Mandy Patinkin has said in the past that he’s been a bit difficult on set at times during his career; the veteran actor says he has struggled with letting go of the control to directors and writers.
“I struggled with letting in other people’s opinions,” Patinkin said. “During ‘Chicago Hope,’ I never let directors talk to me, because I was so spoiled. I started off with people like Milos Forman, Sidney Lumet, James Lapine, unbelievably gifted people. So there I was saying, ‘Don’t talk to me. I don’t want your opinion.’ I behaved abominably. I don’t care if my work was good or if I got an award for it. I’m not proud of how I was then, and it pained me.”
But these days, he’s learning to let people in a little, to great effect. His turn on “Homeland” as Saul Berenson has earned him praise from critics and his co-stars, including Claire Danes.
“Mandy is obviously verging on legend,” Danes said. “He has that ineffable, magical something that’s impossible to identify, so it’s a great thrill to work with him.”
The show has even managed to break him down. Patinkin says he usually steers clear of knowing beforehand what’s going to happen in each episode, but he ended up reading the script for a well-known episode during the fourth season that included a big plot twist, and says he couldn’t believe it when he broke down in tears.
“(The writers) blow me away. When I read what happened in the fourth episode which was aired this past Sunday, I’m a very emotional person…I couldn’t get over the creativity of the writing team. I mean, I read that…I couldn’t believe what they’d done,” he said.
As for his character’s relationship with Danes’ Carrie, Patinkin says he was drawn to it from the start because of the impeccable writing.
“I felt a great deal for someone struggling with bipolar issues in the midst of trying to maneuver the world toward peace, if possible… and the writers, their ’24,’ sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat business. But it really grew as it went along.”