Emmys 2013: Mandy Patinkin talks nomination, beard troubles

The beard has been validated.

After a critically praised freshman season, “Homeland” scored nine Emmy nominations that resulted in six wins, including outstanding drama series actor for Damian Lewis and actress for Claire Danes. Yet, Mandy Patinkin’s turn as CIA Middle East division chief Saul Berenson (and Carrie’s shoulder to cry those tortured tears on) was blackballed, failing to land a nomination in the supporting actor in a drama category.

What a difference a season makes. Emmy voters let the 60-year-old join the club Thursday -- giving Patinkin a nomination for his portrayal in the second season--which some critics felt was uneven.

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We briefly spoke to Patinkin earlier Thursday morning.

Mandy! Are you renting a Zipcar, or is that only the way you celebrate a Golden Globes nomination?

I’m at the airport, in a cellphone lot, waiting for my younger son to visit his old man. I’m in Charlotte, N.C.; we’re shooting. We shot yesterday, and we’ll shoot all day tomorrow, so this is my day off — though it won’t really be a day off because I need to learn my lines. That’s all I do, Yvonne, is learn lines.

I can help you with that. I promise not to reveal any spoilers to our readers!

Not a chance! I’d have to hurt you.

So how did you hear the news?

I woke up and the phone started ringing and text started flashing out on the phone. That’s what they do, right, flash? I don’t know the lingo. But let me just say that it’s a thrill to be part of this show. Every day is like an award, beyond a dream come true. It all feels newer than ever. When I was young, I spent every minute thinking about what’s next. Now I’m 60 years old and I don’t want the day to end. Am I just talking in clichés?

Maybe a little. I’m just waiting for you to say why you’re really involved with the show. It’s for the beard, right?

I do it just for the beard. That beard--I tell you, I’d do anything to shave it off. In Charlotte, it’s pretty darn hot. Last thing you want is beard on your face — and Saul’s beard is like wearing a parka on my face. I’m hoping they put me undercover in an upcoming episode so I can shave it off. Can you write that so maybe they will?

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Noted. Now, let me get your thoughts on what we’re seeing with Netflix. How --

I think all of these different forms of delivering awesome work any way you can get it out to the public is a gift. The way technology is today, is mind-blowing. It’s like the invention of radio or TV or the steam engine or the airplane. Things are changing and evolving and it’s great to see it all happen. The only reason we do work is so people can see it. If the Internet helps more people see it, what’s to complain about? It’s thrilling.

Favorite moment from the second season?

Love the whole season, but that final episode—gosh. I was in shock for about an hour and a half. I asked the writers not to tell me what would happen. When that finale showed up in my room and I read that, I really thought I was in the hands of [the] greatest writer. It was truly something. You just never know what’s going to happen or who’s going to die on this show.

But the world never wants Saul to die. Ever.

Ha! I like to think that Saul and Mandy can never die. I want Saul to walk forever.

If you could guest on one Emmy-nominated show, what would it be?

The original “Twilight Zone,” written by Rod Serling. I’d like to go back in time and do “Twilight Zone.”

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I’m glad you didn’t mean that weird reboot they did. But is there any one of the current nominated shows you’d like to drop in on?

The one Robin Wright is on—“House of Cards.” We were in “Princess Bride” together. I’d love to be on the show with her because I’d feel like I was 30 years younger.

Now to the all-important question: what would Saul –or Mandy—think of “Sharknado”?

Shark-what? I don’t understand. What is that? Was there a shark attack?

It was a campy Syfy movie that took Twitter by storm last week. There was such a frenzy about it—don’t worry, they’ll repeat it.

Am I the only one who hasn’t seen it?

You are not. And it’s something you should be proud of. What about actual good TV? What can you share about Season 3 of “Homeland”?

I wouldn’t dare tell you about this upcoming season, but you will not be disappointed. At one point, I nearly dropped the script. I could not believe what they had done. It’s “Homeland” at its best. And that [annoys me]. I’m just like the audience. I don’t want it to go too fast. It always goes so fast. We’re almost finished with episode 5.

Does Carrie’s infamous corkboard make a return?

Gosh, I don’t know. It may be? But don’t worry, if it isn’t, we’ll find a corkboard somewhere. We’re crafty.


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