“Homeland” has cast Hugh Dancy in its upcoming eighth and final season. Dancy is a welcome addition not just because he is a terrific actor (with an Emmy nomination for “Elizabeth I” and two Critics’ Choice bids for “Hannibal” to prove it), but because “Homeland” stars his wife Claire Danes, a connection that was conspicuously omitted from Showtime’s standalone press release announcing his casting. This will mark their first on-screen collaboration since marrying almost 10 years ago and first time acting together since they met in 2006 on the set of the film “Evening.” Why did it take so long for them to get together (on screen)?
At a “Homeland” event for Emmy voters last year, I even asked Danes whether she would ever act with Dancy, with whom she was pregnant at the time with their second son. “I would love to, yeah,” she replied (watch above). Perhaps getting these two amazing actors to play off each other was not as obvious an idea as I had assumed that it was. She continued, “Maybe one day, something will manifest — some job, but not yet. Right now, I’m very happy cohabitating with him.” Did my question set the wheels in motion for this dream pairing?
After all, “Homeland” co-creator Howard Gordon told me minutes later on the same red carpet, “You’re giving me a good idea; maybe we’ll bring it into the writers’ room.” I had admittedly been talking with Gordon about something else, but he seemed to respond well to my line of thinking and perhaps he adopted it a month later when they resumed work in the “Homeland” writers’ room. (How much longer until LaTanya Richardson Jackson takes my advice and signs on to some Samuel L. Jackson movie?)
Dancy will recur as John Zabel, the foreign-policy advisor to Beau Bridges’s President Ralph Warner and a rival to Mandy Patinkin’s Saul Berenson. This Israel-set season has been filming in Morocco since February for a fall premiere, returning the show to the broadcast schedule of its first five seasons after its last two seasons aired in early 2017 and 2018.
Like most prestige dramas not named “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland” will miss eligibility for the 2019 Emmys, but it will contend in the bloodbath that is set for the next Golden Globes. The most recent award that the show won was Best Drama Episode Writing last month from the Writers Guild of America for showrunner Alex Gansa’s script of the seventh season finale, which is the episode that they screened in the Writers Guild Theater for Emmy voters at the aforementioned event last June.
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