'Homeland' Creator Talks Emmy Return, Season 5 and Eventually Filming in the U.S. Again

Homeland S04E09 Still - H 2014
David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Homeland S04E09 Still - H 2014

"It's hard to make a comeback," Alex Gansa tells THR, "especially in Hollywood."

It's not an easy feat to come back into favor with Emmy voters. Despite its 2012 win for outstanding drama, Homeland largely slipped off of the radar in 2014, failing to score a nomination in the top category. But the Showtime drama came back swinging Thursday morning with four mentions — including a return to the TV Academy's most-heated race.

"It was truly unexpected and very gratifying at the same time," showrunner and co-creator Alex Gansa tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It's hard to make a comeback, especially in Hollywood. Now I can really be honest and reveal just how devastated I was last season when we didn't get a nomination [last year]. It was really hard for everyone on the show."

Homeland did go on to enjoy a major renaissance among critics and fans in its recent fourth season, shifting production from North Carolina to South Africa (doubling for Pakistan) and abandoning the romantic through line between leads Claire Danes and Damian Lewis once the latter was killed off the show. Gansa and company are trying to keep that momentum with the show's upcoming fifth season, again infusing the cast with more new blood and moving production and the storyline to Berlin.

"This story is current," he says of the new season. "With all of the stuff that's going on just south of Berlin in the Middle East and to the east in Russia and Ukraine, it's fascinating. Carrie is out of the intelligence business when the season starts and she finds herself in Berlin. It's a center for dissidence. That's where hacktivists go because German privacy laws are so strict. It's hard to have surveillance on people there."

Now shooting at the historic Babelsberg Studio, notoriously home base of Nazi propaganda czar Joseph Goebbels during WWII, Gansa says the location has provided a very new backdrop for production. Filming kicked off in June. Though Gansa was there for the first few weeks and episodes, he's now back in the Los Angeles writers room, and the fact that 5,781 miles separate the two cities is not lost on him.

"One of these seasons that's coming, I want to stay in the same location with the cast for more than a year," he says, half-joking. "The effort required us to relocate, get another crew up and running, establish relationships on the ground, cast entirely new characters and create an entirely different story, it's very labor intensive."

So what's the chance of Homeland actually moving back to the U.S.? If the drama keeps getting renewed, probably pretty good.

"Claire and Hugh [Dancy] have a baby, Cyrus, and there's going to come a point in the next year or two when she's going to want to be home," says Gansa. "Cyrus is going to have to go to kindergarten. Fingers crossed, if the series goes that long, we're definitely going to be back in the United States eventually."