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Yahoo! TV Q&A: ‘Homeland’s’ Diego Klattenhoff on playing nice guy Mike Faber and why Claire Danes is ‘a monster’

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We'll admit we have a bit of a soft spot for the character Mike Faber -- who is played by Diego Klattenhoff -- on "Homeland." When his best friend and fellow Marine, Nicholas Brody, was feared dead, "Uncle Mike" stepped up to take care of his pal's family. Over the eight years that Brody was gone, Mike fell in love with his friend's wife, Jess -- oops! -- only to have Brody return and reclaim his family with Mike's only option being to walk away. Of course viewers then quickly learned that while Brody was a prisoner of war he was turned by al-Qaeda figure Abu Nazir, and as he started to do things like, ya know, don a suicide vest in attempt to blow up the vice president, nice guy Mike has emerged as the clear better fella in the love triangle. Oh, he doesn't know Brody is bad … yet. In this Sunday's episode of the Showtime series, we see Mike's attitude toward Brody starting to change. He's cut his friend a lot of slack since he returned home from Afghanistan with an arsenal of secrets, but now he starts looking for answers.

Yahoo! TV caught up with Canadian actor Klattenhoff, whose previous credits have included roles on "Men In Trees," "Mercy," and "Whistler," as well as "Mean Girls," to talk about the show, and he tells us that he's been hearing a lot of "nice guy" feedback when it comes to his character. The new dad also answers our questions about what's going to happen between Brody, Mike, and Jess, as well as shares some behind-the-scenes dish about working with mom-to-be Claire Danes (he thinks she's top notch!), and hitting the links with Damian Lewis...

We have to tell you -- we feel a little bad for Mike. Watching the show, we see Brody's true colors and we know Jess still has feelings for Mike. He just seems like the most standup guy…
…among all those bad people, yeah (laughs). That very funny. I get a lot of that -- women going, "He's so nice. He does the right thing all the time. And Brody's a jerk." It's very true. It's a very common theme that I hear often.

It seems that Brody is constantly letting down Jess, and Mike swoops in to save the day.
I think Mike is always going to be there. He is always going to be there for the family and looking after the kids. He was there for eight years. He's known them for years before that. He and Brody kind of patched things up and they're back to being friends, but I think it's inevitable that he's going to get sucked back into that world depending on what kind of stuff goes down.

Were you surprised the guys patched up their relationship so easily? You would think one guy sleeping with the other's wife, even though there were extenuating circumstances, would be a deal breaker in a friendship.
Not really. I think that's the great thing about the show is that they write it in such a way that's not black or white. Nobody's ever the good guy or the bad guy. There's a certain amount of understanding that the audience has with the fact that Brody was gone for all intents and purposes. I would imagine they had a funeral for him, he was buried, then things started to happen. That's the good thing about the show -- there are so many shades of gray.

We agree -- in this show more than others, the audience can draw their own conclusions about a lot of things. With a lot of other shows, it's spoon-fed: This person is the villain.
I know. Did you get that? Do you understand? No? OK, then let's play the sinister music -- dun dun dun -- or lightning crashes outside the window. OK, we get it. He's bad (laughs). Yeah, I think that's the great thing about TV right now -- there's so much crap on TV, but then there's so much great television being made right now. This is the peak of TV. When you look around and see "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," and our show. It's really impressive. Ten or 15 years ago you'd be hard pressed to find two of those shows on TV. I think it's a really great time.

The way you play Mike, we feel like even down to how he walks he's a military man. Did you practice that walk?
You put on the uniform and you put on the shoes and it's hard not to walk that way. Not giving away any secrets, but you find yourself walking and acting differently. It's the difference between wearing flip-flops and shorts and you think you're Jimmy Buffett one minute. You put on the military outfit and it definitely tightens everything up and makes you stand up straighter.

How have things been on the set with Claire Danes' pregnancy?
It's been interesting to see her kind of like grow that little person inside her. As one actor fawning over another, she's amazing. In a couple weeks you'll see I had the chance to do a nice scene with her. She's just a monster. Her being pregnant and doing such great work, I just have to bow down and go, "Wow. You can do it all." I can't get pregnant or else I'd try to have twins and outdo her (laughs), but she's so good at her job and I think she's about 7 months pregnant so … yeah. She's doing big stuff.

What's it like working with Damian Lewis?
Oh, he's great. He's a real generous, hard-working, complete professional, but also an insanely smart guy. It's a once in a lifetime -- actually, hopefully not once in a lifetime -- experience to be able to watch him work and pick his brain on certain things. It's just fantastic.

What has it been like filming in Charlotte. Had you visited before?
I had never been there before. I always wanted to go down South. Technically down there they're like, "That's not that South. The South starts at this place or that place (laughs)." Charlotte is a very interesting place -- I'm Canadian, but I've lived in Toronto, Vancouver, and I've been living here in L.A. for years. It's definitely a big difference -- and they want to tell you have different too (laughs). People are very friendly. It's a very deep history, so to get to travel around and see some of that and hear locals talk about it has been a great experience.

Are locals more aware of the production now that it's in Season 2 and you just won the Emmy for Best Drama?
It was a pretty low key affair for the first season, but it's getting out there more now. Charlotte is not a city like New Orleans, Vancouver, New York, or L.A., where it's a given that things are going to be shooting all over the place. Let's just say it's not quite like "Glee" either. We don't have people hanging out waiting to get pictures. We can just set up shop and people are very respectful, but I definitely noticed more and more people talking about it, and a little more interest now.

Does the cast do a lot of things together when you're off the clock?
We're very fortunate to, in one sense, be shooting in Charlotte so far from home because everybody is kind of stuck there and you're forced to hang out all the time. I think Mandy [Patinkin] has a concert before the end of the season that I think everybody is going to. Damian and I play a lot of golf together. Someone is always cooking or barbequing or doing something. It's a great group of people and I think everybody kind of realizes how fortunate they are.

You have the film "Pacific Rim" coming out next July. How did filming that differ from shooting "Homeland"?
It was definitely an eye-opening experience. It's a huge movie. It was pretty incredible to go from our show, which is pretty contained -- we're shooting it on a soundstage -- and then you go to Toronto and it's a $200 million movie and all the stages and props and sets and the processes are all huge and very involved. So it was really night and day. Essentially it was the same thing -- acting is acting -- it's just one minute you're on this intimate stage doing these great scenes and the next day you're on this massive stage. I can't even get into how big it was or what we were shooting, but when you have city blocks recreated and all these effects, it's a little bit different from shooting in the kitchen (laughs).

What are you plans for when Season 2 of "Homeland" wraps?
I'm fortunate to be doing such a great show six months out of the year and having this big movie coming out next year. So right now I'm in the process of trying to find the right things to do in the off-season, but also try to look after my new baby and my baby mama. It's been very busy shooting [in Charlotte] and having a new family here [in L.A.], so in the off season I'm definitely going to take some time and enjoy the baby and make sure my boo is all looked after, and then just try to find some interesting fun stuff to play hopefully.

And you'll of course be attending the Golden Globes because "Homeland" will get a ton of nominations. What do you think about your "Mean Girls" costars Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosting the Golden Globes? Think they'll do a good job?
How can't they? They're both so talented. Hopefully we'll have a good seat and I'll get to say hello. Actually Amy was sitting not too far from me last year, so I had a quick chance to talk to her. It's always exciting to see them again, so I can't wait.

"Homeland" airs Sundays at 10 PM on Showtime.

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