“Homeland” said goodbye to one half of its leading duo during its Season 3 finale. Damian Lewis‘ troubled character Nicholas Brody finally breathed his final breath during the episode, and though some people had their doubts, it’s been confirmed that he’s gone for good.
Showrunner Alex Gansa has already given his take on the loss of Brody, but now it’s Lewis’ turn to speak. In an interview with The New York Times, Lewis opens up about saying goodbye to the character after a tumultuous three seasons.
Of learning the news that Brody would actually die, he says he took it “with a mixture of emotions.”
“I loved doing ‘Homeland,’ I loved playing Brody. I’m extremely proud of who we all created together,” Lewis says. “I think he’s a tragic hero for our time. He himself embodies a cautionary tale, going right back to the beginning, about sending young men to war and the damage it can do. He had brief moments of happiness and glory, but was essentially a very unhappy figure for three years. I enjoyed playing him, but I never expected him to last this long.”
Lewis knew from the get-go that Brody wasn’t going to be a permanent character on “Homeland” like Carrie (Claire Danes) is. From the initial uncertainty of whether he had been a turned soldier through his final act of heroism in Iran, Brody always needed to have an end game. Lewis says he thinks Gansa and fellow showrunner Howard Gordon had trouble controlling this character that morphed out of their control.
“They ended up creating such a compelling, unpredictable, sad and ambiguous character who was capable of so much damage — he was able to affect story on such a grand scale. They created a monster that they couldn’t quite control,” Lewis reflects. “Sometimes it feels like that to me. The thought of having to continue to write him was too hard, perhaps. It was going to create too much of a challenge. I sympathize with them. Brody’s a very unbalancing force.”
He and Danes bid their farewells after shooting the execution scene in Morocco, which was their last day of filming. For Lewis, actually playing Brody in that scene was “terrifying.”
“I had tried hard not to engage too much with the idea of staging my own execution,” Lewis admits with a laugh. “That might have kept me up. But certainly as we got there and saw the crane in front of the square, they had hired about 200 local extras and they were chanting and banging the car as I came through the crowds. Looking at the crowd, cheering and baying for your blood, all around you, it was very unsettling. Claire chose not to watch it, I don’t think, until she had to. But ‘Homeland’ has never pretended to be a comedy.”
As for what comes next, the real-life Brit says that he hasn’t received any calls from “Downton Abbey” yet. “No, no one’s asked me to put a top hat or a tailcoat on yet. Although I do know Julian [Fellowes] quite well. Maybe he’ll call, and I’ll play an American on ‘Downton Abbey,'” Lewis suggests. “Maybe I could be Elizabeth McGovern‘s American lover or something.”