Mi­randa Otto

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - DEB­BIE SCHIPP TV WRITER

Aussie ac­tor Mi­randa Otto’s latest role as Al­li­son Carr, the CIA’s Ber­lin sta­tion chief, in hit US se­ries Home­land is a far cry from her high­est-pro­file char­ac­ter of war­rior princess Éowyn in The Lord of the Rings tril­ogy. Al­li­son is just as stoic, but far more real.

Otto, 47, joins Home­land along­side multi-award win­ners Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin as the fo­cus of the show moves to Ber­lin in sea­son five.

What drew you to the role? It’s a great role. I got very lucky on this one. It’s so hard to think of what I can tell you and what I can’t (she jokes, CIA-style, ‘it’s clas­si­fied’). She’s ca­reer driven, on a fan­tas­tic tra­jec­tory. Some­one was ask­ing me ‘is she type A?’ I think to work in this busi­ness (the CIA) they pretty much have to be kind of type A. She’s very much on the front foot and she’s ballsy, def­i­nitely. She is very in con­trol and very, sure of what she’s do­ing.

Is it hard to join a show like Home­land in sea­son five when the core cast and suc­cess is well es­tab­lished? It’s a lit­tle daunt­ing com­ing to work with ac­tors that you re­spect so much. At the be­gin­ning it’s a lit­tle dis­arm­ing. But at the same time, com­ing onto a show that is al­ready run­ning is bril­liant be­cause peo­ple know the show re­ally well. Work­ing on a show when you are still try­ing to dis­cover it along with the au­di­ence can be tough.

Home­land is be­ing shot en­tirely in Ber­lin this sea­son — why? Ber­lin is such a great back­drop for the show. I love the way they went to Cape Town last year for that sea­son, be­cause the show is so in­ter­na­tional. But I think about movies like The Bourne Iden­tity, and when they shot in Europe there was some­thing so great about that. There is some­thing — so much history of es­pi­onage in Europe. And then in Ber­lin there is not only the history but how Ber­lin is to­day — how vi­brant and in­ter­est­ing and po­lit­i­cally at the cen­tre of Europe. Sadly my Ger­man is al­most non-ex­is­tent.

How does that work with fam­ily (hus­band Peter O’Brien and daugh­ter, Darcey, 10) in LA? As ac­tors we are ac­cus­tomed to mov­ing around, and it’s al­ways great to live and work in a city — you feel; like you are truly liv­ing a life there. The com­mit­ment to the show is five to six months, we started in June, I’m home in LA this week, we’ll fin­ish around the end of Novem­ber. My daugh­ter was on school hol­i­days for a time so that was great — the fam­ily was there (in Ber­lin) then.

Act­ing is in your blood (Otto is the daugh­ter of ac­tors Barry and Lind­say Otto, and the sis­ter of Gra­cie Otto), so what does Darcey want to be when she grows up? Who knows what she’ll be? If she wants to be an ac­tor of course I’d be for it. I keep try­ing to show her the cold hard truth of the act­ing pro­fes­sion, but I think I was the same ... you al­ways have stars in your eyes.

Is there some­one you’d love to play? Hil­lary Clin­ton. What a woman, she is fan­tas­tic, Like, God, what a life, what an in­tel­lect and what savvy.


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