We are only a week into 2019 and yet, it feels like it’s been here forever. That’s probably because 2018 felt like such a slog, where 12 months felt like 12 lifetimes, and we’ve been aching to turn the page on a new year. And lost in the shuffle of all our awards season fervor and endless numbers of Best of 2018 lists, we somehow missed an interesting interview with a surprising nugget of information involving Michael Mann, Al Pacino, and the first major hit series on Netflix.
Recently (err, November-ish…sorry, it was a busy end of 2018!), writer Eric Roth took part in the THR’s annual roundtable discussions. He, of course, was on board to discuss writing Bradley Cooper’s massive film “A Star is Born.” And in the process of discussing that musical drama, he let a little bit of information slip that caught our cinephile attention. According to Roth, he was given the script for Netflix’s “House of Cards” series and presented it to David Fincher, and the rest is history. But what he said before that is the real juicy tidbit.
Before discussing Fincher’s involvement, Roth said, “A certain agent came to with ‘House of Cards.’ I had known about it because Michael Mann, Al Pacino, and I were going to do it as a film, at one point.” Say what? Mann, Pacino, and Roth were going to make a feature film about “House of Cards?” That could have been incredible.
For those that don’t know the history of “House of Cards,” the series was originally a novel published in 1989 that was turned into a popular UK TV series before it was finally adapted for Netflix. The original novel, as well as both series, followed a savvy, manipulative, and amoral politician named Francis that used any means necessary to gain control and power in government. If the publication date is any indication, we’re talking a film version somewhere in the ‘90s. Perhaps this is a project that the duo of Mann and Pacino were interested in tackling after “Heat?”
Either way, knowing that Pacino was interested at one point in what would become a role made iconic by Kevin Spacey is fascinating. Spacey’s Southern, Clinton-esque politician character could have been yet another role where Pacino was able to flex his considerable acting muscle. In retrospect, it feels like something ‘90s-era Pacino would have been incredible playing.
Alas, we’ll never know, as the series is now entered legendary status thanks to Netflix, and a feature film version seems like an impossibility. But, the Michael Mann/Al Pacino version I have playing in my head is pretty amazing.