Video: First Day of "Homeland" Shooting Begins at James Center

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A view from behind the cameras in the parking garage of the James Center, as actress Claire Danes walks to her car for a scene of the Showtime drama, "Homeland." - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • A view from behind the cameras in the parking garage of the James Center, as actress Claire Danes walks to her car for a scene of the Showtime drama, "Homeland."

I'm standing in the parking garage of the James Center downtown, which today is doubling for the Ritz Carlton in Washington.

It's the first day of shooting for season seven of Showtime's drama, "Homeland," and I'm talking to a woman named Faith who is the aptly named double for lead actress Claire Danes. She's standing alone near some elevators.

From the side and back, she looks just like the actress: same size, same blond hair and cut style, same tailored, familiar-looking gray suit.

"[This job] is really fun," she tells me. "So in this scene, I'm just walking to that car over there and driving out." She explains that she started doing the work last season in New York and was asked if she wanted to continue in central Virginia, where the series is shooting its penultimate season.

The double for Claire Danes is named Faith.
  • The double for Claire Danes is named Faith.

Things move quickly on set and just when we start talking, she has to jump right back into a run-through. A big part of her job seems to be staying ready to move at a moment's notice.

The small- to medium-sized crew is busy scurrying around and setting up shots and the lighting needed for this somewhat darkened garage scene. Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds is here, as is Rita McClenny, president and chief executive of Virginia Tourism Corp.

We're sitting to the left, out of the shot, when a member of the crew walks over and says, "you guys may want to move over closer to the crew. Claire's going to be driving right by there, and she's from New York, so. ... maybe not the best place to be."

Soon, Danes comes out of the elevator, as ready and businesslike as you would expect of a three-time Emmy winner. She doesn't look much like her double, with what appears in the dim lighting to be brown hair and a dark business suit.

What follows are four or five different takes of the same basic scene of her walking to the car and driving away. As anyone knows who has been on a film set, there's a lot of repetition. Musician and actor Tom Waits said once: "In terms of your time, it’s like making 50 pounds of dough in order to make one biscuit. Then you throw the dough away."

In the shaky cell phone video below, you can watch Danes' character, Carrie Mathison, walking stridently, purposefully, in keeping with her serious CIA character, to the car. Kinda seems to be in a hurry. Maybe to stop a terrorist attack or something. We won't know until the show debuts in fall of 2018.

Someone on set tells me that there won't be much more shooting at the James Center, but there's another place on Main Street that will be a reoccurring location. So if you're into celebrity watching, or the business of creating a prestige drama television show, keep an eye out.

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