Known for playing David Estes on Showtime’s Emmy winning show Homeland, David Harewood brings his brand of intensity to CBS’s Supergirl. David can also be seen in the film Free in Deed, winner at the Venice Film Festival 2015. Check out my interview with David below!
Congratulations on Free in Deed winning at the Venice Film Festival!
“I was looking forward to it, but I couldn’t really be there because of Supergirl. It’s such an incredible movie, and a lot of hard work. Hopefully it’ll get more distribution and more people will get to see it.”
What do you think made this movie so special that it won?
“I think there’s been a lot of faith-based films that were really successful. This one took a slightly different approach. It’s based on real life events, with a southern preacher trying to pray away his son’s illness. I think it challenges the notion of people who are disenfranchised and the idea of an overall deity. You know, hoping everything will be all right for these people with terribly difficult lives. Especially trying to negotiate the realities of a child with a pretty violent form of autism and a preacher who doubts his conviction. Those two worlds collide and we get a snapshot of their world.”
Before Free in Deed and your upcoming show Supergirl, you were most well known for playing David Estes on Homeland. What was your favorite part of being in that series?
“It’s fantastic to be a part of such a huge Emmy award winning show. I didn’t really know about the CIA when I got the job, so I spent time reading various books. I was not only learning about the CIA, but I was learning great acting techniques from these huge stars, Claire and Mandy. Some days I would go in early just to watch them work.”
What do you miss most about Homeland?
“Each scene on Homeland is extreme. I suppose I miss that. I miss looking forward to knocking heads with Claire. I miss that level of intensity.”
Let’s talk about Supergirl, premiering in a few weeks (October 26). What can you tell us about your character Hank?
“The character I play is Hank Henshaw. He has a very, very dark secret that will be revealed later on in the series. He’s a pretty hardnosed guy. I think that secret he’s holding on to forces him to be as secretive as he can. He doesn’t want to reveal too much.
The show itself is huge. I’ve never worked on such a big production. It’s exhausting, but it’s a lot of fun. (Laughs). We have a great cast and loads of fun on set. The scripts are excellent. I’m looking forward to people getting their eyes on it. Hopefully, the show will be a revelation to people watching. Fans will tweet me and ask ‘are we going to see this, are we going to see that,’ and Hank has his own comic following. So I think fans are will be blown away by the angle we’re taking with this particular Hank Henshaw.”
How do you feel about taking on a role so well known in the DC Comics universe? Do you have feel pressure?
“Not really. It’s more excitement than pressure. I think it’s very much how the director sees it and how the actor portrays that character. With these iconic comic characters you really need to throw yourself in and play them to the best of your abilities. You also have to put your own personal spin on it. I’m really looking forward to fans seeing the spin I have for Hank.”
Both David Estes in Homeland and Henshaw in Supergirl are CIA Agents. Are you able to draw from your experiences of playing Estes for your role as Henshaw?
“Well he’s not really a CIA agent. It’s more of a covert government organization. Estes was more ambiguous and never showed anybody anything. I do a little bit of that with Hank, but I’m much more concerned with the bigger picture with Hank. I’m trying to do something very different with Hank.”
Do you think fans are going to be very excited?
“I think so. I’ve seen the pilot and I’ve enjoyed it. I think people will see a very rounded show. There’s something for comic fans, but non-comic fans will love this show as well. There’s something for the guys, the girls, and families. Obviously comic fans will definitely love this show.”
Would you ever portray a superhero role if you could?
“I love characters. It doesn’t matter if they are aliens from another planet; I just love playing strong characters. I’m very excited to see whatever is next. So the answer is yes. I would love to play a superhero.”
Supergirl premieres October 26 at 8:30/7:30c on CBS.