‘Homeland’ Producers Talk Alternate Endings, Carrie’s Fate and Mandy’s Final Song – Variety


SPOILER ALERT: Don’t learn if in case you have not but watched “Prisoners of Warfare,” the collection finale of “Homeland.”

Carrie’s destiny wasn’t sealed on the web page till 24 hours earlier than “Homeland” shot its closing scenes. Mandy broke into tune on his final day of taking pictures. And on the final minute, Los Angeles needed to double for Moscow and Washington, D.C. when the manufacturing of season Eight bumped into insurmountable logistical hurdles in Morocco.

As “Homeland” ready to bow out after eight seasons with its April 26 collection finale, “Prisoners of Warfare,” government producers Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon and Lesli Linka Glatter spoke with Variety intimately in regards to the making of the finale, the bigger themes of season 8 and regrets and triumphs over 10 years and 96 hours of tv. The trio couldn’t say sufficient in regards to the skills of “Homeland” stars Claire Danes and Patinkin, who fashioned the sturdy axis of the mentor-protege relationship between intrepid spies Carrie Mathison and Saul Berenson.

Gansa, who with Gordon developed the Showtime drama from an Israeli format, served as “Homeland” showrunner for all eight seasons. Linka Glatter directed the much-praised season two installment “Q&A,” and signed on as a director-producer beginning in season three. Gordon got here in and out through the years however was again full-time within the writers room for the ultimate season. The 66-minute finale was penned by Gansa and Gordon and helmed by Linka Glatter.

Let’s discuss the way you got here up with the ending. When did you choose the storyline for the finale?

Alex Gansa: Not till fairly late. The concept that Carrie Mathison writes a e book like Edward Snowden did — that concept didn’t reveal itself till 24 hours earlier than we shot these scenes.


Gansa: It was a really troublesome concept as a result of if Carrie was going to be in Moscow with Yevgeny she needed to have been doing one thing for 2 years that took any suspicion off her. The thought she was writing a e book that was super-critical of America’s international coverage and the CIA was simply good. The thought didn’t come to me till Wednesday earlier than we shot the scenes on Thursday. I considered whether or not Carrie may have been writing a e book. I informed Claire I simply don’t know if that is going to work. She cherished it. Then get we acquired on the telephone together with her and the artwork division asking if are you able to get us a e book cowl {photograph} of Claire within the subsequent 20 minutes.

They went to work like loopy. We had to think about a (e book) title and we resurrected a dialog she’d had with Saul again in season four when she talked in regards to the ‘tyranny of secrets and techniques and the tyranny of protecting them.’ We positively went right down to the wire on it. To say we weren’t all anxious can be not true.

Lesli Linka Glatter: It’s so intense ending a collection. There’s a lot strain on it from the surface and there’s inner strain. There have been many, many drafts of the final 15-20 pages. There was a lot dialogue in regards to the ending. When Alex lastly hit on it, it was like ‘Oh my god, that’s the ending.’ It took all of the permutations and rewrites to get there.

Howard Gordon: It was a sublime answer to an unattainable downside. On prime of the epiphany there was the emotional feeling. As grim as one among their deaths would have been, to have the ability to protect the promise of the present and additionally to present Carrie a type of redemption — that felt fantastic.

What was your plan for the ending in case you hadn’t provide you with the e book concept? Certainly you didn’t go away that open till 24 hours earlier than filming?

Gansa: Saul would have acquired one other little crimson e book. We knew that Carrie can be in Moscow and with Yevgeny and attempting to switch Anna one way or the other. We knew she would nonetheless be doing her work. However we couldn’t determine how one can ship on why would (Yevgeny) go together with her, how may he embody her in his life if it wasn’t clear that she had renounced her former existence. She’s a full-blown traitor to her nation. She will by no means return house. She sacrificed an American asset contained in the Kremlin. That could be a huge black mark within the intelligence group.

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Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

You appear to exit of your option to spotlight the variations between Carrie and Saul on spy ways and “the price of doing enterprise,” as Saul and Yevgeny each observe.

