Homeland Trivia: 21 Things You Didn't Know
If you’re a fan of Homeland and want to get clued up on some of the most fascinating facts about the show and its stars, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve pulled together 21 nuggets of Homeland trivia – just proceed with caution if you’re new to the show!
***SPOILER ALERT*** Just to be totally clear, it’s time to stop reading if you’ve not yet seen Homeland!
Since its first season, Homeland has seen Claire Danes tackle all kinds of obstacles in both her personal and professional life. From terrorist threats as an FBI agent, to her ongoing battle with bipolar disorder and now her campaign on behalf of American Muslims who are being mistreated by law enforcement.
Let’s not forget our love for Damian Lewis and his fantastic portrayal of Nicholas Brody; an American prisoner of war, who after his return home, is suspected of being turned against his country and assumed to be a terrorist.
Over five years on, with millions of viewers worldwide, nobody anticipated the success this show would have season after season. To celebrate all things Homeland, we went digging around to find 21 facts you didn’t know about Showtime's award-winning drama...
1. Ben Affleck nearly directed the pilot
Although Affleck had agreed to direct the show's pilot, the plans were later scuppered due to an arrangement he had with his wife, Jennifer Garner, that meant one of them would always be home to look after the kids when the other was working on a project. Garner had just taken on a film which meant 10 weeks of shooting in Atlanta, so Affleck was forced to back out. Revealing the story in an acceptance speech at the Artios Awards, he admitted he told Garner “I'm sure nothing will happen with it anyway”. The show has since won five Golden Globes.
At least pretend to look happy for them Ben…
2. Brody was never supposed to be in more than one season
Damien Lewis' character Nicholas Brody was all set to be killed off at the end of the show's first season, but feedback from viewers found that Brody was one of the show's best-loved characters, which prompted the writers to have a rethink.
However, by the end of the second season it was obvious that the storyline for Brody's character wasn't sustainable for much longer. And, whilst the writers knew they wanted Brody to leave at the end of the third season, they took a long time to decide exactly how his exit should take place.
3. Season 5 made history after being filmed in Germany
Homeland's fifth season was filmed in Berlin; the first time that an entire season of an American TV show had been filmed on foreign soil. There was some on-location shooting in other countries, but most scenes were filmed at Berlin's Babelsberg Studios, which happens to be the world's oldest large-scale studio and the place where Fritz Lang filmed his groundbreaking science-fiction epic Metropolis.
4. Senator Andrew Lockhart wrote August: Osage County
Tracy Letts, who plays Senator Lockhart, is not only a skilled actor but also a talented playwright. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County, as well as the screenplay for the film of the same name starring Helen Mirren and Julia Roberts (both of whom received Oscar nominations for their roles in the film). He's also written several other plays adapted (by himself) for the big screen, including Killer Joe and Bug, both of which were directed by The Exorcist director William Friedkin.
5. Halle Berry was originally cast as Carrie
Well, at that point, the character was actually called Claire Mathison. It was only when Berry turned the role down and Claire Danes was cast that the name of the character was changed to Caroline Anne Mathison to avoid any confusion.
6. Claire Danes was in a Soul Asylum music video
Shortly after Danes, who plays Carrie Mathison in the show, got her big break starring in Winnie Holzmann's teen drama series My So-Called Life, Danes appeared in a music video for the song 'Just Like Anyone', written by Minneapolis alt-rock band Soul Asylum. The song was included on their 1995 album Let Your Dim Light Shine and the video, which you can find below, features Danes as an outcast college girl who grows angel wings.
7. Danes’ acting was a little bit too convincing for some of the show's fans
The actress did a lot of preparation for the role, including consulting with author Julie Fast, one of the world's leading experts on bipolar, as well as watching hours of videos made by people suffering from the disorder. Her performance was so convincing that several fans wrote into the show concerned for her wellbeing, suggesting that the actress be given time off.
Yes, we do care Carrie!
8. Brody’s onscreen wife and mistress go way back
Morena Baccarin wasn't the original Mrs. Brody - she replaced Laura Fraser who played Jessica in the pilot, but Claire Danes was probably pretty happy she did, as Baccarin and the leading lady herself went to junior high school together. Their onscreen feud is certainly convincing, considering Danes describes her as “one of my very dearest friends.”
