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Photo Flashback: The Stage Roots of Homeland’s Spies and Spymasters

Photo Flashback: The Stage Roots of Homeland’s Spies and Spymasters
Mandy Patinkin, Claire Danes & Damian Lewis in 'Homeland'
Which 'Homeland' co-stars went to junior high together?

It’s been a while since a TV cast has boasted enough theater vets to deserve a photo flashback (check out previous stories on The Good Wife, Mad Men and True Blood), but Homeland definitely fills the bill. As Showtime’s addictive spy drama barrels toward its Season Two climax, we took a look at the stage roots of a company that includes a Tony winner, a Royal Shakespeare Company veteran and more.

Claire Danes
Two-time Emmy winner Claire Danes is so wonderful as jittery bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison, it’s easy to forget the range of her screen work, from Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (at age 17, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio) to Steve Martin’s Shopgirl (a gem from 2005) and, of course, HBO’s Temple Grandin. This Manhattan native got her start on stage in dance pieces at Performance Space 122, appeared off-Broadway in The Vagina Monologues and made her Broadway debut in 2007 as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion (above). Might we suggest a little Chekhov during her next hiatus, co-starring her equally talented husband, Hugh Dancy?

Damian Lewis
Only an actor of Damian Lewis’ skill could make us believe the twisty tale of POW-turned-Islamic terrorist-turned-Congressman Nicholas Brody. And he’s British! After graduating from London’s Guildhall School of Speech and Drama, Lewis joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. A year after playing Hamlet (above) in London, Lewis made his Broadway debut in the play as Laertes (opposite Ralph Fiennes), a performance that led Steven Spielberg to tap Lewis for HBO's Band of Brothers. The actor met his wife, actress Helen McCrory, in the cast of Five Gold Rings, and they dream of co-starring in Much Ado About Nothing. Do it in New York, Damian!

Mandy Patinkin
Mandy Patinkin’s stage resume is well known to Broadway fans, particularly his Tony-winning performance as Che in Evita (above, opposite close friend Patti LuPone) and Tony-nominated star turns in Sunday in the Park With George and The Wild Party, plus The Secret Garden and more. But scads of TV viewers have no idea that Patinkin can sing, thanks to his lead roles in Chicago Hope, Criminal Minds and now Homeland, in which he gives a quietly intense performance as Saul Berenson, Carrie’s CIA mentor and protector. Danes obviously shares our Mandy obsession, shouting “Holla!” to him in her Emmy acceptance speech.

Morena Baccarin
Brazilian-born Morena Baccarin makes every female viewer identify with the pain and uncertainty of being married to Sgt. Nicholas Brody. (We even believe this 33-year-old actress could be the mother of a bratty 17-year-old!) A Juilliard graduate, Baccarin made her off-Broadway debut in 2009 as a TV host in Theresa Rebeck’s satirical Our House (above) while finding real-life TV fame in sci-fi series such as Firefly, Stargate SG-1 and V. Fun fact: She and Claire Danes were junior high school classmates in Greenwich Village.

David Harewood
As the enigmatic CIA counterterrorism director, David Harewood is a champ at keeping secrets and working all sides of every situation. Incredibly enough, this native of Birmingham, England, was the first black actor to play the title role in Othello at London’s National Theatre in 1998 (above). A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Harewood has acted on stage in both parts of Henry IV, His Dark Materials and Welcome to Thebes and is known to moviegoers for Blood Diamond. Next up for Harewood: a biopic of Paul Robeson.

Jamey Sheridan
In the late 1980s, Jamey Sheridan was Broadway’s hottest young dramatic actor, leaping from a Tony-nominated performance opposite Richard Kiley in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons (above, first at Long Wharf Theatre in 1986) to James Tyrone Jr. opposite Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst in Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Sheridan became a regular presence on TV in Shannon’s Deal, Chicago Hope, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Trauma and finally Homeland, where his John Kerry-ish square-jawed look made him a perfect fit as ill-fated Vice President William Walden.

Hrach Titizian
As CIA analyst Danny Galvez, Hrach Titizian spends his time fighting America’s enemies, but the actor made his Broadway debut in 2011 as one of the country’s most notorious adversaries: Uday Hussein, the ruthless son of Saddam, in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. Performing opposite Robin Williams, Titizian propelled the play’s storyline via his Uday’s ownership of a golden pistol. The Armenian-American actor is also the founder of The Actor’s Playpen, a Los Angeles acting school and theater where he has performed his own original works.

Marin Ireland
As Aileen Morgan, an American who grew up in Saudi Arabia and began to sympathize with American assailants, Tony nominee Marin Ireland brought the same intensity she displayed onstage in Reasons to Be Pretty, A Lie of the Mind (above), After Miss Julie and Three Sisters. After a tense season one appearance, Ireland’s incarcerated character resurfaced to square off with Mandy Patinkin over the identity of one of Abu Nazir’s associates. SPOILER ALERT: Aileen committed suicide, freeing Ireland to joins the cast of FOX’s upcoming serial killer thriller The Following.

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