Much goes on inside the Beltway, but it’s not often that a high-profile premiere of a movie or television show takes place within Wi-Fi range of the nation’s capitol.
But Washington, D.C., was indeed the perfect location that pay cabler Showtime chose to screen the first episode of its highly anticipated third season of "Homeland," which is largely set in its environs — although mainly shot in North Carolina.
Just about everyone who is anyone associated with the Emmy Award-winning drama descended on D.C.’s Corcoran Gallery of Art for the Sept. 9 premiere. There was even speculation that the president himself — who has publicly identified himself as a fan of the show — might make an appearance, although a little crisis involving Syria disrupted any such contingencies for the Commander-in-Chief’s attendance.
All of the show’s main talent, including Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin and Morena Baccarin, walked the red carpet and posed on the step-and-repeat setup inside the ornate gallery. They will be doing the same thing again this weekend at the Emmy Awards for the show, which has garnered 11 nominations, including another one for best drama.
As for the new season, which begins Sept. 29, Danes’ character Carrie is still feeling the ramifications of the terrorist attack on the CIA and grappling with her feelings for Brody, who is now on the run after being blamed for the 9/11-like devastation and death.
"Carrie has a rough go of it," Danes said at the event. "I mean, when does she not, really? I think she feels profound guilt for having failed to anticipate this attack — you know, obviously the attack that devastated so much of the CIA in the finale — so she’s just reeling from that, really, and the CIA is held under serious investigation, and they’re having to defend their existence, basically."
Meanwhile, Baccarin’s role as Brody’s wife is evolving, as are those of their teenage children. "You get to see a bit more of the home life without Brody, how they’re picking up the pieces and moving forward. There’s a lot of conflict between Jessica and Dana, a lot of growth that happens there and a lot of heartbreak," Baccarin said.
If you caught that spoiler — yes, spoiler alert: Brody does not appear in the first episode of the new season and Patinkin wouldn’t divulge much more. "I won’t give you any details. I will say that as an actor in it I have not been disappointed one iota as each script has come to me. I think it is thrilling what these writers are doing. I think they go into new territory that I haven’t imagined," Patinkin said.
Patinkin and his fellow "Homelanders" arrived at the premiere after spending the day at the CIA, where the man who plays the acting director met the real director of the intelligence organization.
One cast member told us they were still puzzled about the CIA gift shop they encountered that purveyed CIA-branded chocolates, luggage tags and baseball caps. “I was wondering why they had it, as the public is not allowed in [to Langley],” to which I replied, "It’s probably a front for something."
The CIA is so stealth that although a number of guests were affiliated with what they called “the organization,” several we spoke to did not have business cards and were not allowed to give their last names. We decided it was best not to offer them our card as a result. (As if they couldn’t track us down.)
In addition to Showtime’s Matt Blank and David Nevins, Fox’s Gary Newman and “Homeland” showrunner Alex Gansa, a number of the producers and writers were in attendance — and were allowed to give their names, which was a good way to tell apart the TV people from the CIA crowd. Actually, the writers and producers were introduced by the aforementioned executives, who made opening remarks before the screening began.
It being Washington, politics were not surprisingly involved. Longtime Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) was there to meet and greet a large number of the guests who reside in his home Los Angeles district and flew out for the event.