Damian Lewis seemed thrilled to have won a best actor statue at the Golden Globe Awards ceremony last Sunday, for his performance as a conflicted traitor in Showtime’s “Homeland.”
But he could have said something nicer in his acceptance speech about the state where the TV series is filmed.
“I would like to share this with the best cast and crew working in TV today, sweltering it out in intolerable heat in North Carolina,” said the British actor, 41, as he addressed his peers.
Now for the good news: After two seasons of on-screen plot twists and off-screen critical acclaim, “Homeland” – also honored at the Globes for best TV drama and best actress (Claire Danes) – still could not be more thrilled to call Charlotte home.
“Look, Charlotte has welcomed us with open arms, and the best thing about Charlotte is the people there are not cynical about the film and television business,” said executive producer and head writer Alex Gansa. “It is such a warm and friendly place to shoot our series, and certainly moving anywhere else – especially back to Los Angeles, which we’re not gonna do – it’s (unlikely).”
In Charlotte, he said, “you get a completely different reception in neighborhoods, at restaurants, in film locations – so we just feel so fortunate to have been in Charlotte, and hopefully we have a very long relationship with the city as we move forward.”
For the uninitiated, “Homeland” hooked viewers in 2011 with a plot involving Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Lewis), a newly freed Iraq War POW who CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Danes) suspects might be plotting an attack on the U.S.
In 20 episodes over two seasons, all but a handful of scenes have been shot in and around Charlotte. (The show is set in the Washington, D.C., area.) Among key locations, the Brody family’s “northern Virginia” house is in Mountainbrook near SouthPark mall, and the Cambridge Corporate Center in north Charlotte’s University Research Park stands in for the C.I.A.
Though fans and critics were tougher on Season 2, last month’s season finale gave Showtime’s spy thriller its best ratings, with the initial broadcast averaging 2.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
Production is to resume in the Charlotte area “probably the last week in May,” Gansa said; the new season premieres Sunday, Sept. 29. So what are the writers planning for Season 3?
“We literally sat down for three hours yesterday afternoon, and that was our first meeting,” Gansa said during a phone interview Tuesday. “So I would say the one-word answer would be ‘nowhere.’ ”
“If I knew anything about Season 3, I would (give you a tease).”
Seconds later, he lets a potential tease slip:
“We’ll see. In terms of a very long-term plan, I guess all I can say is that Carrie Mathison and Saul Berenson (played by Mandy Patinkin) are CIA agents whose job is to keep the world safe from terrorism. So there’s a built-in franchise to the show. But, for example, how long Nick Brody is a character, that’s an open question right now.”