"Homeland" actors Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Rupert Friend, as well executive producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, came to the Television Critics Summer 2013 press tour on Monday to talk about where the show is headed in Season 3.
We've got a liveblog of the half-hour panel below, so check that out for all things Carrie and Brody (and Saul!) and to whet your appetite, check out the first "Homeland" Season 3 teaser below:
07/29/2013 8:49 PM EDT
It emerges that Rupert Friend only got a phone this year. He also came out on stage wearing a plain white shirt, dark trousers and suspenders. So of course someone asks him, "Are you Amish?"
The entire panel collapses with laughter.
"That is by far the best question," Danes says. She asks Friend if this is his "rumspringa," and they break up even more.
And that's basically the end of the "Homeland" panel. No questions about the state of Saul's beard; you'll have to wait until the Sept. 29 Season 3 premiere to see how that is faring.
07/29/2013 8:46 PM EDT
Could there be a "Game of Thrones"-style bloodbath in Season 3, with major characters biting the dust?
Gordon: "No comment."
Lewis is asked about whether he thinks his character will be killed off this season, and he says that "these guys have been trying to kill me since the end of Season 1." He's gotten some "stays of execution" along the way, but ultimately, he just goes with the flow.
In his view, good storytellers must be "ruthless with story and ruthless with character," Lewis says. "I'm sure there will be more [deaths] -- it's the world the characters are set in."
And keeping surprises coming is "what they've done so well for the first two years," Lewis adds.
07/29/2013 8:43 PM EDT
Suspicions about Brody
So could Brody have been involved in the bombing of the CIA? The producers are reminded that some people think he may have played a role in planning that attack.
"One of those people would be my wife," Gansa says. "I tell her he's not, but she disagrees."
07/29/2013 8:41 PM EDT
How long can it go?
Is this a show that can go on for a very long time, the cast is asked?
The collective answer is something along the lines of, why not?
"Carrie becomes a hairdresser in Ohio, 17 years later," Danes jokes.
07/29/2013 8:39 PM EDT
'Homeland' and 'Saturday Night Live'
Danes was asked about the "SNL" sketch about the show.
"I'm friendly with Anne [Hathaway, who played 'Carrie' in the sketch], and I was in Toronto with Hugh, he was doing 'Hannibal.' And I got a series of texts from her -- [in a sing-songy voice], 'Hiiii! I hope we can still be friends!' And she sent me a big bouquet of flowers, and it was like, 'Oh shit!' I don't know if I want to watch it -- she's being way too nice about it," Danes says with a laugh.
Because she was in Canada, she couldn't get her computer to play the sketch (and it was not clear to me if Danes has ever seen the sketch at all). But she thought it was all in good fun, and when she heard "SNL" was parodying "Homeland," she thought "Oh boy, we're relevant! We're in the zeitgeist."
07/29/2013 8:35 PM EDT
Reading and research
Lewis said he researched his role this season by keeping up on current events and reading the Koran.
"I have not become more of a political creature in doing the show," Danes says. She does have a stack of books by her bed on bipolar disorder and mental illness, and she does research online.
"I watch a lot of confessionals on YouTube [from people who] are often up late at night, and have a desire to talk and no one to talk to, and that's always very useful," she adds.
She notes that she did the bulk of her research on mental illness in the first season, and ultimately, it's the actors' job to "interpret the heavy lifting" done by the writers.
07/29/2013 8:30 PM EDT
The Brody homefront
The show added two writers this year, and since they were obviously fans, Gansa and Gordon asked them if they thought it'd be a good idea to have a lot of the story line set in the Brody home, and ultimately all the writers decided it'd be a good idea.
Part of the motivation was events like Sandy Hook and other national tragedies, where families are put under a microscope as they're dealing with a personal tragedy.
The writers were interested in "how this would reverberate down onto these people. We made a choice to dramatize that" via the Brodys, Gansa says.
07/29/2013 8:27 PM EDT
Danes was very surprised that a quote about her career -- in which she talked about being out of work for a year after "Temple Grandin" -- has had such staying power among journalists she's talked to. "People really remember that one!" she marvels.
But there were a variety of reasons for the time off, including the fact that she so enjoyed playing Temple Grandin that other roles paled by comparison.
"There just weren't many roles like that ... I just didn't have patience for regular old stuff," Danes says. Ultimately, there just wasn't material that she liked around at that time, so she held out for something really good.
"To do a job for the sake of it is never really a good idea," Danes says. "People ask if I feel imprisoned by [the] contract with 'Homeland?' No!" She said she enjoys knowing that she'll have new challenges with the show and her character every year.
07/29/2013 8:25 PM EDT
Do they read the recaps?
They're aware of the Season 2 critique regarding the show's believability and credibility, but they said they were not particularly influenced by them when they sat down to write Season 3.
07/29/2013 8:23 PM EDT
C-Span and '24'
The producers were asked whether the show is "in conversation" with the latter seasons of "24," but they said they didn't really think so, aside from some similar security concerns the characters share.
They were more influenced by the hearings that were held on Benghazi in the early part of the year, they said.