It hits home

Af­ter tak­ing out a string of Em­mys, hopes are high for the sec­ond se­ries of psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller Home­land, writes Anooska Tucker- Evans

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

THE ex­pec­ta­tions for sea­son two of Home­land are high – over­whelm­ingly high.

The first se­ries of the counter- ter­ror­ism drama had au­di­ences and crit­ics around the world on the edge of their seats and singing the show’s praises.

It changed the way many looked at the so- called ‘‘ war on ter­ror’’, was touted as US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s favourite pro­gram, and re­cently won a string of Em­mys for best drama, writ­ing, and lead ac­tors Damian Lewis and Claire Danes.

It’s a lot to live up to for creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gor­don, also be­hind hit se­ries 24, and their team of ex­pe­ri­enced writ­ers.

‘‘ The six of us sit in a shabby, win­dow­less room and break story to­gether,’’ Gansa says.

‘‘ We share the in­ter­mit­tent glory and those grind­ing hours of ask­ing our­selves, ‘ What should hap­pen next?’.’’

Last sea­son fol­lowed Marine Sgt Ni­cholas Brody (Lewis), a pris­oner- of- war- turnedter­ror­ist, on a se­cret mis­sion from his for­mer cap­tor, Pak­istani ter­ror­ist Abu Nazir, to avenge the death of his son, the vic­tim of a drone at­tack or­dered by US Vice Pres­i­dent Walden.

Fight­ing to prove Brody was up to no good was bipo­lar CIA agent Carrie Mathi­son ( Danes), whose de­ter­mi­na­tion to cap­ture her tar­get led to her sack­ing and a men­tal break­down.

This sea­son kicks off six months af­ter the grip­ping fi­nale in which Brody tried to blow up him­self, the vice pres­i­dent, and a room full of politi­cians, only to be talked out of it by his teenage daugh­ter.

The POW is now a newly elected US con­gress­man and prospec­tive vice- pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, but also a re­luc­tant sol­dier for Nazir.

Carrie, re­cov­er­ing from her break­down, spends her time teach­ing English and gar­den­ing, be­fore be­ing re­cruited by the CIA for a one- off mis­sion to Beirut, Le­banon.

‘‘ Brody is brought back into two very dis­tinct re­al­i­ties,’’ Lewis says of his char­ac­ter.

‘‘ Through the first sea­son he’s in a sort of state of limbo where he’s wait­ing for some sort of in­struc­tion [ from Nazir].

‘‘ He’s ac­tu­ally not sure what it’s go­ing to be and when that [ sui­cide bomb] vest is handed to him, you know, I think that’s a sur­prise to him as it is to any­one else.

‘‘ At the time, he has very real is­sues of just re­turn­ing to his fam­ily, in­te­grat­ing with his fam­ily, learn­ing how to be in­ti­mate with his wife again. And I think that grounds the show very im­por­tantly. And I think it’s ac­tu­ally what peo­ple have re­sponded to.’’

What has also struck a chord with au­di­ences has been the in­tense re­la­tion­ship be­tween Brody and Carrie.

The pair had a brief af­fair in the first sea­son and, this time around, the story fol­lows their doomed ro­mance.

‘‘ Carrie and Brody will al­ways be drawn to one an­other be­cause there’s a sort of, frankly, un­healthy co- de­pen­dency there be­tween two peo­ple who suf­fer from con­di­tions,’’ Lewis says. ‘‘ She has a volatile tem­per­a­ment that man­i­fests, and she be­comes clearer on what that is as the sea­son goes on. He suf­fers from post- trau­matic stress dis­or­der and what­ever hid­den agenda he may have.’’

Danes says her char­ac­ter has ‘‘ an in­trepid spirit’’ and that she wanted to hang out with her. ‘‘ She is preter­nat­u­rally gifted. Her mind works faster than most peo­ple’s.’’

The show has a very well- known fan in the US Pres­i­dent, which is not some­thing Danes says fazes her. ‘‘ No pres­sure,’’ the ac­tor says.

‘‘ It’s way cool that he is a fan. It speaks to the rel­e­vancy of the show and it’s hugely val­i­dat­ing.’’

She says the part of Carrie, who was orig­i­nally called Claire, was writ­ten with her in mind. It’s one of the rea­sons she is so pas­sion­ate about the role, which she was only too happy to voice when she took home the Emmy award for best ac­tress.

While Lewis is thrilled he said yes to the role, which also earnt him an Emmy, he ini­tially had reser­va­tions.

‘‘ I did make very clear early on that . . . if there were go­ing to be easy par­al­lels drawn be­tween Is­lam and vi­o­lence, I wouldn’t do it,’’ he says. ‘‘ I wouldn’t be in­ter­ested in

Carrie and Brody will al­ways be drawn to one an­other be­cause there’s a sort of, frankly, un­healthy co- de­pen­dency there

– Damian Lewis

telling that story be­cause it’s not a fair re­flec­tion of what is ac­tu­ally go­ing on for a ma­jor­ity of peo­ple, so that would be ir­re­spon­si­ble.

‘‘ And they worked re­ally hard and kept to their word . . . for the Is­lamic faith to be a nur­tur­ing, sus­tain­ing force for good for Brody.’’

How­ever, al­though now happy with his choice, he knows his time on the show is short- lived. Orig­i­nally the char­ac­ter of Brody was cre­ated for just one sea­son, but the con­nec­tion be­tween he and Carrie was too much to deny and the creators ex­tended the role into the sec­ond sea­son.

But Gansa re­veals Lewis is now on bor­rowed time. ‘‘ The pos­si­bil­ity of Brody’s demise re­ally does ex­ist,’’ Gansa says.

‘‘ Whether it hap­pens this sea­son or next, or the sea­son af­ter, it will hap­pen when the BrodyCar­rie story stops feel­ing com­pelling.

‘‘ And, by the way, that day will be a very mourn­ful one around here, be­cause the show will fun­da­men­tally change at that point.’’

HOME­LAND,

TDT, tonight, 8.30

Ed­i­tor Stu­art Gil­lies Chief Sub Ed­i­tor Kirsty Eade Con­trib­u­tors Leigh Paatsch, Craig Miller, Re­becca Fitzgib­bon, Jar­rad Be­van, Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Ni­chol­son TV Writ­ers Deb­bie Schipp, Tim Martain, Dar­ren Dev­lyn, Anooska Tucker- Evans, James Wigney Pro­duc­tion NEWSCen­tral Queens­land De­signer Kris­ten Bur­rows, Khan Ti­hema

Ad­ver­tis­ing In­quiries Greg Crow­den [ p] 03 6230 0773 [ f] 03 6230 0766 [ e] crow­deng@ dbl. newsltd. com. au Cover Damian Lewis and Claire Danes in Home­land Pub­lished by News Mag­a­zines. Pro­pri­etor and pub­lisher Davies Broth­ers Pty Ltd ( ACN 009 475 754) of 91- 93 Mac­quarie St, Ho­bart, 7000 for in­ser­tion in the Sun­day Tas­ma­nian.

❏ Pro­grams sub­ject to late changes by the TV sta­tions.

BRING­ING IT HOME: Mandy Patinkin, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis in Home­land.

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