Hot Show, Dirty Politics: 'House of Cards' Actress Tanis Parenteau
The second season of Netflix’s political drama House of Cards, which was released February 14, is dense with Native American subjects, from casinos to corruption to federal recognition. Appropriately, there are a great many Native American actors who lent their talents to the widely acclaimed web series this time around.
One of those gracing the screen is Métis actress Tanis Parenteau. Parenteau, who holds a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from The New School for Drama in New York City, played the role of “Tammy,” a server in an Indian casino. Parenteau recently sat down with ICTMN to discuss her role in House of Cards, and the scene she filmed with Comanche actor Gil Birmingham that never made it into the series:
How did you go about getting the role?
So I freelance with a management company here in New York City, and they just called and said they had an audition for me with [Casting Director] Julie Schubert and I went in. I had two scenes to audition with and I went in and did them with Julie. … And then there was a span of two weeks between my audition and when they offered me the part. And in that two weeks I kept getting phone calls from my manager every other day saying, “You’re on a very, very short list.” And then another phone call was that they wanted to add two more scenes to my part, and wanted to know if I’d be willing to do a little nudity. I said, "Yep." I said, "I trust the show. I trust the writers. I trust the network." So I knew that it was all in good taste; I wasn’t worried about that at all. Whatever they wanted me to do I was down for doing.
Did you have any scenes with Kevin Spacey or Robin Wright?
No, I didn’t. My first day there I get out of the van and we’re walking to the soundstage because they said they wanted me to meet the director, James Foley. So, they’re leading me to the soundstage and I hear them say, “Kevin’s stepping,” and that means that he was coming out of his trailer and then I got goose bumps. And then he walked right beside me to the soundstage and I got to watch him and Robin Wright do a scene as soon as I got to the set. It was amazing -- watching the two masters do their thing. I had a scene with Gil Birmingham, but it didn’t make it into the final cut of the episode. It was so good! But those things happen. Working with Michael Kelly was amazing. He's a pro at what he does.
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