Damian Lewis, an Emmy Award-winner for his portrayal of Nicholas Brody on “Homeland,” discusses that character’s arc on the most recent season of the Showtime thriller.
Typically, actors sign on to these serialized shows for a five-year hitch. That wasn’t necessarily guaranteed to you, that you would get a full five years out of this character?
No, it’s never guaranteed to the actor. The contracts are weighted heavily in favor of the studios, and you are rewarded financially as a result. There is a quid pro quo there. But it’s right — the control of the material must remain with the writers and the studio.
Brody, it was just unclear from the get-go, how long he would be required for. Certainly, in the conversations I had with [“Homeland” creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon], it was intimated to me very strongly that I would only be there for a period of time. They ended up creating such a compelling, unpredictable, sad and ambiguous character who was capable of so much damage — he was able to affect story on such a grand scale. They created a monster that they couldn’t quite control. Sometimes it feels like that to me. The thought of having to continue to write him was too hard, perhaps. It was going to create too much of a challenge. I sympathize with them. Brody’s a very unbalancing force.
Did you have opportunities to say your goodbyes to co-stars like Claire Danes?
We all had a little tear in our eye and a lump in our throat in Morocco, on the very last night. That last scene, of Brody’s demise, was shot on our very last night of filming. We were exhausted and emotional by the time we got to 7 in the morning, as the sun was coming up over Rabat. And we said goodbye to each other there, very quickly, very simply. The way that actors cope with these things, you forge friendships and allegiances over a small period of time. But you always hope that you’ll reconnect somewhere down the road. It’s a way of softening those moments, which can be quite traumatic — suddenly saying goodbye to a whole family that you’ve created.