Posted by on 18 September 2013 with Comments Off on Emmys Watch: Morena Baccarin on ‘Homeland’

The New York Times’ Arts Beat has posted an interview with Morena about Homeland.

With her otherworldly aura, Morena Baccarin seemed a natural for science-fiction roles like Inara Serra, a 26th-century courtesan from the planet Sihnon in Josh Whedon’s “Firefly,” and Anna, the leader of the alien Visitors in “V” on ABC. But it is Showtime’s “Homeland” that has allowed Ms. Baccarin to run the gamut of human emotions. As Jessica Brody — the wife of a Marine turned terrorist — Ms. Baccarin’s character has morphed from a military widow, whose life is upended when her husband returns from the dead after eight years, to the spouse of a congressman with ulterior motives.

And as Season 2 ended, a newly separated Jessica watched reports of the bombing of the C.I.A. and realized she no longer knew the man she’d given herself over to. That roller-coaster ride paid off with an Emmy nomination, her first, for supporting actress in a drama series.

She’s one of several nominees from the series. They include Claire Danes, who stars as the analyst Carrie Mathison, and Damian Lewis, who plays that terrorist and now fugitive, Nicholas Brody.

In a recent phone interview Ms. Baccarin, who was born in Rio de Janeiro, reared in Manhattan and now lives in Los Angeles, spoke about her school days, great expectations and her newest role. These are edited excerpts from the conversation:

Q: Last year Claire Danes and Damian Lewis won Emmys. You’re joining them as a nominee this year. How does that feel?
A: I was totally surprised, and I don’t know why this year. Jessica had a more delineated arc in the second season, especially with Brody becoming a congressman, and we saw her ambition and her desire. We also saw the emotional strain that he brought to the relationship, and she got to have a little bit of backbone. It gave me the opportunity to really flesh out that character.

Q: I’ve read that you and Claire knew each other as children.
A: We went to junior high school together [now the New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies]. A school for dorks, I used to call it. It’s like one of those specialized gifted education classes, and it was really awesome. And yeah, we were friendly to each other. We weren’t best friends, but we always joke that had we known we had the same bully, we would have become closer.

Q: You then attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and studied drama at the Juilliard School. What expectations did you have for your career back then?
A: I’d studied classical theater for four years and thought that’s what I would be doing. And of course I graduated to a very different business than what I thought it was. It used to be you got your start in theater, and that’s how you honed your craft and moved up from there. But when I was graduating, it was at a time when Broadway, especially, was really suffering, and people were stunt-casting or putting stars in roles so that they could fill seats. So I had a hard time getting roles when I first graduated. Kind of had a chip on my shoulder about it. [In retrospect] it was a great thing. I had to work really hard to be where I am. And I had to override a lot of preconceived notions of television and film. I started booking a lot of independent film and did a lot more plays. When I finally came to Los Angeles and ended up booking “Firefly” — that was my first TV show — I realized that it doesn’t matter what form your acting takes as long as you’re doing what you love, and it’s a role that you can do something with that’s really juicy or that you believe in. It was a great awakening for me.

Q: Season 3 of “Homeland” has its premiere on Sept. 29. What can we expect?
A: It’s a much more introspective, emotional and dark season opening than we’ve had in a while. Everybody’s in a really [messed] up place after the end of the second season, when the C.I.A. blew up and we lost half our cast, and Brody’s now a fugitive. Everybody’s dealing with the repercussions, and our family in particular hasn’t fared too well. They’ve been dealing with the blowback and the media scrutiny, and it’s been emotionally harrowing. And that leads to more chaos and more turmoil.

Q: Did you do research for your role as a congressman’s wife?
A: It was pretty apparent in the script that she wasn’t comfortable in that role at first, that she liked the idea of it but was very trepidatious about what it encompassed. She let the vice president’s wife kind of lead her. So I decided not to do much research on what those women do because I wanted to feel like a fish out of water. And I think the writers did a good job. You see the the excitement she has when she has this opportunity to do this veteran fund-raiser. At the same time you see this fear. “How does this work? What am I doing here?” So for me it helped not knowing everything.

Q: Does the shooting schedule allow you to take on any other projects? That said, I understand your newest role is that of mother.
A: I did a film last year, a comedy, which was such a relief to do. And now my project is finding a crib, organizing onesies. [laughs] It’s kind of amazing what happens to my brain. I think I’ll need a few months off, then be back at it. I think my work will feed me as a person, which in turn will make me a better parent.

Comments are closed.