House of Cards fans have been buzzing about the show’s second season, which premiered on Netflix on February 14, 2014. There was also lots of social media chatter about Kate Mara as Zoe Barnes, who formed an intimate relationship with Frank Underwood, her political informant, who in turn used her as a mouthpiece to leak stories to the press and irk his political rivals. Kate Mara on House of Cards

Her character


Zoe Barnes, a political reporter for The Washington Herald and later Slugline. She forms an intimate relationship with Frank Underwood, her political informant, who in turn uses her as a mouthpiece to leak stories to the press and irk his political rivals. (season 1; guest seasons 2 and 4)

What she learned from House of Cards


I learned a lot about how important it is to have no personal life when you’re doing a job like that, she says. It’s so intense and you need to just be present for every moment. You can’t take time off from being an actor and think that if you just go away, people will still be interested in seeing you in other things.

Kate Mara on House of Cards
Kate Mara on House of Cards

Playing real people


Kate Mara doesn’t know how much Zoe Barnes was likeable. That wasn’t her job. I just had to tell Frank [Underwood] what I thought he wanted to hear, and I had to do it in a way that made sense for me, as Kate, she says. It didn’t even matter if she was a good person or not; I just knew that he loved her—and for a certain time, so did I.

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Challenges & Rewards


Kate Mara shares her experiences playing Zoe Barnes, a young and ambitious reporter who uses her position to develop a special relationship with Kevin Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood. The first time she read for the part was in New York City with David Fincher. At that point, she thought it was just an audition and had no idea what they were even filming.

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