An Interview with David James, Homeland writers' PA

If you’ve been following this blog for the past few months, you may recognize tumblr user wittycreative, aka David James. He’s a PA in the Homeland writers’ room and was a great source of knowledge and “just you wait” wisdom throughout the third season. He was awesome enough to answer some burning questions I had after the season was over.

First things first: What does a writers’ PA actually do?
“PA” stands for “production assistant.” Basically that means I’m their assistant for anything they need to have done, both professional and personal. As the PA, I do a lot of runs to different places, picking up stuff for them (including lunch every day). Homeland is a great environment to be in because that’s all most PA’s do on other shows. On Homeland, I get to do research, schedule calls, give cut notes, talk freely about the show, and on the very rare occasion, actually write stuff. This year, they let the assistants help write videos for the homelandaftermath.com website. They’re a very trusting bunch and I feel super blessed to work with some of the most talented people in TV.

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More clarifications

More from David:

Saul is apologizing for asking her to be there. Carrie says “Fuck You” for asking me to be here. But ultimately it was a choice she made. If you look at it, in 303 it feels like Carrie and Brody are prisoners of circumstance but they’re both prisoners due to choices they’ve made. 304 and the ruse changes a lot of meanings in the first 3 episodes. You understand things that seemed completely unmotivated or out of character. Like Carrie says in 301, “It was right in front of my eyes and I never saw it coming.”

I think it’s important to realize that the whole thing wasn’t an act. In the grand scheme this was their plan. But smaller things – Carrie banging her head against the mirror, having to listen to mental patients screaming the middle of the night – that would drive anyone crazy. It’s interesting because it’s clear when they agreed to this grand scheme (which didn’t actually work out until Carrie walks out of that SUV after agreeing to meet with the lawyer’s client, mind) that neither understood the profound psychological toll it would take on Carrie.

I’m also inclined to believe that Dar Adal is not involved in this long con. This explains why Carrie really did want to look presentable for her hearing (she wants to get out of the hospital, and even out of the hospital she’d still be a pariah attractive to the law firm), why Carrie was surprised her bank accounts had been frozen (likely something Dar Adal did), etc.

[Update: more thoughts on this long con here.]

Extra clarification via David James, wittycreative (writers PA), on Carrie’s reaction at the end of “Tin Man Is Down”:

She was reacting to the reality of her situation at the end of 301. She’s being sold down the river on national tv. She’s incredulous because he’s asked her to take the fall. That’s the real meaning behind “Fuck You Saul.” That’s really what Carrie means in 303 when she says “I’m doing everything that’s asked of me.” She knows she has to do this but the reality of what Saul asked of her, public ridicule, acting insane in restaurants, keeping the truth from her family. That’s a fucking lot. That’s why she looks so incredulously at the end of 301. On the tactical side of things, Carrie is also expecting to be watched so she must maintain the “Crazy Carrie” character at all times. She has no idea who could possibly be scoping her out to turn her so she has to act 24/7.

Just wanted to pass along this bit of insight from David James, aka wittycreative, a writing PA on Homeland:

“It’s interesting to me that from the reviews I read, no one picked up on how last night’s episode is a giant metaphor for the show in the real world. A lot of people didn’t like last season and Lockhart on the stand being accusatory and saying he wants to shut down the agency was a lot like critics. They’ve lost hope that the show can do its job. Saul says. ‘A win would be nice, another fuck up would be fatal.’ If the show were to jump off the deep end again, that would be fatal to any credibility that it ever had.”

What do you guys think? I have read a few opinions that said they actually did agree with a lot of what Lockhart was saying. Gansa said in a few interviews that no one, Carrie especially, really faced consequences for their actions in S2. And Lockhart now is the agent of executing these consequences. I am really biased because Carrie is my favorite character and this is all incredibly unfair but at the same time it’s also deserved. And to me the matter is less that Carrie is having to face the consequences of all the effed up things she’s done (her guilt is probably the worst punishment for her) but more that Saul is really the one to shine a light on them. I want to wait to see where this all goes because I have a feeling there is more to this story and to this senator than meets the eye.

wittycreative replied to your post “can you please explain the ending to that episode?!”

Now that the ruse is revealed, go back and watch those first few episodes. In 303 Carrie says “I’m doing everything that’s asked of me” and begins to cry. She’s not talking about the hospital, she’s talking about Saul

That sound you heard was my brain exploding. Well fucking done.

wittycreative  asked:

The version that leaked is a very early (most likely TCA) cut. It's not been mixed or colored and the VFX and music have not been complete. The cut you see on September 29th is what the producers really want you to see, I say stick it out and wait! You'll be able to enjoy it much more!

Just an FYI to all you who decided to wait (David works with the writers in LA).

wittycreative replied to your post “Ask away!”

Carrie is looking incredulously at Saul because of what she’s being asked to do. She can’t believe that it’s actually happening and on National TV, no less. She’s also aware that she’s most likely being watched and by anyone.

FYI. So it was a really long con. I actually buy that. I mean, crazier shit has happened on this show.

Two more questions: at the end of “Uh… Oh… Aw” when he says sorry it’s because he didn’t think think they’d actually retain her like that and shoot her up with thorazine? And she says “fuck you” because she didn’t think that it would actually go down like that?