Morena Baccarin Looks Back on ‘Homeland’ and Playing Jessica Brody

Diego Klattenhoff and Morena Baccarin in 'Homeland' (Photo © Showtime)
Diego Klattenhoff and Morena Baccarin in ‘Homeland’ (Photo © Showtime)

Morena Baccarin had guest-starring roles on Stargate-SG1, The Mentalist, The O.C., Las Vegas, and was a regular on the short-lived medical drama Heartland before landing V, a remake of the 1983 mini-series and subsequent short-lived TV series of the same name. On V, Baccarin played Anna, the cold, cunning leader of an alien race of lizard-like humanoids that come to Earth in peace. However, the true intention of the aliens – called the Visitors – is conquering Earth.

When V was cancelled after its second season, Morena Baccarin went to play Jessica Brody – another highlight of her career and arguably her best-known role – on Showtime’s Homeland. Based on the Israeli TV series Hatufim (English translation: Prisoners of War) Jessica is the wife of Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), a U.S. Marine who’s been a prisoner of al-Queada for several years.

When he’s released, Brody returns home to Jessica and their two children Dana (Morgan Saylor) and Chris (Jackson Pace), but he’s badly traumatized. During his absence and believing him dead, Jessica finally moved on and began a relationship with Maj. Mike Faber (Diego Klattenhoff), Brody’s best friend. Upon Brody’s return, she breaks up with Mike and tries to make her marriage work again. Further, bipolar CIA operative Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) believes Brody’s been turned. She’s right, but Brody – who’s climbing the political ladder – undermines her credibility at every step.

“I felt that her journey was so fascinating. Here’s this woman who’d given up everything – the military wife. He comes home finally. She’s buried him in many ways and she’d had to put aside herself and the love that she found to put her family back together. And it turns out he’s become completely unavailable and crazy. There’s so much to be played and such a great story to be told,” said Baccarin.

She even spoke candidly about doing nude scenes on Homeland.

“It was incredibly difficult to do those scenes, but I felt they were necessary for the character’s journey. It was not a pleasant experience for me, but it revealed a vulnerability that really allowed me to tap into this character,” explained Baccarin. “Although I didn’t love doing it, I felt it was necessary. Those scenes aren’t fun to shoot, but you get through them and everyone’s professional about it and you do your best.”

Morena Baccarin in Homeland
Morena Baccarin (Photo © Showtime)

Homeland made Baccarin grow as an actress.

“When you work with such amazing people, you’re forced to raise your game in such a way,” said Baccarin. “I was challenged by the material, my fellow actors, and the situation my character was put in. It forces you to grow and go to places that you’re afraid of and don’t think you can do.”

Her co-star Mandy Patinkin agreed.

“The company of the actors and the writing staff is of the highest caliber I have ever had the privilege to be involved with. I am invigorated by it beyond all words; I’m just thrilled to be a part of it. It is one of the great experiences of my professional life,” he said. “I’m thrilled that it’s become an overnight success. When we were making it, everybody in the first few days from the crew to the staff – the truck drivers, the people who make the coffee – everyone realized instantly we were involved in something that was most unique and unusual before anybody had seen one single show.”

Patinkin continued: “We were just thrilled to be a part of it. Nobody knew if it would be successful or not, but we all knew that doesn’t come everyday, so we better enjoy yourself because you don’t get an opportunity like this to do this kind of material with this company of people all the way around – it doesn’t happen everyday. We were well aware that we were in a unique situation, everyone involved. The fact that it came to fruition and has been appreciated by others the way we were appreciating it is just extremely rewarding.”

Patinkin praised Baccarin’s acting and culinary talents.

“She’s an incredible baker. (The cast) have fun, we have dinners together, we really enjoy each other’s company,” said Patinkin. “Morena’s an amazing actress, an amazing cook, and a gifted human being.”

Hands down, Jessica Brody is Baccarin’s favorite role.

“It gave me a lot and I gave a lot to her,” she said.

Jessica wasn’t in the fourth season of Homeland. She was last seen in the third season. She has publicly expressed interest in reprising this role in order to give it closure.

“I feel like the story was never really finished,” said Baccarin. “It’d be a privilege to wrap it up or just come back and do a little bit of something on the show. It was such a phenomenal experience.”

Another role she’d like to reprise is Inara. Baccarin stated that if Joss Whedon called her and wanted to do another Firefly/Serenity project, she would be there “in a heartbeat.”

“There’s a little something for everybody,” said Baccarin. “They’re just damn interesting characters that Joss created. There’s endless possibilities for them. There are a lot more stories left to be told.”

Beyond that, Baccarin also mentioned her bucket list.

“There are a handful of places I’d like to go to in my life. Japan is at the top of my list. (There’s a) lot of traveling I’d like to do,” she said. “I’d like to be on Letterman before he signs off. It’d be nice to win an Oscar one day. What else? Play a Bond girl, I’ll take that. Be on Broadway – I think that’s it for now.”

– More with Morena Baccarin: Inside Gotham and Firefly