Another season of Homeland has ended, bringing with it the usual heartwrenching suspense, unbelievable action and intense drama – and although the last two seasons have been excellent without Nicholas Brody, seasons one, two and three will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Damian Lewis played Brody, the US Marine who was held as a hostage for eight years, so perfectly that it would be impossible to imagine any other actor taking on the famous role.
But the creators of the hit show have revealed that in fact, Brody wasn’t their first – or even second – choice for the lead role.
In an interview with The New Yorker, showrunner Alex Gansa said actor Patrick Wilson was the network’s top choice, but he declined to play the role.
Then the network went after Ryan Philippe to play the character, who has a twisted relationship with lead actress Claire Danes as CIA agent Carrie Mathison.
However, Gansa was determined to get Damian on board, despite the network being ‘very negative’ when he suggested him as the lead
'The network really wanted Ryan Phillippe; Patrick Wilson passed,' Gansa said. 'I kept talking about Damian until I got a call from the head of the studio saying, “Look, Alex, please do not bring up Damian’s name again.'’
'Hanging up the phone in my office - I think we were two weeks from the start of principal photography - I was like, “Are we going to cast Ryan Phillippe in this role?”’
He finally convinced bosses to hire Damian after making them watch his performance as a schizophrenic father in Keane.
'The first forty-five minutes of the film are essentially Damian on camera. I hit pause and picked up the phone and called the studio head and said, “This is just an incredible performance—a damaged person on camera holding the frame,”’ he said.
Damian’s performance persuaded the executives to take notice – and the rest is action-packed history.
Could you imagine Patrick Wilson or Ryan Philippe as Brody, or will Damian Lewis always be Brody for you? Let us know @marieclaireuk