Categories Print Media Spy Wars

Billions Star Damian Lewis Talks Spy Wars, Unscripted and His New Prodco – Oct 16, 2019

Damian’s Journalistic Side Unpacked

by Richard Middleton | Television Business International | October 16, 2019

A docudrama exploring the lives of (in)famous spies might not have been the most obvious next project for the star of Homeland and Billions, but the switch of genre for Damian Lewis clearly provided a new challenge for the much-vaunted English actor and producer.

Damian Lewis: Spy Wars marked the actor’s first foray into factual and for a talent who has to date been more used to having a script to work to, the shift into unscripted was unnerving.

“You don’t know if you’ve found an interesting way of telling the story until you find it and then you think how can we put something on air if we didn’t quite get it – that is quite daunting,” he admits. “But that is just the risk of documentary.”

The docudrama, which is presented by Lewis, was commissioned by A+E Networks’ UK network History and produced by Alaska TV in association with the actor’s recently launched outfit Rookery Productions. Lewis acts as host on the show – which has his brother Gareth attached as a producer – and provides “thumbnail portraits” of spies involved in covert missions with the help of new declassified information, high-profile experts and intelligence officers who took part.

“I kept trying to get a handle on how much of a story we had,” continues Lewis, “but the answer is all the little bits, the component parts, are put together at the end and made in the edit. And I found that a bit daunting.” Continue reading Billions Star Damian Lewis Talks Spy Wars, Unscripted and His New Prodco – Oct 16, 2019

Categories In Development/ Pre-Production News Print Media Spy Wars

Broadcasters Sign Up for A+E’s Damian Lewis: Spy Wars – Oct 11, 2019

Going Global

by Joseph O’Halloran | Rapid TV News | October 11, 2019  -and-
by Peter White | Deadline | October 11, 2019

As we head into the leading global content trade show and world’s entertainment market MIPCOM 2019 next week, A+E Networks and A+E Networks UK have signed a slew of top international broadcasters for its latest factual co-production, Damian Lewis: Spy Wars.

Earlier this year we reported here that Spy Wars was heading to the Smithsonian Channel for US markets, a joint venture between CBS Corporation’s Showtime and the Smithsonian Institute. And now it seems other broadcasters will be joining Smithsonian Channel’s lead. The docu-drama currently airing on History UK and Blaze in the UK will now be available in the following markets: Blue Ant (Canada); POP TV (Slovenia); Bilibil.com (China); TVNZ (New Zealand); Historia and Atresmedia (Spain). A+E Networks says that multiple other deals are in negotiation. No word yet when television viewing audiences in other countries will see Damian hit their small screens, but rumor has it early 2020 for US customers.

In the series, award-winning actor Damian Lewis unpacks some of the most thrilling covert missions in modern-day history with the help of new declassified information, high-profile experts, and intelligence officers who were there. The program ranges from the most notorious spy exchange of recent times to the fake film production that freed Americans during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis to in-depth profiles of the world’s most skilled and lethal double agents and has been described as James Bond meets every John le Carré thriller you’ve ever read.

Damian Lewis: Spy Wars is executive produced by Alaska TV’s Chris Fouracre, Ian Lamarra, and Paul Sommers in association with Lewis’ own recently launched Rookery Productions with brother Gareth Lewis.

Read the rest of the original article at Rapid TV News
Secondary Source: Deadline

Categories Print Media Spy Wars

Boarding School Creates a Mild Sociopathy That’s Helpful to the Life of Espionage – Oct 4, 2019

Damian Makes His First Documentary Spy Wars With His Brother

by Lisa Campbell | iNews | October 4, 2019

Few British actors have set foot inside Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, but as the star of the American spy thriller, Homeland, Damian Lewis was granted unprecedented access as part of his research.

While he jokes that his meeting with the director of the CIA, John Brennan, is “classified”, the story demonstrates his ability to get under the skin of characters through keen observation of the tiniest details. He describes the “incredibly poker-faced field operatives who had revealed only the smallest increments of expression and emotion, until Brennan walked in and the temperature in the room rose instantaneously.”

It’s an experience that stood him in good stead for his latest project, Damian Lewis: Spy Wars, which also marks his first foray into factual television.

The eight-part series – the first to come out of Lewis’ newly-launched Rookery Productions – airs on History from Monday in the UK and showcases the true stories and remarkable characters behind some of the most important international spy operations of recent years.

