Producers for the Netflix series House of Cards requested permission to film two episodes in the United Nations Security Council chamber – it appeared the crew would get their permit, but regulation mandates that consent must be granted by all 15 members of the Council. However, just half-an-hour before the deadline to officially raise objections, Russian diplomat Mikael Agasandyan vetoed the request.
The UN Secretary-General’s office, which wanted the shoot to go forward, had promised the House Of Cards production would take place only at night, and over the weekend in mid-August — times when world crises have never been known to erupt. But with the entire organization working by consensus, all it took was one permanent member to say no.
“Upon thorough reflection, we are objecting to the proposed filming in the Security Council,” a Russian diplomat wrote in an email to council members late Tuesday afternoon. “We are of (the) opinion that the Security Council premises should be available at any time and on short notice. Besides that, we consistently insist that the Security Council premises are not an appropriate place for filming, staging, etc.”
China also seemed dubious about filming the series in the Security Council, but said it would reconsider, if council members were granted script approval, Foreign Policy added.
This isn’t the first time this has happened.
More than 50 years ago, the United Nations denied a request from Alfred Hitchcock to film a murder scene for his 1959 movie, North by Northwest, in the UN’s North Delegates’ Lounge.
The Security Council did allow the council chamber to be used for an Annie Leibovitz photo shoot of then-U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice for Vogue magazine; it also gave thumbs up to the filming of a French diplomatic comedy Quai D’Orsay.
House Of Cards could still shoot at the UN, only in another section of the complex.