Comic-Con 2012 Live-Blog: Showtime's 'Dexter' and 'Homeland'
SAN DIEGO - After spending the morning live-blogging "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" press conferences, it's time to get down to the business of TV, y'all. I meant to get to the "Teen Wolf" panel, but I couldn't get in. I went to "Elementary," but I'll write about that later. So now? It's the latest panel for Showtime's "Dexter," an annual Comic-Con tradition wherein people ask Michael C. Hall about his own homicidal feelings, Jennifer Carpenter about how playing Deb has impacted her own swearing and the show's writers avoid saying anything at all about the season to come.
Let's get down to business... And remember that we already knew that "Dexter" is returning on Sunday, September 30.
6:04 p.m. Once again, Ralph Garman was moderating. That would be "Ted" co-star Ralph Garman. He seems to always moderate the "Dexter" panels, which may explain why the questions only get varied a little.
6:04 p.m. This panel is also including a little tease for "Homeland."
6:06 p.m. On July 30, a "Homeland" game premieres at ItHitsHome.com. And here's Howard Gordon to talk about things. "It's terrific to be back here, because this really was the beginning of the beginning," Gordon says of last year's "Homeland" experience. Alex Gansa can't be here, so Gordon takes pictures of us."
6:07 p.m. "What was interesting about the end proved difficult for the beginning," Gordon says of last season's cliffhanger, teasing that the season's first two episodes take place in Beirut and were filmed in Israel.
6:10 p.m. Teaser trailer. There's something bad happening in the Middle East with IRan. Aw. Carrie with her parents. She appears to be teaching. But Saul is calling and he needs her help. Her family doesn't want her going back to work for the CIA. But... You know. Damian Lewis in a suit! Doing what? I don't know! Carrie with brown hair! Damian Lewis' character is now in Congress. And he's still protesting that he isn't a terrorist, to somebody. And he appears to still be doing his Muslim praying.
6:10 p.m. "The highest compliment we had was when we found out that one of our biggest fans was the President himself. That didn't suck," Howard Gordon says.
6:11 p.m. "It was a real kind of cultural exchange," Gordon says of filming in Israel, praising the technical infrastructure in Israel, though he says that there were certain sensitive areas where they filmed. "It's charged," Gordon says.
6:12 p.m. "You burn a lot of calories," Gordon says of the intensity that the show forces from the actors.
6:14 p.m. After breaking Carrie down last season, what will happen this season? "It's something that you have to be mindful of, but at the same time can't be crippled by," Gordon says of Carrie's mental illness.
6:14 p.m. "She will be unpregnant," Gordon says of Claire Danes' real-life pregnancy.
6:16 p.m. On to "Dexter." They keep using Comic-Con to promote these Dexter-based games. Does anybody actually play any of these?
6:18 p.m. Also, webisodes. "Dexter" promotes its webisodes each year. They always look cool, with their raw and rough animation. I just never get around to watching them.
6:20 p.m. Time for a recap of last "Dexter" season and then clips from this season. Sigh. So much unfortunate stuff last season. Also, the kid who just sat down next to me on my row is WAY too young for this show. He can't be more than five. I think his mom wanted to be at this panel. Mmmm... Good parenting. Ugh. The Deb-Dexter stuff. The Colin Hanks stuff.
6:22 p.m. But now's the actual trailer. Stop reading if you don't want to be at all spoiled. Picks up immediately after Deb seeing it. "Get the f*** away from the body," Deb says. This is, indeed, a very Deb reaction. Dexter, by the way, isn't being so cool about this. He's not so fast on his feet in this situation. "There's been a lot of anger inside me ever since Rita died," Dexter tells her. Deb's calling somebody... CUT TO BLACK. So that wasn't a teaser, that was just the beginning...
6:25 p.m. Lots of applause for Yvonne Strahovski, but less than for Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter.
