British star David Harewood was on the verge of quitting acting before he landed his role in Homeland because he was depressed and had no money.
The Supergirl star landed the role of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer David Estes in the TV drama in 2011, even though he initially rejected the script without even reading it and only taped an audition on his cell phone at his manager’s insistence.
He was depressed following the death of of school friend Luigi Belcuore in 2009, which he admits, “completely knocked me for six. He was always the one who believed I was going to make it.”
Harewood tells British magazine the Radio Times he was also struggling financially, “Before Homeland, I had £80 in the bank and no idea what I was going to do. I seriously considered giving it all up and getting a job as a lorry driver.”
He was so down at the time that when he recorded his Homeland audition he “never even did an American accent”.
Since he left the series in 2012, he has landed parts in TV shows Supergirl, The Night Manager and Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, and upcoming comedy movie Grimsby. Harewood is also working on a new TV documentary about the rejection actors face, featuring Olivia Colman and his former Homeland co-star Damian Lewis.
During the interview, Harewood said he appreciates the diversity furore surrounding the 2016 Academy Awards – which has been criticised for the lack of black nominees – because he believes it will help minority actors in the future.
He adds,“In England, you feel like a member of the revolutionary guard the minute you even mention race. But I do think that the #OscarsSoWhite phenomenon will have to reflect back on England.
“What people are essentially saying is that they want to see more diverse stories. It’s not about putting three black people in the back of the shot. It’s about making it normal to see a black actor in a leading role… It still amazes me that Idris Elba is the only black actor in a lead role on British TV (Luther).”
– Cover Media