What you need to know about the 'House of Cards' hottie

By Tim Stack
March 01, 2013 at 05:00 AM EST

As the boozy and promiscuous Philadelphia politician Peter Russo on Netflix’s drama, the 36-year-old actor is the breakout of a starry cast that includes heavyweights Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. ”I was really lucky,” says Stoll. ”Every scene there was something really fun to do, something juicy, either incredibly exciting or sexy or drug-fueled or depressing.”

Being part of Netflix’s first original scripted series meant working with a highly pedigreed creative team, led by exec producer David Fincher (The Social Network). ”It really felt like a big-budget film in the ’70s,” says Stoll, whose most notable credit before Cards was playing Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The directors, he says, are actually quite similar: ”What unites them and makes them great directors is they have such a clear vision of what they want. You don’t feel like you’re just throwing things out into the ether. That’s a great partner for an actor to have.”

There’s only one downside to his new gig: Nude scenes and delicious catering don’t mix. Barbecued ribs, a favorite of Kevin Spacey’s devilish politician Francis Underwood, became a regular offscreen treat for the actors as well. ”Once a week they would have ribs [on set],” Stoll says. ”I didn’t have them because I was starving myself so I could be naked on camera.”