Emmy Awards: 'Homeland' star Damian Lewis on his nomination, and singing with co-star Mandy Patinkin

Kent Smith/Showtime

It was a big morning for Showtime’s critically acclaimed series Homeland, which netted nine Emmy nominations, including Best Drama Series, Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Claire Danes, and Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Damian Lewis. The noms were a record for the network and the most for any freshman series this year. “I’m really thrilled,” says Lewis, celebrating on a day off from the series currently shooting season two in Charlotte, N.C.. “Over the moon. I was asleep. So I was just getting some extra zzzzs and I woke up with my phone buzzing next to my head.” EW talked to Lewis about Homeland as well as season two and carrying a tune with his co-star Mandy Patinkin.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s such a great show and you and Claire especially have to do such intense work, it must be so rewarding to get these nominations?
DAMIAN LEWIS: Yeah I mean of course. Everyone is always trying to be sort of tasteful about awards and It’s the work that’s important and awards don’t really matter. Of course, it’s nice when you get nominated. It’s ostensibly an Emmy. And it’s a recognition. It’s being in the club and just saying “We thought you handful of guys and girls did amazing work so we’d like to recognize that.” I wanna be a member of this club.

Is there one episode last season that was the most challenging? Or most proud of?
Well the finale was incredibly difficult the way that it built and in terms of tension. And in terms of a deftness of touch, probably the episode called “The Weekend” where he and Carrie spend time together at the cabin. But the most challenging of all was the lie detector scene and Mandy Patinkin was there and we tried to do an a capella version of “Bohemain Rhapsody.” That was the most thrilling.

Who has the better singing voice?
Oh my God. I can’t believe you’re even asking! Mandy. He sat me down yesterday. I started  humming a tune from Into the Woods. And he was like, “Oh my God keep singing that! I’ll come in with my part!” Then he was coaching me. I was getting the notes wrong. He was trying to put me in touch with singing teachers. We’re not really shooting Homeland down here.

You mentioned “The Weekend.” I feel like that episode really was when the show came together and was a pivotal episode.
I think it was intended to be a pivotal episode. I mean already by episode 3 viewers were starting to think “Oh my God are Carrie and Brody going to get togther in some way? How will they make that believable?” And that episode was really the time that they did and they weren’t just screwing each other in the back of a car. It was a psychologically complex and intimate relationship that was going to be difficult for either of them to shake.

Have you talked to [executive producers] Howard Gordon or Alex Gansa or Claire?
I haven’t spoken to anybody. I’ve spoken to you guys. And I’ve had a cup of coffee.

So for season two, Brody is pursuing a career in politics?
Yeah he’s having an accelerated political trajectory. Brody makes a mission statement to Abu Nazir at the end of season one when he says “I have decided non-violence is the way forward.” And he seems to say at that point that you have not successfully radicalized me to act violently, but I do still hold this personal grudge towards the Vice President and Brody is clearly still vulnerable and unstable. He accepts the job because it gets him to be closer to the man he needs to be closer to—the Vice President.

Damian, congrats on the nomination. Go celebrate! Put some Kahlua in that coffee or have a mimosa!
I have mimosas swimming in front of my eyes right now!

Related:
Emmys 2012: And the nominees are…
Emmy Awards: Why Sherlock Holmes and various ‘girls’ make this is a schizo but superb nominations list
Emmy Awards: Jimmy Fallon, Lena Dunham, and others react to their nominations

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