Daily Mail Weekend Supplement
6th October 2001
British actor Damian Lewis beat off hundreds of rivals to land the lead in BBC’s Band of Brothers, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’ £86 million WWII epic which has caused critical controversy for overplaying America’s role in defeating the Nazis. In this compelling diary, he tells of his own battle to win the role of American officer Captain Dick Winters, his agonizing first meeting with Hanks – and the extraordinary filming regime, which turned actors into men of war.
LATE AUGUST 1999: Call from my agent. Hollywood’s coming to town. Hurrah. Another chance to record myself on tape for some big blockbuster which will gather dust on a shelf in LA. ‘But this is different,’ my agent, Stephanie Randall, stresses, ‘It’s Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. They’re seeing everybody, and they want you to play an American. This is gonna be huge.’
DAY OF AUDITION: I head off on my motorbike. It rains on me. I arrive, soaked, having found the only parking spot left in Soho to park my bike. I walk down some steps into a colourless basement.