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Rake Magazine Interview: A True Leading Man – Feb 15, 2018

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In an exclusive interview with The Rake, Damian Lewis tells Tom Chamberlin why we all, in spite of ourselves, love an anti-hero.

by Tom Chamberlin | The Rake Magazine | February, 2018

Source: The Rake Magazine – Photo by: Kalle Gustafsson

Lewis – from Life to Homeland, Wolf Hall to Billions – has become the finest purveyor of modern drama’s moral ambiguities. In fact, writes Tom Chamberlin, if you can think of an actor who has influenced our golden age of television more than him, speak up…

Among the more ambiguous archetypes of the celluloid age, that of ‘leading man’ is perhaps the least defined. Far from the specific criteria of commedia dell’arte and melodrama, in which the characters are demarcated (bad guy = black hat and moustachioed, etc.), the leading man is purely subjective. Arguably he is the origin of celebrity, pulling screen presence into the limelight of fame. But the list of leading men over the years has shown that no colour, size, hair, manner or cultural identity has ever had dominion over the sobriquet. That is until Damian Lewis entered the fray. For Lewis is a man who, above anything else, is an exemplar of leadership and integrity at a time when the acting world could use a dose of it.

Damian Lewis takes charge of rooms when he enters them. Photoshoots with celebrities are often led by either the photographer, who squeezes every image he or she can from the available time; the stylist, whose job is to make sure a well-curated variety of clothes appears in the magazine; or the publicist, who tends to be the powerbroker. The ‘talent’ can often struggle through the day (except, of course, former Rake cover subjects), regarding the experience as a necessary nuisance. Not so with Mr. Lewis.

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Categories Appearances Media Print Media

Damian Lewis Talks Career and Craft at SAG-AFTRA, Fan Fun with Damian Lewis, May 4, 2016

Damian Talks Career and Craft at SAG-AFTRA

by JaniaJania, Fan Fun with Damian Lewis, May 4, 2016

source: Getty Images

Creativity is a strange beast. At its narrowest definition, it is the skill of creating something original and new using nothing but one’s imagination. But that would exclude a lot of us from the act of creativity, wouldn’t it? How many of us are capable of conjuring up some idea, art, or thing completely from scratch? An impossible task, even for the creative geniuses among us. Nothing is truly original. It’s all about processing what has come before and presenting it in new and “creative” ways. “Creative problem solver” is one of those phrases you see on resumes a lot. Try telling a mathematician or a software engineer that what they do doesn’t involve creativity and you’re bound to get an earful in exacting detail of just how wrong you are. Thus, not an easy thing to get a handle on, creativity.

Read the rest of the story at  Fan Fun with Damian Lewis

Categories Band of Brothers Billions Homeland Media Personal and Family Life Print Media Theatre

Blue Blood, Blue Collar: Damian Lewis’ Transformations, The New Yorker, January 18, 2016

The actor probes his characters, but his method isn’t Method. “I’m Damian Lewis, not Daniel Day-Lewis.”

 Photograph by Pari Dukovic for The New Yorker

At a corner table in the dining room of Marea, a restaurant on Central Park South, the conversation was smooth but disputatious. Three men in suits were drinking red wine and eating pasta that cost thirty-four dollars a serving. One of them was a hedge-fund manager, a famous short seller. Another was the financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin. The third man, in from London, was the actor Damian Lewis.

Sorkin had made the introduction. The hedge-fund manager and Lewis were doing most of the talking. “Does your business have a societal benefit?” Lewis asked. He wanted to know what made a hedge-fund manager more than “a paper shuffler.”

The hedge-fund manager said that he and his peers basically function as market-based regulators—that they have a financial incentive to expose wrongdoing. Sorkin had set up other audiences for Lewis with financial machers. One of them urged Lewis to consider an underperforming company with entrenched management or a sclerotic board: an activist investor, even if he came in and cut things and fired people—well, that’s capitalism.

Continue reading Blue Blood, Blue Collar: Damian Lewis’ Transformations, The New Yorker, January 18, 2016

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Damian Lewis Writes Foreword for ‘The Outstanding Actor’ Book – Feb 16, 2015

The Outstanding Actor: Seven Keys to Success by Ken Rea, Senior Acting Teacher at Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Who better to write the foreword for his Alma Mater than our favorite actor Damian Lewis!

