Emmy Contender Miranda Otto on Her ‘Very Masculine’ Character in ‘Homeland’ (Video)

“She was always on the attack, never on the defensive,” actress tells TheWrap

Last Updated: June 20, 2016 @ 3:01 PM

A version of this story on Miranda Otto first appeared in the print edition of TheWrap Magazine’s Comedy/Drama/Actors Emmy Issue.

While nothing may top the jaw-dropping excitement of its first season, the most recent and fifth outing of Showtime’s “Homeland” depicted a house in most excellent order.

Claire Danes consistently delivered as a former CIA operative struggling with mental illness, while Mandy Patinkin, F. Murray Abraham and Rupert Friend never disappointed.

But it was Miranda Otto who nearly burned that house to the ground with her brilliant, conniving double agent Allison Carr.

Phoo

As the icy and stylish Berlin bureau chief to the CIA, the 48-year-old Australian actress offered up a lie-a-minute master manipulator leaving emotional and physical damage in her wake.

When showrunner Alex Gansa gave her the job, Otto said, she didn’t fully know what she was in for.

Benjo Arwas Photography

Photographed by Benjo Arwas for TheWrap

“A lot of it revealed itself as I went along,” the actress told TheWrap. “I was so surprised by how many ways they found for her to survive when she was so cornered. What’s amazing is that she was always on the attack, never on the defensive. She never apologized — she was very masculine in that way.”

Otto also carried out an onscreen affair with Patinkin’s Saul Berenson, one of the longest longest cons her character would pull — though she disagreed it was all for show.

Benjo Arwas Photography

Photographed by Benjo Arwas for TheWrap

“Any time you have intimacy with someone there is something between them,” she said. “One of the things Alex Gansa gave me was a book on [British spy] Kim Philby. He had these incredibly intimate relationships with all of the people he worked with for years and was double-crossing them.”

Benjo Arwas Photography

Photographed by Benjo Arwas for TheWrap

Philby defected to the Soviet Union in 1963. Spoiler alert: Allison Carr was not so lucky. “I love the idea that she decided she’d have to go to [the Russians] to survive in the end,” Otto said.

Benjo Arwas Photography

Photographed by Benjo Arwas for TheWrap

“She has this realization that, given the people she’s working for, she can’t afford to be moralistic,” Otto said.

“But when I read that I was dead in a trunk, I said, ‘Couldn’t you open the trunk and I’m not in there?’ Not that she would have to come back to the show, but someone like her would have just evaporated.”

See more of TheWrap Magazine’s Comedy/Drama/Actors Emmy Issue:

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