"HOMELAND" INSECURITY

Published on: October 26, 2012
Photography by: Frank Ockenfels/AMC/Entertainment Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com, Famous/Ace Pictures/Ace Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com
Damian Lewis

Playing terrorists on TV's Homeland has been no picnic for two stars of the Showtime hit.

Emmy winner DAMIAN LEWIS — whose character Nicholas Brody is a Marine sergeant "turned" by a terrorist group — was nearly punched out at a barbecue in Charlotte, N.C., where "Homeland" is filmed.

"A bunch of Southern boys were there drinking beer," the 41-year-old actor recalled. "One of them comes up to me and says, 'So you're playing a terrorist?'"

When Lewis replied that he wasn't sure, he says the guy "looked me in the eye, slightly drunk — and I thought, 'I'm about to get my head pulverized.'"

Fortunately, the boozed-up barbecue guest walked away, leaving Damian to declare: "I must be doing something right if people think my acting is that convincing!"

Homeland has been a hit with both critics and viewers. It won both Golden Globe and Emmy awards for best drama series, and its Season 2 premiere drew more than 2 million viewers, up a whopping 60 percent from its debut last year.

But Lewis isn't the only actor on the show whose role nearly caused him trouble in real life.

Iranian-born actor NAVID NEGAHBAN plays terrorist Abu Nazir and came under scrutiny when a suspicious customs agent asked the scruffy-looking star what he did for a living. "I was so tired I said, 'Well, lately I've been playing a most-wanted terrorist on TV,'" Negahban recalled.

Fortunately, the customs officer finally recognized him. "He looks at me and he says, 'Oh, my god! I just saw the season finale and I love the show!'" continued Negahban.

"Then he turns around and tells the other agents, 'Look, Abu Nazir is here!'"