SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading if you haven’t seen “Redux,” episode seven of “Homeland’s” fourth season.
The hallucinatory scenes in the second half of the seg, after Claire Danes’ dogged CIA station chief Carrie Mathison is unknowingly drugged by Pakistani intelligence agents, required a lot of on-the-fly experimentation, Franklin said. The effort was guided by the clear vision laid out in a powerful script by “Homeland” exec producer Alexander Cary, Franklin said.
“We didn’t want it to get into the sci-fi/horror arena,” Franklin told Variety. “At the same time we did want it to be scary enough to her so that people would realize what she was going through. It was tough not to step over that line. The writing was really strong and it gave us a lot to work with.”
The grounding factor was that all of the visions of people and places that Carrie has as she’s careening through the hospital and the street outside were tied to “something that did exist in reality,” Franklin said. “We had to treat our response to the way she was seeing things.”
That involved shaking the camera, shooting at odd angles and fiddling with frames and frame rates to create a jumpy, strobe-like effect. Sound effects were subtly used to heighten the sense of foreboding that Carrie felt as the drug was coming on.
“Alex Cary was interested in us experimenting with ways to enhance her frightened and skewed response to what was going on around her,” Franklin said. “We were experimenting as we went along.”
Danes, Franklin emphasized, is a “thoroughbred” actress who rolled with whatever they threw at her. Franklin, a former actor, has known Danes for years. He directed his first “Homeland” episode, “Gerontion,” last year.
The jaw-dropper of the episode was the re-appearance of Damian Lewis’ Nicholas Brody. He tumbles into the picture as Carrie grows more frightened and more genuinely threatened amid her hallucinations, Franklin said. Shooting the brief scene with Danes and Lewis was not hard.
“They obviously have that strong chemistry and it worked really well,” Franklin said. Lewis’ visit to the set in Cape Town, South Africa was a treat for the cast and crew. It only took one day of shooting to nail the Carrie-Brody reunion scene, but Lewis hung around for an extra day just to watch them work.
Franklin was pleasantly surprised that the Brody twist stayed quiet given that many people saw Lewis during his stay at the Nelson Hotel in Cape Town — a dead giveaway. “Word got out that he had been seen at the Nelson, and he was on the call sheet,” Franklin said.
Franklin also directed this past Sunday’s episode of Showtime’s “The Affair,” and he’s the helmer of next week’s seg as well. “Homeland” and “The Affair” are very different shows, but they have the all-important common threads of good writing and great actors, he said.
“It’s a softer-burn in ‘The Affair.’ It’s not as edgy,” Franklin said. “It’s definitely a different group (than ‘Homeland’). It was an enjoyable experience to do both.”