PREVIEW: Homeland Stars Q&A

The hit US show arrives in the UK and trust me when I say this is drama that is worthy of your allegiance.

Can you truly trust a man who has been held in captivity for years that might be plotting at terrorist attack?

This Sunday see the start of Channel 4’s new drama series Homeland starring Damian Lewis and Claire Danes. The show is set around a US soldier who is found alive in Afghanistan after years in captivity and although nearly everyone is elated he has come home a CIA analyst believes him to be a traitor plotting a major strike against his homeland of America.

When CIA agent Carrie Mathison’s unorthodox investigation of threats to US security in Iraq leads to a serious diplomatic incident, she is stripped of her field status and assigned to a desk job. Although her investigation has been cut short, she hears from her Iraqi source that an American prisoner of war has been ‘turned’. Carrie becomes convinced that this information relates to the return of Sgt Nicholas Brody, missing in action (and presumed dead) for eight years. After receiving intelligence on an al-Qaeda safe house in Afghanistan, Navy SEALS stormed the premises, killed 13 terrorists, and found Brody in a cell. The CIA treats the rescue as a hero’s return from war, but the timing is too suspicious for Carrie to ignore. Already on thin ice, she breaks protocol to prove her theory that Brody was turned during his many years in captivity, is working for al-Qaeda, and now poses a major threat to his own country. Brody receives a hero’s welcome at home, but it’s clear that the years of torture and abuse at the hands of al-Qaeda have taken their toll. Physically scarred and emotionally plagued by harrowing flashbacks of his long incarceration, he struggles to reconnect with his wife and teenage children, who feel that a stranger has returned to them.

The first episode sees the ramifications of his return in the political arena and his home life where his wife and children have seemingly moved on with their lives both emotionally and physically. This drama has already been given a second series after a very successful run in the states receiving both critical and viewer acclaim and boasting President Obama as one of it loyal fans.

So why has this show done so well. There are various reasons but as it says from the people who brought you 24 so you already know you are in good company. However I also think this does it disservice because while 24 had great cast and production values I gave up on it after 5 series of the same story and Homeland is like a 24 for an older and smarter audience that want to see great storytelling with more gritty and real themes. An easy way would be to say it is 24 meets the Wire meets West Wing to a degree. High praise I know but a worthy one.

The show also boasts two of England’s finest actors working today. Damian Lewis and David Harewood proof that we do indeed produce the best talent but alongside them are some great American actors including Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes. At 12 episodes long you know it will be a compelling story with an ending in site without having to watch half a years worth of stories.

The series is based on the Israeli series Hatufim (Abducted) created by Gideon Raff but the creators have been keen to state that this version is its own beast. Below are some pics from the series to give you a flavour of what to expect. Then check below for a few answers from two of the stars of the show.

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We joined Damian Lewis and David Harewood at BAFTA for a special screening of Homeland episode one and afterwards were treated to a special Q&A.

Damian Lewis said that he loved the script as soon as he read it and was not worried about the comparison with his Band of Brothers character. He was pleased because it was a very dense character to learn and explore. They joked about the fact that this show not only had 2 British actors in its leading cast but a black and a red haired man which was unusual as was a lead character with bipolar disorder and was brave enough to tackle it head on.

Harewood spoke about his admiration of Mandy Patinkin and that he watched his acting and how he was like a rock and how much he learnt from just watching him. Talking about his character Harewood said he found it hard to connect with himself so he decided to play it very straight and not reveal anything until the last few episodes. He also spoke the lack of strong black roles in the UK and that was why he had to look at the states for meaty roles..

Damian Lewis spoke about the naked torture scenes and how it was kept light between takes. Lewis said that he never took his work home with him so it was easy to switch off. Homeland starts on Channel 4 this Sunday at 9.30PM and the cast also includes Morena Baccarin, Diego Klattenhoff, Jackson Pace and Morgan Saylor.

GS Reporter: Montoya

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