'House of Cards' producers want more tax breaks - or else: report

Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:27pm EST
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By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The production company behind Netflix Inc's political thriller "House of Cards" is taking a step that could have come straight from the show's script: threatening to move filming from Maryland unless lawmakers provide enough tax breaks.

Representatives for a top state lawmaker and Governor Martin O'Malley confirmed on Friday that Media Rights Capital had informed them that it was halting production plans until the dispute is resolved.

In a letter that echoes the wrangling seen in the Emmy Award-winning series, the Beverly Hills, California-based company urged the state to pass a law increasing tax credits available for film and television production there.

"In the event sufficient incentives do not become available, we will have to break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state," the company wrote in the undated letters, which officials received in late January.

The Washington Post published the letters earlier on Friday.

A Media Rights Capital representative confirmed the letters but said the company had no other comment. In the letters, production officials did not specify the amount of tax credits they were seeking.

The second season of "House of Cards," which has a particular following in the U.S. capital, was released on February 14.

Starring Kevin Spacey as underhanded Washington politician Francis Underwood and Robin Wright as his cool-as-ice wife, the series has dramatized the uglier side of the U.S. government.   Continued...

Cast member Kevin Spacey poses at the premiere for the second season of the television series "House of Cards" at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, California February 13, 2014. Season 2 premieres on Netflix on February 14. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni