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New Zealand Listener Interview


In Britain, Damian Lewis is known as a stage actor and star of low-key television treasures such as The Forsyte Saga and Friends and Crocodiles. But over in the US, he shot to fame in the Steven Spielberg-produced Band of Brothers. After starring in cop show Life, he was nominated for a Golden Globe this year for his role in Homeland, a psychological thriller in which he plays Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody who, after eight years in captivity, may be a sleeper agent for al Qaeda.

This is a tough role: Brody is tortured during captivity and may be a security threat to America. Did the producers let you know what you were getting yourself in for? They were very open that they were offering me a controversial role in an ambitious project and about the fact that he was more than likely going to be a threat – in fact, the danger had to come from him; otherwise the series falls apart.

Did you do research about prisoners of war who had been tortured? Yep, there were three prongs to my research. I went and researched mosques and spoke to my local imam, and went to witness prayer and learnt the history of the religion. I also researched post-traumatic stress disorder – I’d actually been to a unit before where people who are recuperating from PTSD. And then I read about prisoners of war. Brian Keenan had written a very compelling account – he’d been a prisoner in Beirut in the 80s. So there was a lot of source material.

You played a soldier in Band of Brothers, and a detective in Life who had been in prison for 10 years. Did that help when you were preparing for the role of Brody? Band of Brothers much less so, actually, because they have such different psychological makeups, Brody and [Major Richard] Winters. Band of Brothers was all about the art of leadership and soldiering and the extraordinary accomplishments of Easy Company, who helped liberate Europe. There are more similarities with Charlie Crews in Life – these two men are both released from prison after a long time and are rebirthed, if you like, and given a second chance at life. There the similarity really ends, because Crews was given a $50 million settlement, nice cars, nice suits and women if he wanted them. Brody is left in an altogether darker place – it’s not fantasy.

Yeah, you’re not playing Brody for laughs. No, not this time, although I’m looking forward to Homeland the Musical.

Do you think the series made Americans think about their foreign policy? There’s a much greater introspection in America. I’ve worked there a lot in the past five years, and I see a more self-analytical side to America, and Obama as the president embodies that. There’s been a massive sea change – for the good, I would argue – and the politics of the show tap into that. I think politically, if you wanted to use labels, it’s a liberal show, it poses these questions – what defines terrorism? There’s terror perpetrated by military groups and then there’s state terrorism.

More than 10 years after 9/11 was it the right time to explore these issues? [Producers] Alex [Gansa] and Howard [Gordon] have said publicly that they weren’t sure if there was an appetite still for this kind of thing, but even though it doesn’t dominate the papers in quite the same way, everyone knows there are different rogue elements that have sprung up everywhere now. It’s created almost more uncertainty and I think that’s what the show taps into. And it taps into uncertainty of our own governments and the way in which Western governments went about advocating the war on terror. It’s massively symbolic that a US marine might be enraged enough by what he sees and what he’s being asked to do that he finds cause to switch sides. It’s real and particularly alarming and I think that’s arresting for people.


Source: New Zealand Listener


More ‘Homeland’ press:

The Sunday Times – Inspiring Terror (Thanks to Kaz!)
AP – Star says Obama watches ‘Homeland’

Categories Homeland Media Print Media

Soldiering on: Damian Lewis in Homeland, The Telegraph, February 4, 2012

Soldiering on: Damian Lewis in Homeland

After his breakthrough 10 years ago in Band of Brothers, Damian Lewis’s finest work has been for television, his latest role that of a US Marine held captive for eight years

Damian Lewis in Homeland

Photo: Channel 4
Damian Lewis opens our conversation with a sheepish mention of his ardent admirers. ‘I’ve a set of fans who call themselves – you’re not allowed to laugh – Damian Bunnies.’ Their name seems to be a reference to those other copper-top characters, the Duracell Bunnies. They have been following him since his 2001 breakthrough in Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed Second World War series Band of Brothers, ‘and they’re absolutely lovely. In the end, I realised they knew so much about me, I let two of them run a fan site.’
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Damian Lewis Interview, Channel 4, February 2, 2012

Damian Lewis interview

02 FEB 2012

You WILL answer our questions, Lewis…

The following feature is available free for reproduction in full or in part.

Damian Lewis is sitting opposite me, drinking tea in a wood-panelled library in a discreetly opulent Central London hotel. With his clipped Old Etonian accent and understated self-confidence, he seems the epitome of Englishness. Which is why it’s surprising that so many of his highest profile roles have been Americans.

