Tak­ing POWER

It is destiny that Home­land’s Eliz­a­beth Mar­vel is play­ing a US pres­i­dent while the #MeToo move­ment turns the old world on its head,

Herald Sun - Hit - - COVER STORY - writes Colin Vick­ery

Eliz­a­beth Mar­vel is mad as hell and is not go­ing to take it any more. The 48-year-old ac­tor is hav­ing a fist-pump mo­ment af­ter the rise of the #MeToo move­ment and the down­fall of preda­tory men in Hol­ly­wood, in­clud­ing for­mer House Of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey.

Mar­vel is play­ing US Pres­i­dent Eliz­a­beth Keane in the sev­enth sea­son of Home­land

— the em­bod­i­ment of a pow­er­ful woman.

But in real life Mar­vel has ex­pe­ri­enced a range of inap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour that is be­ing called out by ev­ery­one from Rose Mc­Gowan to Uma Thur­man to Natalie Port­man.

“I am so deeply grate­ful that it is hap­pen­ing,” Mar­vel says. “Like any so­cial change it is messy and it is com­pli­cated and it is hard and it is painful and it takes time.

“I feel like we are in the very early baby steps — but the thing that is so amaz­ing is that the con­ver­sa­tion is hap­pen­ing and that be­hav­iour that has been so long tol­er­ated, fi­nally col­lec­tively women are able to say, ‘Enough — no more’.

“I have ex­pe­ri­enced a ‘eureka’ awak­en­ing of look­ing back on things of, ‘Oh my god, I laughed at that joke’ or ‘I smiled and walked away from that sit­u­a­tion’ and re­al­is­ing that is not ac­cept­able.”

Spacey has had a spec­tac­u­lar fall from grace. He was dumped from House Of Cards, and redacted from movie All the Money In the World af­ter al­le­ga­tions that in 1986 he made ad­vances to a 14-year-old boy, An­thony Rapp, who later starred in Star Trek: Dis­cov­ery.

Mar­vel played Demo­crat can­di­date Heather Dun­bar on House of Cards.

“When you are deal­ing with sex­ual pre­da­tion — full-on preda­tory be­hav­iour — it is crim­i­nal,” Mar­vel says. “It is not ac­cept­able and it is im­por­tant that any­one ex­hibit­ing that be­hav­iour is held to ac­count.”

Sea­son 6 of Home­land ended with a failed as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt on Keane, who then had up­wards of 200 peo­ple — who she be­lieved to be con­spir­a­tors — de­tained.

As sea­son seven starts, for­mer CIA op­er­a­tive and ad­viser to Keane, Car­rie Mathi­son (Claire Danes), is back in Wash­ing­ton and wants to take on the Keane regime, which seems on the brink of dic­ta­tor­ship. One of the peo­ple ar­rested was Mathi­son’s for­mer boss, Saul Beren­son (Mandy Patinkin).

“Eliz­a­beth is in a state of deep and in­tense para­noia and jus­ti­fi­ably so, be­cause peo­ple re­ally are out to get her,” Mar­vel says. “She has to be­gin by dom­i­nat­ing the play­ing field. She has to take con­trol of her power again as the leader of the free world — but it is a very slip­pery slope from dom­i­nance to tyranny.

“Work­ing with Claire is fan­tas­tic. She sets the tone for the whole show.”

Mar­vel says she re­searched dif­fer­ent politi­cians when it came to cre­at­ing Keane. Is there also a bit of cur­rent US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in there?

“In Amer­ica we have an un­re­pen­tant misog­y­nist run­ning the coun­try who is para­noid ... a lot of his ag­gres­sion is aimed at women and mi­nori­ties,” Mar­vel says. “That is where the per­son­al­i­ties are very dif­fer­ent.

“I get a lot of very pos­i­tive feed­back (about Keane). It is such a great mo­ment to be play­ing a fe­male pres­i­dent.

“But it is also im­por­tant to play some­one who is flawed and not just some sort of fe­male su­per­hero.

“What I would like view­ers to ask them­selves this sea­son is would they be re­spond­ing the same way to my char­ac­ter if it was a man do­ing the things Keane is do­ing.”

Misog­yny is at the heart of the rise of the #MeToo move­ment but Mar­vel is con­fi­dent things are chang­ing.

“I have a young son (Si­las Camp) and I look at the state of the world and it fills me with so much anx­i­ety for him and his gen­er­a­tion,” she says. “Yet there is so­cial change hap­pen­ing like #MeToo that is deeply en­cour­ag­ing and it re­minds me progress is be­ing made.”

WATCH HOME­LAND, SBS, Fri­day, 8.30pm



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