This ‘Homeland’ director isolates at home in her ‘room of stories’

Share via

Whereas the rest of her Pacific Palisades home is simple, Midcentury Modern and sparsely decorated, “Homeland” director Lesli Linka Glatter says her office is a lively “room of stories chockablock with memories,” from her early career as a dancer to the myriad shows she’s directed.

Positioned at the back of the 2,400-square-foot abode, the office houses a cabinet brimming with scripts and shelves laden with inspiring books, art and knickknacks from her projects and travels.

“It’s truly a melange of all sorts of stories and things, the sum total of my history,” said Glatter, 66. “This is my workspace, my thinking space, my reading space and storytelling space.”


As Showtime’s “Homeland” works through its final season, Glatter — who also executive produces — reminisced through cherished collectibles from the last eight years, including a book titled “Moroccan Green Rooms” compiled by series star Claire Danes, a gift to Glatter documenting the various waiting rooms and lounges they encountered while on location.

“It is hilarious — the green rooms were insane in Morocco. You can’t even imagine the combination of all the different elements; there was literally a toilet inside one because that was the only room,” said Glatter, who has directed episodes of numerous other series including “Mad Men,” “True Blood,” “The West Wing,” “ER” and “Gilmore Girls,” as well as the coming-of-age movie “Now and Then.”

Glatter also kept the apple box she used as her director’s chair, made by the “Homeland” grip team, and a framed flashcard from the writers’ wall of the first episode she directed that says, “Brody loses a finger.”

Atop her cabinet rests green pottery from Japan, where Glatter worked for five years as a dancer and choreographer. It’s also where she discovered her love for storytelling from her mentor, Yutaka Tsuji, “an extraordinary person” and former journalist, whom she met by chance at a coffee shop. His life inspired her first film, the 1985 Oscar-nominated short “Tales of Meeting and Parting.”

“He told me a series of stories that happened to him on different Christmas Eves, all during different wars, about human connection. I knew I had to pass those stories on, and I knew it wasn’t through dancing,” Glatter said.

Why is your office your favorite room, especially during this time of social distancing?


I’m in my office even more now, with the door open to the garden, trying not to have the news on all day and searching for a rhythm to the days. Reading a lot, writing a lot, watching a lot, reaching out to friends to check in and trying to work on the stories I still want to tell. I already miss working, having always been in a team sport of storytelling. I’m concerned about my team.

I love the French doors that lead into the office and then into the garden.

I like the sense of depth and openness and space. So even though this isn’t a big room, I feel that I have all the space in both directions. My office used to be upstairs and I thought, “I need to move it downstairs where I have the outside next to me and the rest of the house.”

You have a lot of orchids.

I have seven orchids that are alive and seven that have died and I’m waiting and hoping will revive! I love them too much and I kill them. It’s not pretty. Basically I try not to water them too much, and it kills them. But if I water them too much, it kills them. Once a week I give them two ice cubes — I kill them. If I don’t water them at all, it kills them. Thank God I don’t work as a florist because I seem to kill them no matter what I do.

Fun digital picture frame.


My son just gave me this for Christmas and put all these old favorite photos in it. That’s me as a dancer. This one is my first directing job for Steven Spielberg on the “Amazing Stories” series. That’s my mom who just passed away at 94 — she worked until 90. That’s all the crew asleep on the ground in our “Homeland” beanies at the Charlotte airport; the plane was 12 hours late. Look at all the women working on this big action show.