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TCA 2011: Showtime's 'Homeland' has 'fortuitous' timing

August 4, 2011 | 11:13 am

Claire Danes, left, in a scene from Showtime's "Homeland." Credit: Showtime

What attracted mostly-movie actress Claire Danes to a cable TV series? Sure, the role was “compelling” -- a formidable, bipolar CIA agent. But nudity and cursing sealed the deal.

“I think that’s more appealing than the relatively moderate work hours [of broadcast television],” she said.

Danes appeared Thursday at the Television Critics Assn.  media tour at the Beverly Hilton to promote her new series “Homeland,” along with fellow stars Damian Lewis and Morena Baccarin and executive producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa (both of whom are "24" alums).

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“Homeland” is a psychological thriller that centers on a CIA officer (Danes) who is convinced there's a conspiracy tied to Al Qaeda that led to the rescue of a U.S. soldier (Damian Lewis) who had been missing and presumed dead. All the makings of a gripping movie, except it will unfold as a 13-episode season.

“I think that one of the things movies can’t do is offer … the breadth of a story about terrosirm,” Gansa said. “It can’t be handled effectively in the short time frame of a movie. “

The series, which was shot in Charlotte, N.C. (prison scenes were filmed in Israel), will premiere Oct. 2 -- less than a month after the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

“It is just a confluence of events,” Gansa said. “The timing is significant, accidental and fortuitous.”

And, the cast and crew were working on the second episode when it was announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, Gordon said.

All of these events are likely to affect the way people view the show, he said.

“'24' existed in a real post-9/11 world and Jack Bauer was an action hero,” he said. “In response to that, 10 years later things have become deeper and more complex and the heart of this show is really psychological: How America is dealing with that 10-year period.”


Coverage of TCA 2011 on ShowTracker

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-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Claire Danes, left, in a scene from Showtime's "Homeland." Credit: Showtime