Gansa: That center scene between (Carrie and Saul) the place they’ve that huge argument (about sacrificing Anna to cease a doable struggle in South Asia) hopefully individuals fall on either side of the query.

What else was exhausting about crafting the ultimate episode?

Gordon: Constructing that bridge over the course of the season (between Carrie and Yevgeny) the place we may credibly play on the knife’s fringe of her tormentor who’s now working together with her and then turns into an object of an emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy. It was a really, very difficult excessive wire act. I believe it feels credible. It jogs my memory somewhat little bit of the Brody of all of it. That too was this actually unusual knife’s-edge narrative.

How way back did you begin eager about how one can finish the collection?

Gordon: It was over a number of seasons. Mercifully the horizon was so distant it was one thing we may discuss even once we have been planting a flag on quicksand. However simply the train of eager about how it could finish was good. It was percolating actively in Alex’s thoughts.

What stands out in your reminiscence about filming the ultimate episode?

Gansa: Mandy’s face in that final shot on the kitchen desk. The very first time I ever noticed Mandy work was in 1982 in New York he was in ‘Sunday within the Park With George.’ By the tip of the primary act I used to be simply weeping within the viewers. The entire present was about making artwork. He performed (painter) George Seurat and he had a beard. As we have been eager about how one can solid Saul, I mentioned there was just one individual I wished to play this and he needed to have his beard.

On the day of Mandy’s final take, when he opens the e book on the kitchen desk, he wished yet another go at it. I mentioned ‘Mandy, we acquired it.’ He mentioned ‘I simply need yet another take.’ And so all people took a deep breath and I went again to video village. Mandy acquired up and sang ‘Ending the Hat’ (from ‘Sunday within the Park’) as his final take. It was unbelievable. Mandy, a capella, singing probably the most stunning tune from that present. It’s so unbelievable. I’ll always remember it.

The exceptional factor about this present is all people who labored on it wished to make it nearly as good because it might be. Each single day. That collective will is what sure us all collectively. We have been all in service of the identical factor.

Linka Glatter: Whereas we have been having our final idea assembly for the collection we have been taking pictures episode 11. We have been close to a location of a mansion we have been utilizing in Beverly Hills. So we’re all sitting out in a park in Beverly Hills, in a circle. Some man is strolling his canine and he comes as much as our nice producer Sunday Stevens and asks what we’re doing. She mentioned we’re having a gathering a couple of TV collection, the truth is the tip of the TV collection. He goes ‘Oh actually, what collection?’ and she says ‘Homeland.’ He says ‘I really like that present. So don’t f—- it up.’ This was earlier than we had our final 20 pages. I checked out Alex and simply noticed the colour drain from his face. You couldn’t make that up.

Gansa: It was crazily emotional, I’ve to say. All of us have been simply tearing up on the finish. We’ve all been on this journey. For Carrie, it was good to see her on the finish of this run doing what she was meant to do.

How severely did you contemplate eventualities the place Carrie and/or Saul died?

Gansa: The concept that one would die was all the time on the desk. We actually tried to make it clear that Carrie was wrestling together with her determination. Within the season finale of a lot of exhibits, main characters die. We knew we had that card to play if we would have liked it. I’m so glad, realizing the place we’re and the occasions we dwell in, there’s one thing good about Carrie smiling on the finish of the present. It’s hopeful.

Did you contemplate another finale story choices for Carrie and Franny?

Linka Glatter: At one level there was a scene that we by no means shot the place she went to a faculty music recital and watched Franny as a result of she wanted to see her. It acquired modified to the scene the place (Carrie) went to the home and noticed the photograph and felt the ache of that. She couldn’t dip into her daughter’s life and dip proper again out. In Carrie Mathison’s thoughts not seeing Franny was extra compassionate.

Did you contemplate revisiting any of the Brody relations within the closing season?

Gansa: Everyone on employees wished to revisit one thing with that household. We talked about it and talked about it. We couldn’t discover the correct story to inform that felt natural. If all of us had one remorse in regards to the tales we informed, I believe we didn’t actually honor the impact on a household just like the Brodys of what (Nicholas) Brody was accused of on the finish of season 2. That’s the one story that all of us felt we dropped the ball on somewhat bit. It didn’t have the burden that it ought to have.

