During today’s TCA panel on the new FX drama Tyrant, Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff — who executive produce with Craig Wright — compared the story of an American family drawn into the workings of a turbulent fictional Middle Eastern nation to The Godfather. That is, as much family drama as political thriller. If there is a larger theme to the series, Gordon said, it is, “What does it mean to be a good man?”
After the panel, Gordon addressed recent grumblings that the team’s popular Showtime series Homeland may have veered too far in the “family” direction by playing out the story of Brody’s troubled daughter and her disturbed boyfriend. Gordon said he doesn’t see it that way. That story line, he said, was necessary to show the “collateral damage” to the families of the political story. “I just think people got impatient with it,” Gordon added.
During the Tyrant panel, a reporter asked whether the producers had any qualms about naming their lead character, an assimilated Middle Easterner, Barry. (Bassam “Barry” Al Fayeed is played by Adam Rayner.) The implication was that “Barry” is too close for comfort to the name (and nickname) of President Barack Obama. He was asked whether Fox News would have a field day with this.
“Bring it on!”crowed Gordon. “If you saw the calluses on my back — you just have to really keep your own counsel of people that you trust. I think this will be a Rorschach test. People will see what they want to see in it. I’ve been called an Islamophobe and a torture monster. What else can they call me?”