9. Damian Lewis was third choice for the role
When casting began, Lewis wasn’t Showtime’s first choice for the role, as the network had both Ryan Phillippe and Patrick Wilson in mind. However, it was showrunner Alex Gansa’s determination that saw this famous redhead step into Brody’s shoes. It was only when Gansa learnt about Lewis’ performance in one of his earlier movies - Keane (2004) - that he managed to convince bosses to give Lewis the role.
Not only is he a talented actor, he can sing too, and he’s pretty good at it. Here he is doing a full-on Elvis Presley impression…
10. Barack Obama is a fan of the show
His high-profile fans don’t just live on this side of the pond. Damian’s performance not only earned him worldwide acclaim but also led to him being invited to have dinner with President Barack Obama at the White House in March 2012, after the President expressed (on more than one occasion) his love for the show and the character…
*Walking into the Whitehouse like…*
11. The first episode was launched online
More than two weeks before the show was broadcast on television, Showtime allowed viewers to gain a sneak peek by completing a game to gain access.
12. The show is based on an Israeli series called Prisoners of War
Gideon Raff, one of Homeland's writers, had been the showrunner on an Israeli TV series aired in 2009, which told the story of kidnapped Israeli soldiers and their struggle to reintegrate into society after their release, much like Brody in Homeland. At the time of broadcast, the first season was Israel's highest-rated TV drama of all time. A second series of Prisoners of War (also known as in Hebrew as Hatufim - which translates to "Abductees"), aired in 2012, with viewing figures even higher than for the first, it was the highest-rated drama in Israel in 2012.
13. Plans for a third season of Hatufim have been put on hold
With season one first released back in 2010, followed by season two which aired in 2012, it’s no surprise fans have been left wanting more. Although Raff has previously suggested he intends to write the follow-up, he recently admitted "there's no third season on sight", as plans are currently on hold due to his hectic work schedule.
14. There are hidden messages in some of the graffiti in the scenes
During the show's fifth season, the producers wanted to add some authentic Arabic graffiti to a set and hired a visual artist to spray-paint slogans on the walls of the set. However, the artist wasn't a fan of the show, describing it as “shallow and misguided.” So, instead of refusing to take the gig, he drafted in some other graffiti artists to write subversive messages, such as “Homeland is a joke”, “Homeland is racist” and “it didn't make us laugh.” Apparently unable to read the slogans on the walls, the producers didn't notice and the second episode of the fifth season was broadcast with the messages intact.
15. Season one gained over half a million more viewers by the finale
The pilot episode premiered in the UK in October 2011 and drew 2.2 million viewers. By the time the season one finale aired, the show drew and impressive 2.8 million viewers.
16. The show has won over 50 awards
Wow indeed, Carrie!
17. The 90 second opening shows us what it’s like to be in Carrie’s shoes
The opening sequence shown before each episode introduces us to Danes and the things she’s experienced through childhood which lead her to where she is today. As she dreams we see things like the lion’s head, the maze and the shadows, which have all been featured to symbolise her problem-solving nature in both her job as an FBI agent, and her personal life, as she works through her health issues. Not really taken any notice of the opening? Give it another watch…
18. The end is in sight Homeland fans
In September 2016, Producer Alex Gansa announced that he would be counting the eighth season as the series' last. And he hopes to film the finale in Israel, where Homeland's source series, Prisoners of War, originated.
19. You can find out what happened to Brody between season two and three
Ever wondered what happened to Brody between the end of season two and the beginning of season three? Well, you don’t have to wonder any longer. The show teamed up with Audible.com to release Homeland: Phantom Pain - a 30-minute audio episode, narrated by Brody, which explains what he got up to between season two and three, in the form of a letter penned to Carrie. It’s well worth a listen.
20. The season three premiere was leaked
The season three premiere leaked nearly a month early and within hours it had been downloaded illegally over 100,000 times.
21. Searches for ‘Homeland’ in Google doubled with the debut of season 6
“Homeland” was searched for over 200,000 times in January 2017 - the month that saw season 6 hit TV screens in homes all over the UK.