Mandy Patinkin says he's learned a lot from his acclaimed "Homeland" character Saul Berenson over the years.
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"I like him better than I like Mandy at times," he said, "because he’s far more in control than I am."
The covert agent he's portrayed since 2011 is also welcome at home. He said his by Patinkin's wife Kathryn, who he says now thinks "I’m listening better" to others because of Saul. It's this new found skill that Patinkin is using to help those in need off the show.
In a recent interview on "Popcorn with Peter Travers," Patinkin said the latest material on "Homeland" has been so close to real-life that "there’s no rest from it."
The latest season even included the idea of "fake news" -- stories not attributed to real facts or real news sites that get picked up and spread via social media platforms --as one of its themes.
"I think [that's] why friends and people that I’m running into say, 'I’m a fan of the show, I’ve watched the show from the beginning, but this season really hits a nerve,'" he said. "Our job is to sometimes poeticize and hopefully leave a more hopeful, optimistic view of the terror that we are surrounded by. [But] this season I feel it’s a Polaroid of our lives. It’s an instant reflection of the news of the day."
The 64-year-old actor who has starred in past classics like "Princess Bride" and "Yentl" says he's still "an incredibly hopeful, optimistic person," even with global crises that include the predicament in Syria and other countries, while tensions mount at home in the U.S.
"I think for all of us this election has done an extraordinary thing, on both sides, no matter who you voted for," Patinkin said. "I feel that it’s ignited our attention and has made us a solidified world -- group -- called humanity that is working for those who have no voice, no privilege, no hope at the moment."
In fact, one of Patinkin's greatest passions currently is visiting Lesbos, Greece, where the locals there have taken to helping Syrians, Afghans and other refugees. There, Patinkin says he "listens" to and tries to help families "stuck in limbo right now."
"Why do I do this?" he said rhetorically about refugees. "It is all of us in America, it is who we are, it is the fabric of our nation. You look around you, it is our ancestors who are here and why we’re sitting here talking, why you’re sitting at home listening, wherever we are. They are our fabric of our nation, they are what makes America great."
Patinkin added that any American citizens and politicians "would be equally affected by these beautiful children and families" if they met with these refugees.
"It’s important that I state the truth just like 'Homeland' is trying to state the truth and separate between truth and false lies this season ... The Islamic community [has] given such an extraordinary contribution to the world. And now they’re vilified so unfairly," he said.
"People say, 'Oh well I’m not a television person, I don't have a TV show, I’m not a politician, what do I know?'" he continued. "You have a voice, you can write your congressman, your senator, your local politicians ... and you keep your attention and pressure focused on those people in our very vulnerable world, right now, who have no voice."