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Why Ben Affleck Passed on Directing 'Homeland' and a Look at the Filmmakers Who Didn't

Photo of Alison Willmore By Alison Willmore | Indiewire October 31, 2012 at 11:30AM

At the Casting Society of America's annual Artios Awards on Monday night, Ben Affleck told the crowd that he had passed on the chance to direct the pilot episode of "Homeland." Per The Hollywood Reporter, the "Argo" filmmaker and star said he had already agreed to helm the first episode of the Showtime drama when his wife Jennifer Garner was offered a role in a film. It was his turn to stay with their kids, and having to head to North Carolina to shoot the episode would make that impossible, so he dropped out:
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Damian Lewis in 'Homeland'
Bob Leverone/Showtime Damian Lewis in 'Homeland'

At the Casting Society of America's annual Artios Awards on Monday night, Ben Affleck told the crowd that he had passed on the chance to direct the pilot episode of "Homeland." Per The Hollywood Reporter, the "Argo" filmmaker and star said he had already agreed to helm the first episode of the Showtime drama when his wife Jennifer Garner was offered a role in a film. It was his turn to stay with their kids, and having to head to North Carolina to shoot the episode would make that impossible, so he dropped out:

"I was sure nothing would happen with the show,” said Affleck, getting a laugh from the crowd. “Now I hate the f----g show. I’ve never seen it. I’m going to attach myself to 14 pilots this year.

What prompted Affleck to tell the story was Libby Goldstein, who had worked on casting Homeland, reading a really clever poem that told the story of how having Affleck attached to the project brought in great talent. A sample couplet was: “Ben? Everyone said/He’s directing the show? Well here is my 'A' list/This thing's gonna go.” It got the night's biggest response from the crowd.

Affleck may not have been able to direct an installment of "Homeland," but the 17 episodes that have aired so far over season one and the in-progress season two have been overseen by some solid directorial talent. Here's a look at some of the filmmakers who've directed episodes so far:

  • Michael Cuesta: The "L.I.E." and "12 and Holding" filmmaker is both an executive producer on the series and its most frequent director of episodes. Cuesta took over the pilot spot apparently vacated by Affleck. He also directed the second ("Grace") and seventh (the important "The Weekend") episodes of season one as well as its finale "Marine One." In season two, Cuesta once again directed the first two episodes, "The Smile" and "Beirut is Back." Elsewhere in the TV world, Cuesta directed the pilot of "Elementary" and "Blue Bloods," and in the past helmed several episodes of "Dexter" (on which he's a co-executive producer) and "Six Feet Under."
  • Lodge Kerrigan: The "Clean, Shaven" filmmaker worked with "Homeland" star Damian Lewis in his terrific, claustrophobic 2004 film "Keane," so it makes sense that Kerrigan's TV debut involved shepherding the English actor through Brody's disastrous car trip in the season two episode "State of Independence."
  • Jeffrey Nachmanoff: The writer/director of Don Cheadle action film "Traitor" already had one twisty story of terrorists and espionage under his belt when he went in to direct two episode from the first season of "Homeland" -- "Semper I," in which the Brodys host a house party and Carrie's warrant runs out, and "Crossfire," which gave us a look at Brody's time in captivity.
  • Clark Johnson: Like Nachmanoff, actor/director Clark Johnson has a background in action-filled film work. While he's directed episodes of everything from "Homicide: Life on the Street" to "The West Wing" to the thematically similar fellow Showtime series "Sleeper Cell," Johnson also helmed "S.W.A.T." and "The Sentinel" for the big screen before directing "Homeland" season one episodes "Blind Spot" and "The Vest."


This article is related to: Television, TV News, Showtime, Homeland, Ben Affleck, Lodge Kerrigan, Michael Cuesta





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