Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis’ Last Day on Homeland Set

Nicholas Brody left us forever seven years ago marking Homeland Season 3 finale as the most horrific hour in the history of television for the “Brody widows” among us – a very select group of women! –  who did not want to get used to the idea of Homeland without him! We were simply devastated the day Brody died in Season 3 and extremely ecstatic the day Brody came back for 5 minutes in Season 4. And while most of us have been able to move on to Bobby Axelrod while carrying Nicholas Brody in our hearts, a world without Brody still hurts.


I LOVED Nicholas Brody. He is, by far, my all-time favorite fictional character. A character that could get close in terms of the love I have for is Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities. Now that I am thinking about it, it is quite incredible both characters meet their ends in similarly heart-breaking circumstances and Brody’s last thoughts could well be very similar to Carton’s last words:

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

Rest in Peace, Brody.

Now, I know that you all remember the time and place you watched Season 3 finale. I do, too. And I know all about the hope you held for Saul to get Carrie and Brody out, how devastated you were when Brody was taken away as well as the tears you shed through the inevitable end hopelessly hoping for a last minute rescue. I know all about it, because I lived it.

But do you know how Damian Lewis went through that shoot, and how his last day on Homeland set was like? Well, it’s never too late to find out!

It turns out that horrific scene was the last scene they shot in Season 3.

source: Showtime

Damian shares at the New Yorker Festival in 2015 that walking through that square in Rabat, Morocco with 200 nice and welcoming extras, well, until they started shouting “Allah is great” and wiggling his car, was tense. It was a pretty disturbing experience to be driven to the gallows like that and then having the noose around his neck and being lifted up was not very pleasant. Ultimately, he says, referencing to Henry VIII:

“I take executing every time over being executed.” 😀


He also tells Entertainment Weekly about how shooting that horrible scene felt like:

It was pretty unsettling – when I got in the car and the extras started banging on the car and shouting my name. Walking toward the crane and having the noose around my neck and looking out. I was looking at this mob there to see a public hanging. It was pretty distressing.

When you’re seeming to just hang there, with at least some stress on your neck, how was that to film?
 I still had a role to play. I was within Brody’s story. He told Carrie he didn’t want her to be there. But in those last moments he tries to find her and does. In the moment he’s being executed in a foreign land in front of strangers, it’s very clear that he would love a familiar face to look at, and even better that it’s Carrie’s – a woman that he loves. That’s really what I was concentrating on, trying to do that in a credible way while having the life choked out of me. I was concentrating on the minutia of acting.”


It turns out Damian even stopped some critical information from leaking to social media, too. He is Brody after all — once a Marine, always a Marine 🙂

“One person had to be removed because she tried to take photos on her iPhone. She was wearing a full black burka with a bright shiny white iPhone. I spotted her when I was at 20-30 feet hanging off the ground. I started waving my arms toward her, at which point everybody starting rushing out from the monitors shouting, “Get him down! Get him down!” I had forgotten that waving my arms [was the signal] that I was choking! So everybody came out, “Oh my god! Damian are you okay!?” And I was pointing at this young woman who foolishly was trying to take a photo of the whole thing.”

It seems shooting that scene affected everyone on the set. Director Lesli Linka Glatter says:

“We wrapped at dawn, so the sun was coming up. And, you know, to see someone you care about hanging by the neck, even though it’s fake, and he’s fine, it was still incredibly emotional. Everyone was crying.” (source: Homeland Revealed by Matthew Hurwitz. 2014. Chronicle Books. Page 157)

Well, I certainly cried my eyes out and have, in fact, still not been able to watch that scene. And some of you may have read about my conversation with Damian about the execution scene at The Goat stage door, but I think it is worth mentioning once again here.

We are at The Goat stage door chatting with Damian after his evening performance. A fan tells Damian she saw him die in Homeland but then he came back. Damian kindly asks her whether she was really watching since he came back only as a dream, and I could not help share I have never seen that horrific execution scene. And lo and behold we get into a loop: Damian tells me I have to see it, and I tell him “I will not see it.” He says it is an amazing scene and I say “yes, but I will not see it.” And he says I have to see it. “Look, Damian”, I say, “I know Helen did not watch Homeland because of the torture and what not that happened to you in the show.” He nods. “She knows it is a movie but even then she couldn’t watch it. It is the same with me. I LOVE BRODY and cannot bear to see him die. It is very sad.”

Damian does not give up.

Damian: “It is sad for all of us.”

Me: “It is sad for all of us. But it is sadder for me.”

“I will never see it!” 😀 source: Damianista

Lewisto jumps in to help Damian understand. He says he never saw me not finishing my pasta and skipping dessert before the day Brody died. Moreover, he highlights the fact that I certainly cried more than Carrie 😀Well, I don’t know if Damian is now thinking I am crazier than he originally thought, but for me, Season 3 ends HERE.

It turns out Damian went home once done with the execution shoot, took a shower, and got on a plane at noon that day to go back to London. (source: Homeland Revealed by Matthew Hurwitz. 2014. Chronicle Books. Page 157) But, before he left, he had a surprise gift for the crew!

Hint: Remember the first words Brody ever said on Homeland? Watch this if you need a refresher!

Prop master Gillian Albinski shares the story:

“He gave each of us, as a wrap gift, a T-shirt that said, ‘I am an American.'” (source: Homeland Revealed by Matthew Hurwitz. 2014. Chronicle Books. Page 157)

Lovely gesture. And his Homeland family gave Damian a very nice farewell, too. I am sure many of you have seen the video clip below.

“He’s really smart, he’s really funny, he’s really warm. He will literally tap dance before a take. He can do that” says co-star Claire Danes. Not just tap dance but it seems Damian can even do the “Crane Kick” just before or after he takes care of Akbari 😀  I love these little moments when I can completely identify with this guy. Who in our generation does not love Karate Kid? And it is no wonder Claire is missing Damian, I heard her say it at a Homeland event at Lincoln Center, on the set.

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

4 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis’ Last Day on Homeland Set”

  1. When I read this I realize how stressing it must be to shoot some scenes, even if they are just acting, they have to feel it to transmit it and for that time they are that character. I imagined that last setting for the scene and gives me the goosebumps…maybe because it’s a crowd and it’s dark chantting your name not precisely to cheer you up must generate some kind of energy….
    I am with you, I never watched that hanging scene again nor any of the ones shot in that building in Puerto Rico pretending to be the “Tower of David”… that was so realistic….

  2. Well I’m going to go home and watch that episode again tonight. I could use a good cry. I’m on the side of “you’ve got to watch this” though I totally understand (though it was so great).
    I hadn’t remembered that Brody found Claire in the crowd. Thanks for reminding us.

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