Back-to-back “Homeland” panels in New York this week offered a few tidbits about plans for season six and insight into the behind-the-scenes vibe on the set as Carrie Mathison and Co. settle in for the NYC-based season that bows Jan. 15.
Here’s what we learned after spending quality time Oct. 5-6 with actors Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, F. Murray Abraham, showrunner Alex Gansa and exec producers Lesli Linka Glatter and Howard Gordon.
- Quinn is alive enough to undergo therapy in New York City. Danes told the crowd at Paleyfest: Made in NY on Oct. 6 that “Carrie is in New York largely because Quinn is receiving therapy here.” That would seem to bode well for the survival chances of Carrie’s semi-regular love interest (played by Rupert Friend), who ended season five seemingly on the wrong end of a coma. Danes’ comment produced gasps of joy from the Quinn-loving crowd.
- Abraham, who plays CIA chief Dar Adal, loves a good joke. Particularly “filthy” jokes, he admitted. He has so many that Patinkin has tried to convince him to assemble a joke book.
- Patinkin came up with a surprising simile as he was grasping for words to express how his Saul Berenson character feels about Danes’ Carrie. He compared Carrie being the human version of a Vitamix blender — the high-powered kitchen appliance favored by people who like to drink vegetables and fruit concoctions. “She’s like the Vitamix. Everything that we would think is good for our bodies goes into her,” he said. In Saul’s view, “if he puts them near or in the Vitamix they will come out and make you a stronger person,” he said.
- Glatter divulged another secret to Carrie’s success: her ever-present crossbody bag. “My best friend,” Danes quipped.
- Patinkin left out the kitchen appliance references at the Oct. 5 panel at New York’s 9/11 Memorial Museum when he spoke of his appreciation for Danes’ skill as an actor. “It’s almost inhuman what she’s capable of,” he said. He credited her with teaching him the meaning of “grace” on the job. During the filming of the climactic scene of season two, with a lot of set-up to depict the aftermath of the bombing at the CIA, a first take was blown when a car drove by. Then, just as Danes was about to let loose with emotion for the second take, a crew member’s cell phone went off. With no huffing or puffing as they prepared for take three, Danes simply said: “Can we please make sure our phones are all locked up,” Patinkin recalled. “She’s 30 years younger than me and she’s teaching me,” he said. Gansa noted that Danes was also eight months pregnant at the time.
- Asked about the state of the often fractious Carrie-Saul relationship as season six dawns, Patinkin said Saul’s faith in Carrie’s preternatural ability to fight the good fight against terrorism is strong even if Carrie may still be shunning the CIA, for now. Saul is “in a prayerful state that he will reconnect with his child and bring her back into a world where she os destined to be a profound giver and caretaker to humanity,” Patinkin said. “That is her true gift.” Saul is invested in Carrie because he knows she’s a better, more intuitive operative than he is — and she’s his ticket to redemption. “For me, this piece is this relationship,” Patinkin said of “Homeland.” Saul’s connection with Carrie “is why he is bothering to live.”
- Patinkin, a veteran of musical theater, was asked by an audience member at Paleyfest whether he would ever sing on “Homeland.” The answer is: Don’t hold your breath for Saul to break out with “Climb Every Mountain” anytime soon. “Absolutely not,” Patinkin said without skipping a beat. “That would be the (moment) to jump the shark as high as you could possibly jump.”