Damian Lewis Reveals Some of the Secrets of ‘Homeland’
by John Jurgensen, Speakeasy, WSJ, October 14, 2013
Damian Lewis as Nicholas “Nick” Brody in “Homeland.”After being absent from the first two episodes of this season’s “Homeland,” Damian Lewis‘s character Nicholas Brody anchored Sunday’s installment, titled “Tower of David.” In a telephone interview, Lewis discussed the strange setting of the episode, the clues it offers to the broader story, and the sorry state of his character, who spends most of the episode in wrenching physical and mental pain.
The fugitive Brody arrives in Venezuela, bleeding from a bullet wound he somehow suffered along the way. He finds himself in a high-rise slum in Caracas, known as the Tower of David after the financier David Brillembourg who originally funded the incomplete skyscraper that was eventually populated by squatters. A gang who lords over the community–and who has a mysterious link to Carrie Mathison–saves Brody’s life but also holds him prisoner. Meanwhile, Carrie is trapped in a limbo of her own in a mental hospital thousands of miles away.
Where was this episode shot?
We were in Puerto Rico. Amazingly, the building was found by a producer who just typed into Google “abandoned building in San Juan,” and this thing came up that looks not dissimilar to the Tower of David in Caracas. We found a shorter version of it, and special effects took care of the rest. Everything you see in it was dressed by the art department and made to look like a functioning slum run by gangs.
In the story the setting seems as much like a place in Brody’s mind as it does a real building.
I think that’s right. There is a dereliction to the building and to Brody. A lot of the concrete structure he finds himself in is reminiscent of the cell that he was first held in by Abu Nazir, so there are unpleasant associations for him. It does have a hallucinatory feel to it because he arrives there gushing blood and is immediately jacked up on painkillers and shortly thereafter he’s on heroin. There is an an element of a tone poem about this episode, sort of like a stand-alone movie. Viewers might be wondering what it has to do with the first two episodes and what’s going on back at Langley, but it will all be tied up. From a geopolitical point of view, anyone who wonders why Brody’s in Caracas and how that might tie into the story later just has to think “Hezbollah.” That really will be the glue that ties everything together. Hezbollah operates a lot in South America and has a lot of money in the mosques, and the Islamic communities there donate a lot of money.
And yet Brody’s host has a connection to Carrie, which made me think he might have been a CIA asset at one point. Am I wrong?
I think that will be a dead end for you to go down. I think that’s one of these “Homeland” moments where they suggest that he might be one thing, but I don’t think they’ll ever take the time to explain it. I think they’ll want to pursue other stories. He’s in charge of this tower and this slum, but he’s clearly beholden to Carrie in some way. Brody has a $10 million bounty on his head, and this guy can’t claim that. He’s more interested in playing ball in some way than getting the $10 million.
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