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August 12, 2012 3:01 am

EXCLUSIVE: Claire Danes Talks Israel, Gilad Shalit and Hummus (INTERVIEW)

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Claire Danes at MuchMusic. Photo: Robin Wong.

Ahead of the upcoming sophomore season of 9 time Emmy Award nominated “Homeland”, actress Claire Danes talks about her experience in Israel.

The production team visited the holy land back in May for two weeks, and shot footage in Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa and Nazareth, all doubling for Beirut per the plotline, with co stars Danes and Mandy Patinkin, on hand.

This was the second time the crew of the critically acclaimed series visited Israel, after filming parts of the show’s pilot episode there back in late 2010. Danes herself recalls both trips as favorable. “I do love working in new environments and new cultures”, she stated during a recent promotional visit to the Television Critics’ Association summer press tour held in Los Angeles, “I particularly love Israel. I’ve had fantastic experiences there”.

DC: Do you encounter misconceptions about Israel in the US?

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CD: I think people think of Israel as being incredibly dangerous and volatile, and that was not my experience.

DC: Reports and pictures emerged of Israeli POW Gilad Shalit on set. How was your meeting with him?

CD: I met him very briefly.  And it’s always a kind of awkward thing. “Hi, welcome” and there’s nothing to really say beyond that. Of course, I understand he went through, you know, an unimaginable experience and there’s no way to address it in a fleeting moment like that. But, yeah, it was a great, great honor and I was surprised to meet him.

DC: Any chance of a third trip? Anything specific you remember fondly?

CD: (The) awesome hummus. I don’t know if we’ll shoot there next season. Come April or May, I’ll be ready for my annual trip to Tel Aviv.

Whether or not Danes will be treated to yet another visit to Israel, one thing is certainly going to be different. In early July, the 33 year old Danes and her husband, British actor Hugh Dancy, announced that they are expecting their first child. “This hasn’t run too much interference”, she said regarding her pregnancy during the current production of “Homeland”, currently in its domestic late stages filming in North Carolina, “It’s proven to be a non issue and, yeah, all is well and Carrie remains fervently non-pregnant”.

DC: When the second season premieres Sept 30th on Showtime, where do viewers find your character?

CD: She’s not hiding to the same extent, and she doesn’t have that same kind of panic and defensiveness. And when we find her at the beginning of the second season, she’s been very humbled, and she’s really struggling with she’s suffering from a real crisis of confidence, and she gets her mojo back, but it takes some time.

DC: Would you say she went through a great deal of change?

CD: I think she is freer. I think she’s a little bit less paranoid, you know, a little less high strung.

DC: So if you do end up coming back to Israel – baby on board?

I think he’s going to have to come with, or she, whoever it’s going to be. They’re very portable. I carry my dog around in a suitcase. That’s been working out for, you know, my schnoodle.

The full interview with Claire Danes was published in Hebrew in this past weekend’s “Israel Hayom” newspaper.

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