“I’ve done a lot of research over my career for Homeland and a movie I made, Our Kind of Traitor, and have read my John le Carre like everyone else. I enjoy the genre and thought it was an opportunity to look behind these popular stories and find out something a bit more intimate and personal about the people themselves, their decisions and the ramifications on global politics,” he says.

Continue reading Boarding School Creates a Mild Sociopathy That’s Helpful to the Life of Espionage – Oct 4, 2019

Categories Interviews Print Media Spy Wars

Spy Wars: TV Real Interview – Oct 3, 2019

Spies Next Door

by Mansha Daswani | TV Real, World Screen | October 3, 2019

Damian Lewis talks to TV Real about what appealed to him about the docudrama, which is being rolled out by A+E Networks.

Lewis already knew a fair bit about espionage before signing on to executive produce and present the A+E Networks U.K.-commissioned series Spy Wars. He did, after all, play an MI6 agent in Our Kind of Traitor, based on the John le Carre novel, and a U.S. prisoner of war who returns home and is hailed as a hero as he secretly plots a terrorist attach in Showtime’s Homeland. Damian Lewis: Spy Wars sees the British actor recounting notable stories of espionage from the last four decades, spanning from the Cold War all the way through to the contemporary war on terror. The eight-part series produced by Alaska TV in association with Lewis’s own Rookery Productions sees him speaking directly to camera and features expert interviews and dramatic reenactments.

TV REAL: Tell us about the genesis of Spy Wars. How did you come to be involved in the show?

LEWIS: My brother [executive producer Gareth Lewis] was already involved, he was going  to be directing parts of it. He said, Do you want to do this? I said, I don’t really do factual, I’m not a presenter. But I got sucked into these eight spy stories. I came on as a co-producer and tried to get to the bottom of what makes a man or woman do heroic or traitorous things on behalf of their country. That was it really. It came to me by invitation and my curiosity was tickled.

TV REAL: As you got into the details of these stories, what were some of the things that surprised you?

LEWIS: To be honest, a lot of what happens in the spy world is pretty unscientific. There’s still quite a lot of buccaneering and derring-do, if you like. It’s not risk-averse. It’s pro-risk, and often it can seem a bit chaotic, a bit ramshackle, and even at times a bit amateurish. Exotic words like “dead-drop” and “brush past” and things like that can simply be someone walking into a supermarket with the same plastic bag and putting it down and then each leaving with each other’s bag. It’s not exactly high-tech. While you’re looking for a slightly more sci-fi, James Bond aspect to these stories, they don’t exist. So the challenge for us was how to make the stories gripping and suspenseful. We tried to get into the minds of the individuals and what was at stake for them. What are the documents in that bag? What happens if that individual is caught? Why is the individual doing it? If the individual is a KGB officer and he’s caught, he’s going to be executed. If he’s a Western intelligence officer, he’s going to be imprisoned for life. We were trying to find out why these men and women are motivated to do these things. The motivation is often grubby and personal. It can be for simple revenge, a need to be heard, a need to belong to something, to be loved. People turn traitor for all these different reasons. So the surprise was constantly the grubbiness! And the desperation that’s there. And the extreme risk that these people are prepared to take in order to keep going.

Continue reading Spy Wars: TV Real Interview – Oct 3, 2019

Categories Appearances Interviews Print Media Screenings Spy Wars

Damian Lewis Looks at Real Life Spies in History’s New DocuDrama – Sept 12, 2019

From Our Kind of Traitor to Spy Wars

by Matthew Bell | Royal Television Society | September 12, 2019

Having played a fictional spy in the John le Carré adaptation Our Kind of Traitor and a turncoat in long-running US thriller Homeland, Damian Lewis has turned presenter for History’s new espionage series.

The actor was initially reluctant when his brother, Gareth ­­– one of the executive producers of Damian Lewis: Spy Wars – asked him to present. “I hadn’t done factual [before] and I don’t consider myself a presenter.

“But I enjoy the [spy] genre and I thought it was an opportunity to look behind these popular stories and see if we could unearth something a bit more intimate about the people themselves, and the ramifications on global politics of very personal decisions taken by individuals.”

Lewis was talking after a screening of an episode of Damian Lewis: Spy Wars at the British Museum in mid-September.

Continue reading Damian Lewis Looks at Real Life Spies in History’s New DocuDrama – Sept 12, 2019