Miranda Otto Q&A: ‘Homeland’
“I never knew it was so much fun to be bad!” laughs actress Miranda Otto as we chat via webcam (watch above) about her role as shady CIA operative Allison Carr in Showtime’s Emmy-winning “Homeland.” “I’ve played a lot of nice people and heroines, but I haven’t played a lot characters that are hugely deceitful.” The fifth season of “Homeland,” which aired last year, saw the team embroiled in more terrorist plots, this time in Europe, as Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) team up with Berlin CIA station chief Allison Carr, who turns out to be a double agent, working for the SVR (the Russian foreign intelligence service).
Otto admits she was fascinated with the idea of playing a duplicitous and ultimately villainous character. “You’re acting all the time, you’re never yourself,” she explains. “You’re controlling everything that you do. That was a really interesting thing to take on as an actor.” She was excited to play a character that became more unhinged and paranoid as the net began to inevitably close in on her deception. “I think I became a little paranoid myself!” the actress jokes, noting that this character afforded her a whole range of emotions to play with. “This show is so cleverly written. I loved all of the different layers put into Allison. The vulnerabilities that they gave her, the toughness, the steeliness, the self-doubt at times and the incredible resolve. They just kept painting more and more parts to her, which made it fun to play.”
While eager to rise to the challenge of playing this multi-dimensional and complicated woman, Otto was still well aware that she was joining a show in its fifth season that ran like a well-oiled machine. “The great thing about coming onto a show that is already established is that everybody already knows what the show is. The writing team is so strong and they know what works. The actors all know their roles so intimately, so you’re coming on to a production that is really well organized and that is really capable of achieving things that are seemingly impossible.”