CIA thriller Homeland shows no signs of slowing down. The drama, starring Claire Danes, Rupert Friend and Mandy Patinkin, is currently filming its fifth season, which will see another change of scenery for the drama.
The series has jumped forward two years – and relocated to the capital of Germany.
“[Berlin] is a character in the season itself,” Patinkin tells us. “It was the epicentre of one of the most horrible events in human recorded history. The consequences of those events never go away. They hang in the air everywhere; you can never wipe away or erase; you can never forget them; they never should be forgot. And that is a clear cut metaphor for what our hero Carrie Mathison is experiencing and what Saul Bereson is experiencing – and what everyone experiences.”
The show will have a different feel when it returns, says the 62-year-old actor, much like it did during its last run, when the drama moved to Islamabad in the wake of Brody’s [Damien Lewis] demise.
“The literal light is different so you see it visually as well. The place is different and the people are different. It’s in every shot, it’s in the way the sets appear, it’s part of its fabric. You will feel it.”
For Patinkin, who plays former CIA head Saul Berenson, it’s a big shift, after a tough fourth season which saw Saul being kidnapped, held captive and then traded for “the freedom of some individuals who were going to create more harm.”
“I had no trouble imagining making a mistake – I make mistakes all the time in my own life – and then you end up in a place you didn’t expect to be and then you have to pay a price for it,” Patinkin says.
He wishes his character’s journey in season four was “a harder thing to imagine.”
“I think about those things all the time. We are drowning in it, everywhere we look… The world is bleeding.”
Season five will see Saul as a changed man. “I don’t know what the words are, whether it’s existing or recovering. That experience is part of him for the rest of his life.”
This permanency, Patinkin says, is something he has begun to understand during his time on the show: “He and I have learned that anything that’s broken or gone wrong, in this world or in our lives, can’t be fixed. You can’t fix it and make it go away. You can’t wave a magic wand. It’s broken, it’s there, it’s hurt forever. But what you can do is move forward from this moment and try to make the world a better place.”
Ultimately that’s what Homeland is about: “It asks us to listen to what’s not being heard on either side, to acknowledge and recognise the terrible, terrible mistakes that both sides make and to see the reasons that those mistakes might be made.”
“The answer to the problems are not violence, war, bombs, terrorism, cutting off people’s heads, drones,” says Patinkin, “the answer is negotiation, the answer is finding what we all have in common.”
“Every breath Saul Berenson takes is filled with hope and optimism. And that is what guides his soul – and keeps him searching for a more peaceful world”, says Patinkin.
It’s clearly an important cause which is close to the actor’s own heart. Five years ago when he was first handed a script, he says he knew who Saul was “instantly” and sees countless parallels between himself and the character.
“It’s a little tricky sometimes to know who’s who – whether I’m him or he’s me,” says Patinkin.
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