Posted by vulture.com (posting here only Rupert’s questions). Interview by Stacey Wilson Hunt. June 15th, 2017
No matter your political leanings, it’s accurate to say that the 2016 presidential election has affected American popular culture — and Hollywood — more profoundly than any in U.S. history. From Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy’s brash portrayals of Donald Trump and Sean Spicer on SNL to Kathy Griffin’s controversial severed-head-of-POTUS photo moment, the results of November 8, 2016, left the entertainment industry desperate for an answer to: What now? And perhaps no series was more directly impacted than Showtime’s Homeland, whose sixth-season production cycle fell squarely in the middle of the chaos, forcing the Emmy-winning drama’s creators to ponder, to what degree can truth really be stranger than fiction?
In early April, Vulture sat down with Homeland’s creators and cast — including executive producer Alex Gansa; executive producer and director Lesli Linka Glatter; and actors Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Elizabeth Marvel, and Rupert Friend — in front of an audience of TV Academy voters to discuss how fact and fantasy intermingled in season six, what informed the decision to move the story to New York, who received physical threats from talk-radio host Alex Jones, and what Gansa says is his writers’ first order of business to end the series for good.
Rupert, what toll did this season take on you physically? No actor in the series had more demanded of him or her than you. It’s an understatement to say that Quinn suffered immensely before he left us.
Rupert Friend: Quite a large chiropractic bill. [Laughter.] That’s true actually. One of the things I really applaud about the team here is the risks that they’re willing to take. When the scripts come in, you see those risks are always rooted in reality and truths. And then you feel people wanting to say, “What if we just pushed it all the way to 11?” And I get the script, and it says, “And then Quinn turns into a monkey.” And, you go, “Okay!”
That was a scene we definitely had never seen before.
RF: Right, and that’s the kind of thing that puts a fire under my ass. You double me, and I double you back. I love that. Toward the end of last season we talked about, if Quinn comes back, we can’t shy away from the reality of a returning modern veteran. What does that look like? I spoke to a number of people who were this guy. And the theme that seemed to link them was this idea of being abandoned by the society they’ve returned to; the idea of being used and then chewed up and spat out. What does that do to you psychologically? I was honored to be part of telling that story.