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'The Red Tent' Challenges in the Desert for Morena Baccarin


Morena Baccarin is all over this new golden age of television that critics keep talking about — from "Homeland" to "The Good Wife" to "Gotham." Come Dec. 7 and 8, she will be seen as Rachel, the beloved second wife of the biblical Jacob, in Lifetime's mini series adaptation of Anita Diamant's 3.3 million-copy-selling "The Red Tent."

The Rio de Janeiro-born actress looks as lovely as ever in the sexy, bloody epic — which is quite a feat when you know what was going on behind the camera.

"It was both fun and difficult," she says of the location in Morocco. With her were her husband, film producer and director Austin Chick, her cousin, and her infant son, Julius. "It was a family affair. We saw that it would be challenging, but we all buckled down and I believe that it was a good adventure."

Triple digit temperatures were the norm during production. The Genesis-era desert vistas were "very dusty, and rocky and dry — incredibly dry. And, you know, you're in a third world country, so you don't have your creature comforts when you get off the set. You're kind of roughing it a little bit," she observes. "It was not easy. It was tough to be in the desert shooting. It was tough to have a baby in the midst of that. But I had a lot of support and everybody was very, very nice and sympathetic.

"I think the hardest part was being divided constantly between my son and my time at work, constantly juggling the two and figuring out how to keep him around so that I could breast feed and see him and also keep him safe and not dehydrated.

But again, everybody was incredibly helpful."

Julius apparently took the change of scene from his comfy home in stride. "He's been traveling since he was pretty little," she says of the baby, born in October 2013. "He had a blast. He was around goats and donkeys and horses all day and, you know, he was having a good time. He was always having someone take care of him and we always made sure he got plenty of breakfast and was out of the sun. He was great."

Morena is chatting between production days on Fox's "Gotham." She plays Dr. Leslie Thompkins, mother figure for young Bruce Wayne after his parents' murder, on the hit "Batman" prequel series. "I'll probably be in the rest of the season," she notes. "I've got my work cut out for me till March."

It appears her role has been expanded from its initial description — is that true? "I was always intended to be in a few episodes, so I think they're just stretching it out," she replies. "Exactly for how long, I don't know."

From the "Red Tent's" sexy riff on a lesser-known Bible story to "Gotham's" comic book world, to "The Good Wife's" legal drama, to the award-winning political thriller "Homeland," to Morena's memorable voyage into science fiction as leader of the alien invasion in "V" — the actress has certainly covered a bundle of genres.

"I really enjoy doing different things, working on different things," she says. "When I do much of one thing, I like to do something completely different the next."

Morena didn't have to think twice about accepting the role of Rachel. She was a fan of Diamant's novel, so when the "Red Tent" script came her way, 'I was very excited about it."




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