Actress Morena Baccarin embodies the role of Jessica Brody with sensitivity, strength and vulnerability. While thrilled that her husband is alive, in season one she often struggled to cope with his mood swings and emotional distance. At times craving the life she’d built in his absence, she fought to keep their marriage and family together. Prior to Homeland, the Brazilian-born Baccarin, 33, was most recognized for her role in the ABC series V, in which she played a beautiful alien who transformed into a nasty-looking lizard when angry.
Season two of Homeland premiered last night, just a week after sweeping last week's Emmy Awards. We caught up with the talented and gorgeous Morena Baccarin on what it's like working with her all-star cast, how she deals with the intense material, and how she feels about nude scenes.
DivineCaroline: What was it like standing on the Emmy stage with the cast of Homeland after winning the Emmy for best drama?
Morena Baccarin: Exhilarating, confusing and incredible.
DC: Homeland is so intense that viewers can feel the tension in their guts. What did you think when you first read the script for this show?
MB: I was immediately obsessed with it and knew I had to do everything possible to land the role.
DC: How challenging was the audition process?
MB: The nature of the material was the challenging part. Kind of impossible to do those scenes well in an audition situation whilst reading with a casting director no matter how terrific they are.
DC: How does that intensity affect you when you’re filming?
MB: Wine. Lots of wine. After work, of course. I don’t drink and act.
DC: What is (on-screen husband/Emmy Award winner for best actor) Damian Lewis like as a scene partner?
MB: Amazing, astute, giving and strong.
DC: There are incredibly interesting variations of intimacy in the Brody/Jessica relationship. There are so many layers—time, trauma, secrecy and love. How did you see those unfolding over season one and how will it continue to unfold in season two?
MB: It unfolded slowly. Each layer covering the previous. A slow build to what seems like an impossible situation in a relationship. Second season we peel back those layers and investigate what lies beneath. Will the marriage work? Will we pull through? And how much is Jessica able to deal with?
DC: You only had a couple of scenes with (Emmy Award winner) Claire Danes in season one, but can you please comment on what it’s like to work with her.
MB: She’s the best. It’s no secret she’s an incredibly talented and seasoned actor. But she is also a giving and nurturing person who I relish on and off screen.
DC: What is home for you, New York or Los Angeles?
MB: Mostly Los Angeles. But I grew up in New York City. Therefore it will always be home.
DC: How do you and your husband (film director Austin Chick) deal with you being away to film Homeland in North Carolina?
MB: You just make it work. There’s no formula. You try your best.
DC: Have you and he ever worked together and/or do you plan on it?
MB: We have not worked together, though we would both like to at some point.
DC: About wearing your hair super short in V and short on Homeland. We often talk about how women love short hair but we’re told not to wear it because men hate it. So what was it like to go short?
MB: I was encouraged by my husband, then boyfriend, to cut it for a role. He convinced me it would be unique and beautiful. I took a photo of (the late actress) Jean Seberg to the hair dresser and said, “Make me look like her.” I’ve had men say they love it and men say they prefer long hair. If I did everything a man told me to do I’d be too obedient.
DC: You said in an interview that you sweat the nude scenes in Homeland. You’re incredibly beautiful and you’re from Brazil where women of different shapes and sizes are celebrated. Do you think you’ll ever get to a place where you can eat a burger and then film a nude scene?
MB: Never. But mostly because eating a burger doesn’t equal feeling attractive. I’m not self conscious of only my body. I do feel comfortable in the buff if I am in a safe environment. But this industry does not breed confidence. It builds you up and in the same breath tears you down. God forbid I’m not perfect.