBC miniseries influenced by the legacy of House of Cards... Try to remember.

We all knew a US version was inevitable (NBC is remaking Prime Suspect - Good luck!) but in some respects the only proper US nod to Francis Urquhart is Profit, the short-lived 1996 series shown on Fox and starring Adrian Pasdar as Jim Profit, the ultimate corporate sociopath. Just revive Profit and send him to Capitol Hill (2).

Me not liking the idea of an American remake of House of Cards? You might very well think that but I couldn't possibly comment.

(2) Anyway, sooner or later and with or without Pasdar, Profit will be back. Tom Hardy would be fantastic.

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