6:25 p.m. So what will Yvonne be doing. "I can talk a little bit. Just a little," Yvonne says. She plays Hannah McKay, "a woman of mystery with a dark past." She says that she helps Dexter with a murder investigation. Well... OK.
6:26 p.m. Carpenter can't say what Deb has actually figured out. "She's taking one step at a time. She takes one step forward and is sent 10 back." Regarding last season's brother love, Carpenter says that "It didn't feel like it was so bizarre to play that last season. He is the only path that she had and so it made some sort of sense." She adds, "I think him stabbing somebody trumps those thoughts.
6:28 p.m. "We very much knew where we were going at the time and we felt like it was time to finally start telling that story," says EP Scott Buck. "It's just the opposite of painting us into the corner," he adds.
6:28 p.m. Interesting first question from the audience. If Michael and Jennifer's characters from Season 7 could tell their character anything in Season 1, what would it be? "Don't make any friends," Hall says.
6:30 p.m. "I've never been a guest before on a television show," Strahovski says, swearing that everyone has been very welcoming.
6:30 p.m. What are their favorite things that the actors have brought over the seasons? "The surprise is that they always bring a little bit more than I hoped for," Buck says. "What's surprising is that our actors bring a lot of joy," says producer Wendy West, remembering the fun that Hall and John Lithgow had during the Thanksgiving episode.
6:31 p.m. For the 1000th time, the producers say that they had the rights to the first two books and they've gone their own way since then.
6:32 p.m. A fan asks about a musical episode. "I've always thought it would be fun in the final season to do 12 finales, 12 different versions of how it ends," Hall says, adding that one of the 12 could be a musical episode.
6:33 p.m. How does Dexter react to people around him while still remaining a sociopath? "I think that is the true challenge of the job," he says, adding that he wants Dexter to get better at either simulating human behavior, or at least change slightly. He says that in the new landscape with Deb, Dexter has learned to be "manipulative, paranoid and self-serving, but still very likable. Hall says that because of Dexter's father's parenting style and because his condition is caused by trauma, it gives them more wiggle room.
6:35 p.m. There we are! "In what ways are you and Dexter alike?" Hall's asked. "We look a lot alike," Hall says. "He's definitely a lot more fastidious than I am," Hall says. "It's a tricky thing to play a character this long," Hall adds. "I try not to spend too much time accessing the parallels between Dexter and me."
6:36 p.m. Carpenter says she's learned a lot about her character. When she started the show, she and Deb were very similar, similarly green. "I think to think that we're going in different ways, but I'm still learning a lot from it." What's happening with Deb this season? Carpenter says that she needs her power and authority more than ever this season. "At any second, if I live after what we just saw, at any second, I can tell someone to put cuffs on him and I think he knows that," she says.
6:39 p.m. Is there an overreaching theme to this season? "What are the consequences of love?" Buck says, adding that told through Dexter's perspective, that universal theme becomes something different?
6:39 p.m. "Of all the things that we do as far as publicity goes, this is the most gratifying. You guys are here because you love the show, not because somebody made you and it's your job," Hall says, either saying how much he loves Comic-Con, or how much he hates TCA press tour. He adds, "It's a once in a lifetime thing to play this character."
6:40 p.m. To what do we attribute the show's ongoing success? Why does it work despite what the character does? "To me, we all have some sort of shadow side that we have to contend with," he says, though he admits that Dexter's shadow side is a bit more outside of the box.
6:42 p.m. Harry will be in this season. Buck promises that we'll see original flashbacks to Dexter's childhood, in addition to the usual sub-conscious appearances.
6:43 p.m. "This is the first year that Deb and I have felt lost. There's no compass. I've never moved with such uncertainty though every line, though every f***ing bad word," Carpenter says. She swears a few more times and everybody looks at her for the swearing. Garman says that if there are kids in the audience, they have bigger problems. Yup. The kid next to me is a budding psycho.
