Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
At least that's how Claire Danes feels about Anne Hathaway's infamous spoof of her award-winning performance as Carrie on Showtime's hit series Homeland on Saturday Night Live last November, saying she was "flattered." But Danes did reveal she received a warning text from Hathaway that made her say, "Oh sh-t!"
Plus, Homeland's executive producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa and stars Danes, Damian Lewis and Rupert Friend appeared at Showtime's presentation at the 2013 Summer TCAs Press Tour to tease the series' highly anticipated Sept. 29 return, when (and if!) fans will see Brody (Lewis) again and how much of a mess Carrie (Danes) will be at the start of season three...
So how did Danes first hear of Hathaway's parody of her Homeland performance? "I'm friendly with Anne and I was in Toronto at the time, and I got a series of texts from her, saying, 'Hi. Ummm, so I'm hosting SNL and I really hope we can still friends!'" Danes revealed. "And then she sent me a big bouquet flowers. This was all before it aired and I was like, oh, sh-t! I don't know if I want to watch this, she's way too nice about it!"
Of course, curiosity got the better of Danes and she tried to look up the clip, but had trouble because she was in Canada. "And then so much time passed that I was just like I enjoyed her flowers and I don't think I need to look at that," Danes explained.
"It's all in good fun and actually I have to be honest, I was very flattered really," she said. "To be parodied on SNL means oh boy we're relevant, we're in the zeitgeist, we're cool. Cool enough to be made fun of!"
As for Homeland's third season, It's not really a spoiler to say that Carrie is in a pretty "bleak" place at the beginning of season three after the tragic bombing and Brody's exit, with Danes teasing, "She's gone off her meds for all sorts of reasons, which I think she believes strongly in. Carrie is always sitting on her own personal ticking bomb. It's just an impossible dilemma because she's not great on the meds and she's even worse off of them."
Fans can also expect to see major tension between Carrie and her mentor Saul (Mandy Patinkin), who is [Spoiler Alert!] promoted to Director of CIA in the new season, after he is forced to make tough decisions about Carrie and the CIA.
"She does feel a certain level of betrayal, but also they share an enormous, profound amount of guilt and responsibility for this devastating bomb, this loss," Danes teased. "Even though they're estranged, they're very deeply connected because they experience that trauma that no one else has."
As for Brody, we can tell you that he isn't seen in the first two episodes and producers were coy about when the series' male (Emmy-nominated!) lead will make his season three debut.
"The decision to not have Brody for the first two episodes was strictly a function in the story," Gansa explained. "So much was transpiring on the ground in Washington that Brody's flight from America made it impossible to include that storyline in the first couple of episodes."
But fret not, Brody will pop up...eventually. "Brody is on the lam. He's disappeared into a network, a tunnel system…he's the most wanted criminal in the world, arguably at this point; he has to lay low," Lewis previews. "When you do see Brody, hopefully what will be of interest to the audience, is what state he's in. I hope when you do see Brody for the first time it will be interesting."
And while Homeland has been praised by critics and showered with awards, season two experienced a bit of backlash when it came to certain storylines coming off as unrealistic.
"I don't think we were responding to it in season three. Our job is to put the best episodes out there possible, and it's your job to like them or not like them," Gansa said when asked if the producers had taken any criticism or backlash to heart. "I obviously wish the backlash had never happened, but it didn't really influence the way we rolled out season two or season three. I think the show built an audience all through season two and our 11 Emmy nominations are a nice comeback."
Homeland returns Sunday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m. on Showtime.