7 Questions With ‘Homeland’ Star Rupert Friend: Emmy Contender Quickie

Showtime actor talks to TheWrap about why he rarely watches TV, his favorite scenes (bashing people’s heads in) and why his pig might be whistling

“Homeland’s” Peter Quinn can kick terrorist butt with his eyes closed and his hands tied behind his back.

A top CIA operative on Showtime’s spy juggernaut, he once stabbed a suspect through the hand, smashed another guy’s head for making a snide remark about his date’s weight, and last season he officially became Carrie Mathison’s (Claire Danes) main squeeze.

But real-life Rupert Friend, the man who plays him on TV, is anything but scary.

Sporting a calm British accent, Friend talked to TheWrap about why he rarely watches TV, his favorite scenes (bashing people’s heads in) and why his pig is whistling.

What was the toughest thing you had to do this season?
God, this interview. I don’t know, man. It’s a very pleasurable job. It’s not like I’m digging ditches or anything like that. I love my work. But I’ll tell you what… I still don’t know what the ‘F’ in F. Murray Abraham’s (“Homeland’s” “Dar Adal”) name stands for. So the toughest thing I’d say is I still haven’t been able to find that out.

homeland F murray

What was the funnest thing you got to do this season?
When Quinn is having breakfast with his apartment manager after they’ve had their one-night stand, two frat boys start to make cruel jokes about her size. That’s when Quinn goes postal on one of them. Putting the guy’s face in a plate of waffles was great because we had a sort of dummy waffle with Jell-O inside it. Every time I slammed his face into it, this poor guy was getting more and more bleary-eyed. But he wasn’t looking ‘waffley’ or bloody enough so we had to basically cover his face in jam. But, I should say, he was very polite about it.

Let’s assume someone has never heard of “Homeland.” What would you say to get them to watch it?
I’d say you have this crazy lady, this crazy guy, this other grumpy guy, this kind of scary-grumpy guy and they’re all lying to each other and no one quite knows anything. Tune in next week.

Who else on the show really deserves an Emmy and why?
Mandy Patinkin (“Saul”). Mandy has extraordinary commitment to his work and working with him raises my game. I think he sets the bar impossibly high and I think he attains it. To me that makes him a champion and it makes him absolutely deserving of all the awards that there are.


Are you a binge-watcher? Once-a-weeker? What was the last thing you binge-watched?
I am a very sporadic watcher of television. I don’t watch a lot of it. I’ve only actually seen a couple of shows and I didn’t finish them — not because I didn’t enjoy it but because I think I may have a slightly wandering attention. I watched ‘Mad Men’ a bit and I watched most of ‘Breaking Bad,’ which I really enjoyed. But I still haven’t finished either of them.

If you could add a new category to the Emmys, serious or silly, what would it be?
Wow that’s a good one. The old saying, ‘An army marches on its stomach’ has never been more true than in film and television. If it’s good, cheerful and exciting and full of great yummy things, then everyone does really well. If it’s the opposite, it’s very disappointing. So I would definitely have ‘Catering’ as a behind-the-scenes award.

Peter Quinn

I read somewhere that you learned Italian after watching “The Godfather.” Now that you’re shooting “Homeland’s” Season 5 in Germany, how’s your German?
Terrible. I can say, “Ich glaub mein Schwein pfeift” which means, “I believe my pig is whistling.” It’s a phrase German people say when they can’t believe something just happened.