Claire Danes is really worried about Carrie Mathison. Her “Homeland” character has suffered a lot over the years, yet has always managed to ultimately save the country — and the world — from calamity. But at the end of Season 7, Carrie was in pretty bad shape, as she collapsed on Saul’s (Mandy Patinkin) arms after seven months of Russian captivity.
“It’s pretty devastating,” Danes told IndieWire’s TURN IT ON podcast. “I will have to think pretty seriously about what has happened to her during those seven months in institution or something in Moscow. I’ve talked to [executive producer Alex Gansa] about being disciplined about incorporating that into her character in the future. I don’t want it to just be a gimmick or something that served us for that final episode in the seventh season. It’s going to have to become part of her DNA.”
Danes also noted that should Season 8 be the series’ last — as has been rumored — there’s a real symmetry to the original “Homeland” story, which followed the return of Brody (Damian Lewis) from captivity. “That will be interesting to explore, they’re braided again,” Danes said. “I think the mystery of what actually occurred and the repercussions of that on her psychology will be employed somehow. We’ll see.”
Danes isn’t quite ready to say farewell to “Homeland,” although she believes Gansa is “unequivocally done.”
“Wait and see. It feels like the end, but it could not be. Ellipses there,” she said.
IndieWire’s TURN IT ON podcast recently sat down with the Homeland star and producer to discuss the show’s evolution through the years, and how it has more recently mirrored real headlines as it takes on Russian meddling in American affairs. We also talked about a controversial choice at the end of the season, and that stunning cliffhanger at the end of the season. We began by discussing the when the show will get up and running, and how first, Danes has another, more personal project in development. Listen below!
Kata Vermes / Showtime
Before worrying about Season 8, Danes has a more pressing concern: The impending birth of her second child. Production has been pushed to accommodate Danes’ pregnancy, which has also given the show’s writers more time to plan out the season. And in the case of Gansa, he’s “on the first vacation he’s had in about eight years. My procreation has allowed him to get out of ‘Homeland’ Dodge for a second… I’m glad he has a chance to have his imagination rest and recover.”
Among the potential possibilities for Season 8 is a return to Israel, where the show filmed a great deal during the early part of its run. “I think Alex fantasized about creating a symmetry by ending the season in Israel because it was an Israeli show that our show was based on, and we shot a fair amount in Israel over the first couple of seasons,” she said. “But I don’t know how realistic that is or if he’s still loyal to [the idea].”
Danes marveled at the show’s evolution over the years — and how its depiction of a president with the morals and strength to resign for the good of the country has become wish fulfillment. “Our show was not supposed to be escapism in any way. It was supposed to be a pretty threatening idea,” she said. “It became a better version of what currently have.”
The star also noted Carrie’s continued string of romantic relationships that have ended in the paramour’s death (“She’s a back widow for sure”), and admitted that she had real trouble seeing Carrie be such a terrible mother.
“It was hard to play her being a truly bad mother, especially as I was pregnant,” she said. “I do admire the writers for taking real risks. They drive her to the edge and test our sympathy. It can be unnerving for me. But ultimately I’m grateful for that challenge.”
But overall, Danes said she’s still protective of — and admires — her “Homeland” alter ego.
“I’ve now taken it for granted that I get to play this character that kicks such profound ass all the time and boy is that a nice thing,” she said. “I’m impressed with her resiliency. She should have died many times over. And she hasn’t quite yet, which is miraculous. I like her, I still like her. I love that she’s so uncensored and uninhibited. She’s so many things that women are not allowed to be: Strident and hungry and authoritative and decisive. Ambitious. She’s determined. Absolutely in charge of her life. She’s like a Joan of Arc character, a servant of her country. It’s quite enjoyable to play.”
IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON with Michael Schneider” is a weekly dive into what’s new and what’s now on TV — no matter what you’re watching or where you’re watching it. With an enormous amount of choices overwhelming even the most sophisticated viewer, “TURN IT ON” is a must-listen for TV fans looking to make sense of what to watch and where to watch it.
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