Paleyfest Panel “Homeland” ~ Friday, March 6th, 2015
NOTE: This review does contain 3 teasers/spoilers for the new season of “Homeland” as given by producer Alex Gansa.
With an unusually heavy panel of Producers/Director/Writer (Alex Gansa, Chip Johannessen, Alex Carey, Leslie Linka Glatter, Patrick Harbinson, Meredith Stiehm, Composer:Sean Callery) and only 2 of the shows cast members, Claire Danes & Maury Sterling, showing up to the Dolby Theater last night for the opening of Paleyfest for the spectacular hit show “Homeland” I don’t know about you, but I am a HUGE fan and think it’s possibly one of the best shows to ever hit the small screen medium of TV.
Season 1 blew us all away..come Season 2 we didn’t know what hit us.. Season 3, while mixed, had us with an ending that made us all not sure where it was going to go next..but we really shouldn’t have worried as Season 4 took us to a whole new world with a whole new kick-ass leader in Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend).
They took us along the journey that has been Homeland and the process of making this show happen is truly grand.
Starting off with some insight into the “Dar Adal/Saul” (F.Murray Abraham/Mandy Patinkin) duo – his motive for making a deal with Haqqani was because he does not want the new director to be a political appointee i.e, another Lockheart. Dar wants someone who has spent a career in the CIA. We don’t know if Saul will accept Dar’s offer. Guess we will find out in Season 5. Gansa said something like this is what America does – our enemies often become our friends. It’s how business is done, even if its a hard pill to swallow.
Claire Danes on “Carrie” – she felt there aren’t a lot of controversial portralys of mothers on TV and was excited to start a different conversation on what that looks like. They discuss how they shot the controversial “drowning scene” from the insight of looking up at Carrie through the water.
Second controversy was Carrie/Ayan scenes – is she going to low in this form of recruiting? Meredith Stiehm was a defender of it all as she felt it was part of Carrie’s job and Ayan was not a “child.” She felt if it were a man seducing a younger woman no one would have as much as a reaction. Which is a good point and many tactics like this are used in that everyday world.
And the big Brody flashback – which I loved by the way. Done perfectly as the writers wanted to explore Carrie in such a state where she struggles with the idea of Brody but it was important for her emotional state. As we all know, Brody was supposed to be gone in Season 1..but was such a fan favourite they kept him on and needed a way to really close it up once & for all for Carrie also. So the hallucination scene gave her and the writers closure on this fantastic character who no matter what, we still miss. 🙂
The scene on the airport tarmac of the prisoner exchange was a difficult shoot. The day was a very hot one, Claire had been sick with a stomach flu. The first few takes of Saul/Carrie on the tarmac were not working. They needed something more..somewhere Mandy Patinkin just flipped a switch and was able to go to another place and it worked. That was the take we saw.
They discussed James Rebhorn beautifully. How they weren’t sure if they wanted to just continue as if his character, Carrie’s father “Frank” was still alive but just not there anymore. Finally decided they wanted to make his passing a tribute and part of the story so they did in the finale.
Regarding Quinn/Carrie relationship/romance seemed to be divided along ‘party’ lines 😉 with the men not really wanting it, and the women pushing for it. I’m truly in the middle on this one though leaning towards not a complete romance. Seems both Rupert & Claire were a bit ‘jumpy’ about it because the characters are both so similar in that they both repel and yet attract one another which is fun to play. The tension between the 2 characters was great.. now that they’ve kissed, it might be less so even though as we saw Quinn leaving to another mission in the finale to parts unknown and have no idea what happens. Maybe for me, a quickie kiss was enough because as we all know, 99.5% of the time, work relationships do not turn out well. And do you really want to see Carrie & Quinn ride off into the sunset together in a house with a white picket fence & 2.2 kids & a dog?? no.. no.. no… I want them out there kicking ass and taking names. Sorry..more fun.
Regarding the ‘villains’ of the show..For me, a show or film is truly only as good as it’s villains and sometimes that’s not understood correctly. Here, they noted trying to humanize them in some way as they did the scene with Haqqani & Saul having a ‘family’ dinner. What was his viewpoint. Of how they feel it’s “us” invading his country etc.. When the panel was asked about ISIS, Gansa replied that it is impossible at this point to try to humanize that group. So I think this is saying that ISIS will not be the “villains” of Season 5.
As always, the best questions come from the audience and anyone worth their salt in watching this show knows that Carrie’s ‘cry-face’ is the best thing to hit the small screen.. and possibly has the most GIFS made of it than anything else. When asked by an audience member what she’s thinking when she makes the ‘cry-face’ was possibly the best question of the evening and even Claire Danes herself loved it and had a good laugh. Noting that she’s done the face since “My So-Called Life” and that’s just how she looks when she cries.. but doesn’t have a true real thought process behind it, made it all the better. So yes, everyone, if you’re wondering, it’s her real-life ‘cry-face’ 🙂
Noting two of the main writers (Chip Johannessen & Alex Carey) are leaving, both of whom wrote some good episodes, didn’t state why, but it seems to be on a good note as they were there..ha!
The three teasers for Season 5 are: (drum roll please)
1. The show will pick up 2 1-2 years later
2. Season 5 will take place in Germany
3. Carrie is no longer a CIA operative (Claire Danes joked she will be making beer in Germany)
Nothing discussed if Rupert Friend aka “Quinn” would be back..but it gives me hope he will be as if it’s 2 1/2 years later, then he should be done with his mission..Right??!! 😀
Lastly, as an end note, Julie Chen was not a good moderator. I’ve seen some great moderators doing these panels, she was not one of them. She called Claire ‘Carrie’ almost every single time..and while trying to play it off, came off worse. If you can’t call your main guest and lead of the show their correct name, please step off the podium. Her questions were bland and while she tried to come off as a big fan, not sure she succeeded as it truly didn’t seem that way.