Three days after learning that ABC canceled her starring vehicle “V,” Morena Baccarin sat before a group of Showtime execs and casting agents. The pay cabler was looking to replace Scottish thesp Laura Fraser in “Homeland’s” pivotal role of Marine wife Jessica Brody.
“It took a little convincing,” says the Brazil-born New York-raised actress. “I’m probably not what you immediately think about for this role. But I auditioned, and it worked out. I would not have taken no for an answer.”
With only a week to prep before shooting, Baccarin scoured the Internet for support groups, chat rooms and blogs geared toward the wives of servicemen.
“They are the hidden voices behind these guys,” Baccarin says. “When the men come home, these women seem to fall into this support role to hold things together because the men are emotionally unavailable or really messed up.”
For Baccarin, the role was fraught with challenging scenes, the most difficult being a would-be sex sequence with co-star Damian Lewis in which the chasm between the husband and wife is so wide that it devolves into Lewis’ character masturbating by himself.
“It was incredibly difficult to shoot and incredibly difficult for me to watch, but it’s a pivotal moment in that character’s arc and the journey she is going through,” Baccarin says. “There’s such little dialogue, but so much is conveyed.”
Though the 5 1/2-month North Carolina shoot taxed her composure, the actress found solace with co-star and former middle school classmate Claire Danes.
“I was very emotionally volatile,” quips Baccarin, who was also planning a wedding with filmmaker Austin Chick at the time. “Claire and I would knock on each other’s doors at the end of a long day and drink a glass of wine together. It was really nice to have that camaraderie. We hadn’t kept in touch over the years, so it was nice to rekindle the friendship.”