You confronted some sudden manufacturing delays on Season Eight while you had hassle getting sure varieties of apparatus into Morocco. Did the last-minute shift to performing some location work within the L.A. space change the finale in any respect?

Linka Glatter: A part of doing this job and being a storyteller is determining how do you remedy issues you by no means knew you have been going to have. We had thought we’d shoot our final two episodes on the East coast. Then once we realized we needed to do all of the army stuff (within the U.S.) we knew it needed to all be performed in a single place and that place was L.A. since you may make Santa Clarita seem like Afghanistan. It was a problem attempting to determine shoot Moscow in L.A.

The place did you shoot the ultimate Carrie scene? It’s a terrific ornate theater.

Gansa: The Los Angeles Theatre in downtown L.A. It’s ornate and additionally falling aside. Our manufacturing individuals made it look beautiful.

Who was the jazz artist on stage in Carrie’s closing scenes?

Gansa: Kamasi Washington. … Past the truth that I really like Kamasi Washington — I believe he’s the very best jazz musician writing music proper now — the tune that performs on the finish is known as “Fact.” His music was additionally taking part in initially of season 7 when Carrie was on the treadmill working full-out and listening to a wailing saxophone.

How did you choose the fade-to-white ending?

Linka Glatter: We performed with fade to white, fade to black. The massive concept for once we have been filming (the ultimate scenes) each for Carrie and Saul was that there have been these superb flares of sunshine within the background of Saul’s shot and within the background of Carrie’s shot. It’s one other chapter opening up. It got here out of unbelievable discussions since it’s the final picture. I really like that there’s simply one thing in regards to the unbelievable, ecstatic look on each of their faces for very completely different causes.

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Lesli Linka Glatter, Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin

Gregory Tempo/Shutterstock

What are your ideas about the place Carrie is now?

Gansa: That’s as much as you. It’s out of my arms now.

Linka Glatter: I believe she truly loves Yevgeny. She is likely to be the happiest we’ve ever seen her though she’s residing a lie — that’s the irony of it. However she’s truly with somebody who does the identical job. They each tried to recruit one another. He did horrible issues to her and she did to him. The irony of that’s simply big when she’s sitting there listening to music and is aware of that she will be able to’t come again to her nation the place she’s seen as a pariah and a traitor.

Is there a sliver of an opportunity that Carrie and Saul set the Russian-exile-spy plot up collectively upfront?

Gansa: Completely not. He was livid on the lengths to which she went to get him to disclose the identify of his asset. He was completely crushed and devastated that Carrie’s actions result in Anna’s dying. He believed the connection was severed ceaselessly. The e book is the very first piece of intelligence Carrie sends, thereby taking Anna’s place. It’s Carrie attempting to re-establish the connection. It’s her saying ‘I do know what I did in your eyes was horrible. You thought we couldn’t rebuild the community? I’m going to rebuild it for us.’

What was the importance of the younger CIA agent Jenna Bragg, performed by Andrea Deck, in season 8?

Gansa: She illuminated the concept some individuals are nicely geared up to do the job that Carrie does and different individuals aren’t. Jenna was clearly any person who was succesful intellectually however incapable emotionally to do what was required. She couldn’t embrace the paradox of the job and the sacrifices that must be made and the tradeoffs that must be reconciled.

We had for eight seasons wished to reflect the mentor-protege relationship of Saul and Carrie with Carrie and a youthful officer. It felt like a superb alternative to do it. I assumed Jenna existed in a wobbly method within the first half of the season. She was very a lot a greenhorn however she got here to the choice that this line of labor was not for her. That flies within the face of what Carrie was about to do — the final word betrayal of her nation for the better function of stopping a struggle.

How did you solid the position of Anna (Tatyana Mukha) within the final two episodes? She was a key participant within the final laps.

Gansa: Judy Henderson, our fantastic casting director. She deserves the best accolades for the standard of the actors she dropped at the present. (Mukha) was astonishing in these final two episodes, to hold the burden of that position and make her into any person that you simply cared about on the finish of an eight-season run.

