Homeland without Sergeant Nicholas Brody? Damian Lewis says it's possible.
The British actor has become an American television star playing the U.S. Marine-turned-conflicted al-Qaida terrorist in the award-winning thriller series.
He'll soon start filming the third season, which begins with Brody at large and the world's most wanted man, hunted by his adversary and sometime lover, CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes).
Whether Brody will be run to ground — and how long the character can avoid what seems like inevitable doom — the actor can't say.
"I think Homeland can go on forever," Lewis told journalists in Cannes. "Whether Brody can go on forever is a different matter.
"We'll just play each season as it comes. Writers write themselves into interesting positions, sometimes not wholly expected positions. So it's a continuing surprise for everybody."
The show has won a packet of awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Lewis, and has managed to maintain its momentum even after resolving the is-he-or-isn't-he-a-terrorist mystery of season one.
Lewis says making Homeland is still enormous fun, but he's confident the show's creators will know when to call it quits.
"I know they won't flog it," he said. "I think once it stops being interesting they'll leave it alone."
Lewis is in Cannes to talk about The Silent Storm, a poetic romantic drama set in a remote Scottish island community. Lewis will co-star with Andrea Riseborough (W.E., Oblivion) in the movie, due to shoot this summer.
"I just thought this was a superior piece of writing," Lewis said. "It also happened to fit around my family and Homeland."
That's a key consideration. Lewis tries to arrange his schedule to spend as much time as he can with his wife, actress Helen McCrory, and their young son and daughter.
"Once you have kids — and if you've made a decision that you're going to parent them and not just have them and hand them over to someone else — then it becomes very significant what work you choose," he said.
The Silent Storm is a first feature from writer-director Corinna Villari McFarlane but it has some heavyweight backing. The film's executive producer is Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions, the company behind the James Bond series.
"The writing has an authenticity and sincerity, and also an ecstasy in it that you rarely find in smaller films," Lewis said. "I love the idea of getting in front of the camera with Andrea. I think we'll have lots of fun."