DUSTIN HOFFMAN: I have to say, I haven't always been a television-watcher, but I'm becoming one now because a lot of the art in what we do seems to be happening on TV. You have these extraordinary actors and directors and writers doing these amazing things. I know that you've worked in television before, but what has this experience been like for you working on Homeland?
CLAIRE DANES: I'd actually only done one series before Homeland—and I was 14 when I did it, and we only made 19 episodes—so Homeland has really been my first time aging with a character and experiencing her develop and change. I know that this is not an uncommon story, but I got excited again about television from watching The Wire. That show blew me away; I just could not believe how enormous and layered this world was that they'd created, and how deeply I could delve into it. It was just so thrilling to watch a show like that as an audience member that I became interested in getting involved in something like that on the other side, as a performer. But working on Homeland has been very rewarding. I really enjoy the relationship that an actor has with a team of writers on a show like ours. It's a very intimate process. You really have to work in tandem.
HOFFMAN: In a sense, you're almost like a co-writer.
DANES: Well, there's no way that I could spin the kinds of stories that our writers spin—I'm always dazzled by their imaginations. But it becomes a conversation because the writers are writing for you, and you are interpreting what they write, and then they riff on what you're doing, and on and on it goes. The writers start writing for you, which maybe was more common in film a long time ago, when there were these auteurs who had these communities of actors around them that they built over time and created little cultures around. But there's something so wonderful about that shorthand, that intimacy, and that kind of an economy that develops. You can do a lot in a very condensed period of time because there's so much that becomes tacitly understood. After a certain point, you also don't have to really research because you and the writers have actually developed a history together in real-time. You don't have to imagine what came before for the character because you've actually done a lot of it and worked through it together, which is cool.
By Dustin Hoffman
Photography Fabien Baron
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