This is a wonderful book with a unique take on how actors can get better and improve their chances of success. If we can all perform with half the warmth and generosity with which Ken has been teaching for the last 30 years, then we will have fulfilled our responsibility as story tellers and audiences all over the world are in for a real treat.

Damian Lewis – actor

Drawing on Ken Rea’s 30 years’ teaching experience and research, as well as interviews with top actors and directors, The Outstanding Actor identifies seven key qualities that the most successful actors manifest, along with practical exercises that help nurture those qualities.

Continue reading Damian Lewis Writes Foreword for ‘The Outstanding Actor’ Book – Feb 16, 2015

Categories Billions Homeland Interviews Media Print Media Wolf Hall

After “Homeland,” Damian Lewis Looked To His Past To Plan His Future

Damian at the 2015 TCA Winter Press Tour

The Homeland alum relied on two decades of invaluable Hollywood lessons to tackle lead roles in a pair of new television projects, BBC Two’s period drama Wolf Hall and Showtime’s high-finance pilot Billions.

When Damian Lewis faced the press on Jan. 19, for the first time since he was killed off Showtime’s Homeland in December 2013, the 43-year-old still bore an uncanny resemblance to Sgt. Nicholas Brody, thanks to his close-cropped hair, rigid posture, and clean-shaven face. But it quickly became clear that, on the inside, he couldn’t be more different than the man who signed on to the series in 2011.

Thanks to Homeland, Lewis — who calls himself an “autodidact” — was afforded some incredibly unique learning experiences. “I love doing projects where there’s something to be learned,” Lewis told BuzzFeed News, sitting at the far end of a long, empty dining room table of an ornate hotel conference room in Pasadena, California. To properly bring Brody to life, he studied the Qur’an and learned about the Islamic faith and the experiences of U.S. Marines deployed in Afghanistan. “The wonderful thing about acting is you can be on a 40-year university course.”

But Lewis has also grown through the wisdom gleaned from his own professional mistakes — again, most recently through his role on Homeland, for which he won an Emmy Award in 2012.

Lewis’ character, Nicholas Brody — an American prisoner of war who was rescued and returned home a changed man (not so spoiler alert: He was a sleeper agent for the enemy) — was not designed to remain on the series indefinitely. But when the show clicked with critics and fans took a shine to Brody’s burgeoning relationship with CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), the creators’ initial plan was scrapped. But by the third season, many viewers had grown weary of the duo’s increasingly operatic romantic entanglements and the character was, as initially planned, killed off in a brutal and shocking death scene.

“He had to go,” Lewis said, without hesitation. “When I took the show, I was really of the understanding I would only be there for two years. I stayed for a third season because TV rollover came into play: ‘This is our show and we can’t get rid of him.’ I think the one area of the story the writers weren’t clear would work was this relationship. So when it worked, they were ambushed by success of that central storyline and they had a problem because people were now tuning in to see this relationship.

“We set out to make a different drama: a show about the flawed characters at the center of a flawed central intelligence agency that is protecting the interests of a flawed country in the name of a flawed idea — which is called democracy — against a bunch of radical, violent people. This was our big central idea and [then we had] people tuning because they want to see if these people are going to get together or not.”

A Brody-less Season 4 of Homeland premiered in October 2014 to promising reviews, as hopeful critics noted the show looked to be returning to its roots. That promise paid off — in spades — as Homeland experienced a complete creative resurrection. “I think they did a brilliant job of just extricating themselves, tiptoeing away from the situation,” Lewis said of the fourth season, which went on to earn rave reviews. “What they’ve been able to do in Season 4 is get back to the nuts and bolts of the CIA and this great, brilliant, flawed character, the manic-depressive at the center of it all.”

Homeland’s presence is still felt in Lewis’ life. “It can be aggressive, that kind of adulation,” he said, crossing his arms and leaning back in his chair. “People can go a little bit crazy, so there’s quite a lot of manhandling in the streets. Now I know what it must have been like to be Brad Pitt for an entire lifetime, ever since he did that scene in Thelma and Louise where he took his top off — I’m straight and that scene did it for me as well. There’s a very small group of people who have lived at that elevation and at times it was overwhelming, but I’ve enjoyed slightly calmer waters subsequently.”

Continue reading After “Homeland,” Damian Lewis Looked To His Past To Plan His Future