Homeland returns this Sunday, which becomes the highest-rated, most talked about drama show on Showtime now that Dexter is (finally) gone. The first season was flat-out outstanding (and garnered the Emmy for Outstanding Drama series), and while the second season was shaky, I thought the season finale redeemed many of the flaws. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s not, it’s a mediocre version of 24. Season three opens with Damian Lewis’ character on the lam, and I’m curious to see if it will be a complete return to season one form, or if the Showtime executives got too involved in the series (more on that later this week). From the looks of the trailer, it’s going to be very intense, and possibly very grim.
In the meantime, to pique your interest in the third season, we thought we’d take a quick look at the cast of Homeland, and dig up a few of the more fascinating, fun, and lesser known facts about the actors in the series.
1. Steven Spielberg cast Claire Danes in Schindler’s List based upon her work in My So Called Life, but she had to turn down the role because there was no tutoring in Poland.
2. Among other roles that Claire Danes auditioned and/or was considered for were the leads in Girl, Interrupted, Lolita, and Titanic. In fact, she was the first choice for Titanic, but turned down the opportunity to work with Leonardo DiCaprio again.
3. Claire Danes famously broke up the marriage between Billy Crudup and Mary Louis-Parker when Parker was eight months pregnant (bad form, Claire). She’s now married to Hugh Dancy (Hannibal. They have a kid together, and a swing in their apartment.
4. Claire Danes got her start as an actress in a season three episode of Law & Order.
5. In 1995, Danes starred in a Soul Asylum music video where she was a freak, outcast teenager who GREW ANGEL WINGS during prom.
6. Damian Lewis can sing. He’s actually f**king amazing. Here he is doing a full-on Elvis Presley impression.
He can also do Gangnam Style. It’s not as impressive.
7. If you’ve never seen it, this interview where Damian Lewis told a story about signing a box-set of Homeland to President Obama with “From One Muslim to Another” is absolutely great.
8. Because Damian Lewis’ Life never gets the attention it deserves, if you’re a fan of Lewis, check out the season two gag reel.
9. Damian Lewis’ Dad was the freakin’ Mayor of London from 1969-1970. His Dad was 65 when Lewis was born. Lewis’ grandfather was also the Royal Doctor to King Henry V.
10. Morena Baccarin was in the unaired pilot for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Her scene consisted of her playing a very attractive, pre-operation transexual who is propositioned by Rob McElhenney’s character. That plot and character, as played by Brittany Daniel, was later re-used in the series.
11. Jackson Pace, who plays the Brody son in Homeland, got his start on Barney and Friends. I’d prove that to you with a screenshot, but that would require watching Barney and Friends, and it’s not worth it.
12. Morgan Saylor, who plays the daughter in Homeland, also played Young Meadow in The Sopranos
Here’s her audition reel for Homeland.
13. Mandy Patinkin was the villain in Elmo in Grouchland. Uh. What?
14. Most probably already know this, but Patinkin is one of the best singers on the godamn planet.
15. Mandy Patinkin’s all-time favorite role was that of Inigo Montoya And The Princess Bride. He speaks so incredibly passionately about the role, and how he thought by nailing the part, he could bring back his dead father, that you may actually choke up hearing him discuss the part.
16. Diego Klattenhoff, who plays Mike Faber on Homeland, was also Shane Omen in Mean Girls.
17. Rupert Friend, who plays Peter Quinn on Homeland, dated Keira Knightley from 2005-2010.
18. F. Murray Abraham, who plays Dar Adal on Homeland, and who won an Oscar for Amadeus, was also one of the original Fruit of the Loom guys. He played the Grapes.
19. Tracy Letts, who plays Senator Andrew Lockhart, is also a playwright. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his play August: Osage County, which is being turned into a film starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts out later this year.
20. Talia Balsam, who plays Cyntha Walden, is married to John Slattery, and plays his ex-wife on Mad Men.
21. Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, who run Homeland, were also the men behind 24, and as a result, there have so far been 12 actors who previously appeared on 24 that have now appeared on Homeland, including Nazanin Boniadi, who not only plays Fara Sherazi in Homeland, but she was also Barney’s girlfriend, Nora, in How I Met Your Mother.