Have you considered the bigger significance of Carrie Mathison within the historical past of TV characters and feminine protagonists?

Gansa: I believe that’s for different individuals to find out the legacy of that character and the present itself.

Linka Glatter: She is a game-changing feminine character. She’s as sophisticated as any man and as flawed however you continue to care about her. You discover her compelling. She’s layered and sophisticated and passionate. Having the ability to have a look at issues like her not being a superb mom. That’s like TV’s first and largest taboo. She’s not a superb mom however she loves her little one. The most important act of generosity was giving her little one as much as her sister for major care. Most individuals wouldn’t be capable to try this. The truth that she realized that about herself was type of a tremendous factor. We’ve had such unbelievable iconic male characters each movie and TV. Ladies must be indirectly above reproach. Now the world has modified. Ladies could be extra sophisticated.

Gordon: I’ve heard from so many individuals, anecdotally, from buddies and household in regards to the significance of Carrie. Listening to it typically sufficient and passionately sufficient about how vexing how attention-grabbing and compelling, it did daybreak on us. We understood the burden of that. All of us noticed this deep dedication on all people’s half, led by Alex and Claire, to verify this character fulfilled her promise and the essential place that she held in lots of people’s lives.

Claire and Mandy by all accounts had practically on the spot chemistry of their roles. How a lot of a present was that to you as writers and administrators?

Gordon: I keep in mind Mandy saying to me how preternaturally gifted Claire was and how intimidating it was for him. He works very, very exhausting to get to the place he must get to. Claire might be in an intense scene and then go speak to her son’s caretaker about what he ate for lunch and then can be referred to as from her chair and get again into a spot that Mandy needed to occupy, exhaustingly, the whole day. The admiration that they had for one another and the respect grew to become a self-supporting system for them. There was an amazing quantity of generosity between them. Each time I’ve been in public with Mandy I’ve by no means seen him refuse a selfie or an autograph. He simply couldn’t be kinder.

Linka Glatter: (Danes) is the true deal on each degree. She is fearless and will go to any depth and in fact she’s nothing like this character. She is a rare actress and a rare human being. She’s acquired the entire thing. She was a baby actress and then went and educated herself. She’s an enormous reader, a thinker. She actually researches in depth. Taking part in somebody with a illness (of being bipolar), that was a really severe enterprise for her.

What did your whole globe-trotting for manufacturing do for the present? Over eight seasons you filmed all around the world, together with prolonged stays on location in Germany, South Africa, New York, Israel, Morocco, Venezuela and Virginia.

Linka Glatter: I believe it made it actually really feel actual. To maneuver the manufacturing to a different nation each season after Brody died (in season 3), it was all the time such a reset for the collection. It felt like what it could be wish to be a CIA officer within the area.

Gordon: (Producer) Michael Klick did the complete eight seasons. He’s unbelievable. Michael would go to those international international locations and set up a community, constructing soundstages and hiring key personnel. He created issues on the fly — he ought to have gotten hazard pay. Michael, with Lesli as his co-captain, actually is somebody who deserves credit score for all the time taking over these challenges in ways in which felt masochistic however he may all the time pull it off. He did the identical factor on “24.”

You clearly made the choice from the begin to reference actual nation names and the true monikers of international intelligence and legislation enforcement businesses? Why did you try this moderately that making up nation names to keep away from potential complications?

Gansa: On “24” we made up names. On “West Wing” they made up names. It it all the time felt so faux. We actually determined to hew as near the reality as we may. Calling international locations by their actual names and intelligence companies and dramatizing the details on the bottom in these locations as carefully as we may to the reality and placing our fictional characters into that world it was a high- wire act, no query. One of many issues we have been all the time afraid of was the true world would make our fiction counterfactual and subsequently irrelevant. That didn’t occur till this season when COVID-19 took over.

Did you’re taking something from the set as a memento?

Linka Glatter: I’ve one among Carrie’s cross-body luggage. That’s her solely buddy. That’s her bestie. I’ve {a photograph} from Carrie’s condo in New York that was on the wall. However the cross-body bag has its personal sense of that means to me.


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