Matt Webb Mitovich is Editor-at-Large at TVLine
Just as Nicholas Brody received a hero’s welcome upon being rescued from captivity in Afghanistan, Damian Lewis of Showtime’s Homeland has been met with plaudits for his riveting portrayal of the conflicted Marine sergeant, husband, father and… would-be terrorist. Lewis — going for his first Emmy nomination this year, having previously been nominated for the 2012 Golden Globes for playing Brody on this series and in 2002 for his role in HBO’s Band of Brothers — reveals how he makes the potentially reprehensible relatable.
AWARDSLINE: Your character for much of Season 1 had to keep us guessing about his agenda. How much did the producers share with you up front?
DAMIAN LEWIS: They gave me a pretty good outline, but what wasn’t explicit from the outset was whether Brody was actually going to try and do something. They never said, “This guy is a terrorist and he will act in a devastating way.”
AWARDSLINE: Actors can get caught up in the idea of playing a likeable character — certainly not an American-bred terrorist. How’d you get past any such concerns?
LEWIS: It was a crackling script. Also, I don’t mind playing unlikeable roles. One of the things you should seek to achieve as an actor is that your character is understood somehow. If people then like what they find, that’s their choice. But I had one contention: Is there a way of finding in Islam a force for good, a nurturing thing in his life? Plenty of people think that if you’re a Muslim you want to blow people up, which is nonsense. We were at great pains to find motivations for him, and they successfully did that. (more…)