Morgan Saylor is best known for her role as Dana Brody on Showtime’s hit, Homeland. Homeland is a series that stars Claire Danes, as CIA agent Carrie Mathison, who falls in love with a married United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper, who was thought to be dead, played by Damien Lewis. Saylor sat down to discuss what fans can expect for season three.
Q: How did you get involved originally with Homeland?
Saylor: Well, I was living in Atlanta, Georgia and I think I had just turned sixteen and at that point I only had a small Atlanta agency. It came through as a regular audition. I read the pilot and I thought it was really cool, but it was only a pilot. It wasn’t anything huge in terms of an audition. So I put myself on tape, which is what I did for hundreds of auditions for the past six years and they liked me. I had a call back in Charlotte, North Carolina where we shoot…and it went really, really well. I knew I got it. We all got along and I could tell they liked what I was doing with the character.
Q: In a lot of shows, kids can be casted off to the side as just like small secondary roles. However, the character you play has become such a big part of the story line. How do you feel Dana’s role has evolved?
Saylor: I think its crazy how big of a role Dana has gotten on the show. I really do. The writers and I had spoke a lot about the character. Literally, five out of six of the writers had 16 year-old kids at the time of the pilot. So everyone had that demographic and were excited to write about their kids — which I think is a big part of where Dana comes from and the relationship she has with her dad. I saw in each script a rising role.
Q: It’s crazy. When the show starts, she has a little resentment towards her dad [Brody] for being gone, coming back from the dead almost, and than trying to be a father figure in her life. Then, as she starts to accept it, he is not the guy that originally left. Why do you think she is so back and forth with him?
Saylor: I think that when he was gone and when he came back, Dana kind of in a teenager sort of way exaggerated the role of her father. Obviously she had a lot of anger towards her mother that wasn’t always completely justified. So her dad was kind of this knight in shining armor because he was a different opinion from the one adult in the household. So a few episodes in, in season one, they connect. The one where an interviewer comes to their house and asks questions. There is a conversation her and her dad have that shows her a side of him as a real person.
Q: There are specific moments that continue to bring back their relationship each season. What do you think about these moments that help to keep their bond afloat?
Saylor: I think it’s kind of similar to real life. I think from being a teenager, I have the experience of going months of hating your parents and then there are those moments of two people talking instead of child and parent. I think with life, with any relationship you have a roller coaster that can change at any moment. Whether someone says he is a terrorist or you find out about his change of religion. I think the show portrays the roller coaster accurately.
Q: As if the show doesn’t have enough going on, the finale ends with a bomb going off with the main suspect being Brody. Where do we pick up in season three?
Saylor: We pick up in a place where Dana is really unstable. I think about two or three months have passed from the season two finale and literally the Brody family is dealing with their dad being the most wanted terrorist in the entire world. So, that is kind of a big deal.
Q: They are all kind of agreeing with what is being reported, which is that the bomb that blew up the agency was planted by your dad?
Saylor: Oh yeah. Dana believes it completely. I think above anything else that has happened in the other seasons, it’s the most devastating thing to happen to her in her entire life. No one knows where Brody is. Carrie doesn’t know where he is. You find out soon enough but it’s not anywhere close by.
Q: What can fans expect this year? Are all the major players back again? Is it a different take because Brody’s missing?
Saylor: It’s really different then the past few seasons. We lost a lot of characters due to the explosion at the CIA. So, there is a lot of picking up the pieces in season three. Everyone’s life has been destroyed in different ways from the explosion. But there are different stories with some new characters that are introduced. There are some adventure and romance and sadness all in Dana’s life, which has been fun and hard — and a big difference from last year. It’s a lot of new stuff so it feels like a different show, but it’s going to be so good.
Q: Final question, how would you describe this season in a few words?
Saylor: Intense, adventure, growth, and hope.
Catch the season three premiere of Homeland airing on Showtime on September 29.
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