With “Homeland” over, its stars are looking back on the series.
Claire Danes and Damien Lewis virtually reunited in the latest edition of Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” series.
Lewis, who left the series after three seasons, started things off. “You’ve finished eight years of Carrie Mathison, which must have seemed traumatic at times. Were you happy with where it ended up for you?” he asked Danes.
“Yeah, I was. I didn’t want to bludgeon Carrie or Saul or the people who have been tuning in for eight seasons,” Danes said. “It was subversive to give a modicum of hope at the end. The challenge was to do the impossible — to create some sense of resolution and stay true to our tone, and also give people a sense that the central characters haven’t been destroyed or ruined.”
Asked about the differences between “Homeland” and his subsequent series “Billions”, Lewis said, “They are very different shows, no question. Where ‘Homeland’ feels like you can apply a Freudian analysis of every moment, ‘Billions’ feels — apart from the obvious deep-running theme of men and their fathers — almost Shakespearean. It’s pre-Freud. Evil exists. Badness exists just for the fun of it sometimes. Don’t ask too many questions. Just play what you have and play it with relish. Axe has a comic-strip invincibility about him, which is great fun to play.”
He added, “Brody, for me, was always a pawn. He was always… poor Brody. I always felt sorry for Brody. He was always a victim. He was a victim in a larger game. Always.”
Having achieved success as a teenager with “My So Called Life”, Danes looked back on calling a time-out on her acting career in order to study psychology at Yale.
“Actually, I went through an awkward period when I stopped acting and went to university — college, as we say — and didn’t work for three years,” she explained.
“I went into hyper-analytical mode, and I had my socks pulled way up to my knees,” she continued. “When I started acting again, I was approaching it from a really cerebral place, as if I was writing an essay or something. It was not effective. That was problematic. I had to relearn how to be more intuitive and visceral and just let myself reel. Allow myself to go into a more unconscious flow. That analytical work is essential in the beginning, as you’re making sense of the narrative and building the person, and then you have to give yourself over to it.”
Danes also reminisced about how much she enjoyed working with her former co-star. “I loved my partnership with you on so many levels. More than anything, just making the scene happen. You were so present, so invested and spontaneous. I missed you so much when you left,” she admitted.
“I think the thing that I enjoyed so much was that it really mattered to us. It was important. There was such sincerity from everybody,” Lewis responded.