6:43 p.m. We'll get more Harrison. Don't worry. He's getting older and more aware. Plus, having a guardian know about what Dexter does forces more of Dexter's life examination. "He'd be hard-pressed to argue that being a serial killer is an ideal hobby for a parent," Hall says.
6:45 p.m. "The biggest prize would have to be Trinity," Hall says of his favorite kill. "I've said it before, but they're like my children," Hall kids.
6:46 p.m. Applause for the first mention of "Chuck." Were there challenges for Yvonne going to a show with a different tone. "Just in general, the energy on the sets are very different," Yvonne says, referencing the loud characters on the set of "Chuck." She's only been on the "Dexter" set for a couple days. Yikes. Yvonne says that the "Dexter" set is better. She says that she feels like she has to say that because she's on the "Dexter" panel, but... yikes. She's only started filming, but they've told Yvonne what happens to her character.
6:48 p.m. Does Hall have different ways to get into and out of his character? Hall references how he knows the character on a cellular level and that the entry and exit are more rapid now. He says he probably won't appreciate "the insidious nature" of the character for 15 years.
6:50 p.m. Who are their favorite guest stars? "I was a big fan of the artist formerly known as Mos Def," Hall says, adding that he was also a big fan of John Lithgow. "Yes. I really wanted to actually see him," Hall says of not getting to work with Edward James Olmos.
6:51 p.m. How did they come up with Matsuka. "He's suck a pleasure to write for," West says. "The fun thing about Matsuka is learning little bits more about his personal life, such as it is," West says. Buck refuses to play favorites with the characters. "It's always fun to do a kill scene," West says, calling it cathartic and also says it's fun to writing cursing for Carpenter.
6:52 p.m. "I didn't think it would go. I didn't think a network would put a serial killer on TV and that people would watch it, so I thought I was just going to do the pilot," Carpenter says of her first reaction to the series. "I saw it as a challenge that I'd never encountered before," Hall says.
6:55 p.m. Will we see any inclusion of the "bath salts" incident? Buck says they couldn't do the story in a way more horrifying than it really was.
6:55 p.m. What reactions does Hall get in the street? "They seem to recognize that it's a television show," Hall says. "Some people are like, 'I have some people I want you to kill.' They do. And I said, 'That's not going to happen." Does he ever get disturbing letters? "No. I regret that I don't have more creepy... So, you know..." Hall says. He quickly says, "Not really."
6:57 p.m. There's no official story to Dexter's long-sleeve kill shirt, "But I imagine he most get those in bulk," Hall cracks.
6:57 p.m. What drives the actors to play/pick characters? "I don't get to pick. I have to audition," Carpenter says. "I feel like as much as picking characters, it feels like they pick you sometimes," Hall says, which makes Carpenter and Yvonne laugh. Yvonne says she was drawn to "Dexter" by a conversation with Scott Buck and that it only took her a second to agree. What made Buck want Yvonne for Hannah? "I think there's a slightly mystery quality about her. She may seem extremely likable. She may seem like the nicest girl in the world..." Buck says.
7:00 p.m. Hall is asked about the worst lie he's ever told. "That was delicious," he says. I can't help but watch Carpenter when he's asked questions like this.
7:01 p.m. YAY! There's the question for Carpenter regarding whether or not she swears more now. "I've done it twice since I got her and it says 'Do not do that,'" Carpenter says, pointing to the warning on the back of his name placard.
7:02 p.m. Which season was Hall's favorite to do? "The one we're doing right now, because that's all there is, baby," Hall says.
7:03 p.m. Last question: It's a girl in cat makeup. She wants Michael and Jennifer to talk about embarrassing moments on set. Jennifer remembers in the first season when they were shooting on the ice and she slipped and smacked her head. "It explains a lot, doesn't it?" Carpenter says. "One time I rammed the Slice of Life into a pier. $8,000 worth of damage. Yup. I didn't have to pay for it," Hall says.
That's all, folks...