Continue reading Damian Lewis Interview, Channel 4, February 2, 2012

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Red Hot: The Fiery-Haired Brits Taking Over the World – Jan 17, 2012

Investigating Redheads Making a Splash in Showbiz

by Laura Pledger – RadioTimes – January 17, 2012

With Benedict Cumberbatch and Karen Gillan riding high, Laura Pledger investigates the redheads making a splash in showbiz. It’s like London buses: you wait ages for one to come along and then a stream of them arrive at once. And, just like London buses, these stars are big (names), red (haired) – and they’re going places…

Source: The Times Magazine UK

Damian Lewis
The London-born actor’s new US drama series, Homeland, picked up a Golden Globe on Sunday night for best television series – drama. He was pipped to the post by Kelsey Grammer in the best performance by an actor in a television series – drama category, but British viewers will soon be in a position to judge whether or not he wuz robbed – the mystery thriller series is coming soon to Channel 4. In it he plays an American soldier missing in action in Iraq who, years later, returns home a hero – but is he? With a fine body of work behind him – including leading roles in Band of Brothers and The Forsyte Saga, as well as numerous theatrical productions – Lewis’s upcoming projects include The Sweeney alongside Ray Winstone.

Paul Bettany
The red-blond star stole every scene he was in as Geoffrey Chaucer in Brian Helgeland’s A Knight’s Tale, and scared the living daylights out of audiences as murderous albino monk Silas in The Da Vinci Code. Clearly a man who doesn’t frighten easily himself, Bettany also starred twice alongside Russell Crowe, in critically acclaimed biographical drama A Beautiful Mind and sea-faring adventure Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. In Margin Call (see trailer below), currently showing in UK cinemas, he joins an all-star cast including Kevin Spacey and Zachary Quinto in a drama about the financial crisis that has garnered praise from the critics. You won’t see him in Joss Whedon’s forthcoming The Avengers – but you will hear him as he returns to voice Jarvis, Tony Stark’s robot assistant in Iron Man – and he’s then slated to star in crime thriller Blood.

Benedict Cumberbatch
Admittedly, Cumberbatch is most recognisable when he’s sporting the dark locks of Conan Doyle’s consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, playing the title role in BBC1 drama Sherlock. But given the success of that series and the attention (adulation?) it has brought him, the actor is probably grateful for any camouflage his natural hair colour might bring him. Fans mourning his absence from their TV screens after Sunday night’s shocker The Reichenbach Fall can currently see him in cinemas as the blustering and competitive Major Jamie Stewart in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse. Reunited with Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman to film Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, Cumberbatch not only voices but, thanks to the magic of motion capture, plays the dragon, Smaug. Not content with playing the baddie in one major sci-fi franchise, he’ll reportedly then challenge Chris Pine’s Kirk as the arch villain in JJ Abrams’s Star Trek sequel. In this clip he matches wits with Paul Merton and Ian Hislop:

Karen Gillan
She shot to fame in Doctor Who as Amy Pond, the flame-haired companion with an even hotter temper. The next run of the perennially popular sci-fi series will be her last – showrunner Steven Moffat promises fans a “heartbreaking” exit for Amy; the actress herself says, “I’d like to see her go out in flames of glory”. She starred in critically acclaimed play Inadmissible Evidence late last year at London’s Donmar Warehouse, and has spoken of her desire to do more work on stage, but her latest project took her into the rather more glamorous world of modelling. She plays 60s cover girl Jean Shrimpton in We’ll Take Manhattan, which charts her adventures in New York with photographer David Bailey.

Catherine Tate
The Doctor famously hopes for one regeneration to be ginger. Maybe that’s why he’s invited two redheads aboard the Tardis in recent years? Catherine Tate was yet another red-haired time traveller who broke fans’ hearts when she left Doctor Who. The Doctor was forced to wipe Donna Noble’s memory and return her to Earth following an epic run-in with the Daleks. Best known up till then for comedy performances in series such as Wild West and The Catherine Tate Show, Tate is currently enjoying success in the US, where she has joined the cast of the long-running American version of The Office in the role of Nellie Bertram.

Read the rest of the original article at RadioTimes

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Damian Lewis: Bringing the Fight back home, Sydney Morning Herald, January 12, 2012

Bringing the fight back home

Hero or terrorist? Andrew Murfett talks to the star of Homeland.
By Andrew Murfett

THE premise is intriguing. A United States marine, missing in action for eight years and presumed dead, is rescued from a terrorist compound. He has been held hostage by al-Qaeda for all that time.

Continue reading Damian Lewis: Bringing the Fight back home, Sydney Morning Herald, January 12, 2012