Though Damian Lewis’ Nicholas Brody and Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison get hot and heavy on Homeland, real life is quite different. In a new interview with Mens Journal, Lewis says he’s clear about his boundaries – particularly with Danes’ husband, actor Hugh Dancy, on set.
“I take it very seriously if someone’s husband is coming into a situation where his wife is doing intimate work with another man,” Lewis tells journalist Stephen Rodrick. “I go out of my way to make friends and to reassure him he has nothing to worry about. That just seems to me like a good common courtesy.”
That’s not to say Danes doesn’t feel strongly about Lewis. At the Showtime show’s start, co-creator Alex Gansa felt Lewis was right for the role, but faced strong resistance from the executives. But Danes, who had already signed on, utilized her veto power, and Gansa once again suggested Lewis for the role. And again, they pushed back. “They told me, ‘I never want to hear that name again; Damian Lewis is a dead issue,” Gansa says. In a stroke of luck, Michael Cuesta – who directed the Homeland pilot – suggested the 2004 indie film Keane, starring Lewis. The movie was readily available to stream on Netflix; the network watched it and decided Lewis was right.
It’s not the only time Lewis has changed their minds. Brody was originally to be killed off at the end of Homeland‘s first season, detonating a vest bomb to kill himself, the vice president and his advisors. But after the relationship between Brody and Mathison became a heavy fan favorite, the storyline changed. “I think simply for creative and artistic reasons, the writers want to kill me,” Lewis explains. “There are so many compelling and devastating story lines that would just be great TV and theater. . . The more compromised storytelling is to keep him alive and to keep him bubbling along somehow. It’s the executives who write that version.”
As for Lewis, he’ll delightfully discuss Brody’s future possibilities, but he’s cool with the fate of his character either way. “I’ll just see what happens,” he says.