'Homeland,' 'Legends' and phobias: '24' EP Howard Gordon talks pilot trifecta

damian-lewis-pilot.jpgAs if being a first-time author -- of a political thriller called "Gideon's War" -- wasn't enough to keep him busy in his post- "24" life, writer/producer Howard Gordon is also juggling a trio of pilots: "Homeland" for Showtime, "Legends" for NBC, and a high-concept show about phobias with "Glee" impresario Ryan Murphy for Fox.

"First of all," Gordon tells Zap2it, "one of them has been put on hold, so I don't really have three pilots. I have two. The Ryan Murphy one is on hold."

With the FOX pilot on the shelf, Gordon might not have long to wait to learn the fate of "Legends," adapted by movie screenwriter Mark Bomback from the book by Robert Littell. It features a CIA operative who has a talent for false identities, also called "legends," possibly because his own identity is not entirely reliable.

"If it works," says Gordon, "it could be interesting and fun. I hope it gets picked up, and I'll know in a day or so."

Actually in production is "Homeland," loosely based on Gideon Raff's Israeli TV series "Prisoners of War." Raff is writing the pilot along with Gordon and his longtime writing partner, Alex Gansa.

Damian Lewis ( "Life," "Band of Brothers") stars as U.S. Marine Sergeant Scott Brody, who miraculously reappears after being take prisoner and thought dead during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Claire Danes ( "Temple Grandin") plays Carrie Anderson, a CIA agent who has her doubts about Brody -- and some of her own secrets as well.

claire-danes-sept-2010-gi.jpg"She plays a bipolar CIA agent," says Gordon. "They don't know she's bipolar; she does. She is [on meds]. She's handling it, man, she's handling it. She's very good at what she does, but there's also obviously an Achilles heel with her pathology.

"Brody is one of two guys that were presumed dead. He's found years later and comes back. There's all this soap opera that we took from the Israeli series, which is his best friend is sleeping with his wife, albeit secretly. She was never willing to go public with the relationship, because she had the slender hope he was alive.

"Nevertheless, it's complicated. What makes it more complicated is that Carrie has been told by someone she knew in the field years ago, a terrorist who was part of al-Qaeda in Iraq, who, before he was executed, told her that there's a POW that's been turned -- and it might be this guy.

"It's an unpopular opinion, because the powers that be want to take this guy and embrace him as the American hero he is -- or is he?"

The pilot has been shooting in Charlotte, N.C., and Gordon says, "We're going to Washington, D.C. to shoot a day and then Israel for two days. double it as Baghdad. It really feels terrific.

"We'll be putting it together, and we'll probably get an idea of whether it's going to be on the air on Showtime as early as early March, is my guess, or late February."
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