DAMIAN LEWIS: `British women are weird’ Actor and red-hot redhead Damian Lewis, 34, talks about his kinky fans, pinching girls’ bums, and why he’s a born liar.
by Louise Burke, Sunday Mirror, March 27, 2005
You star in new ITV drama From Colditz With Love, as a prisoner of war who joins the Secret Service. Are you a gadget man?
Damien Lewis: I like my sports car. I just got a little Mazda MX5 – it’s only a cheap and cheerful one really. It’s titanium, a sort of greyish colour. I’m not exactly obsessed by toys. I don’t have a plasma TV, just a normal one, though I suppose it’s still quite big. I do have an i-Pod, although I need to learn how to download my music. You can pay people to do that can’t you? I heard you can pay someone pounds 200 and they’ll download you 5,000 songs. I think I’ll do that, because to be honest, I’m a bit clueless.
Is it true you were asked to audition for the new Bond movie?
DL: Is that right? God. And he wonders why they said no… I think Sean Connery was the best as 007. He was very smooth but had a bit of a bad edge to him. I like it when people start out good and are then corrupted.
Do you have a temper?
DL: I get very frustrated sitting in traffic. I want to get out of my car and smash people’s windscreens in…. but obviously, I don’t.
You were once linked to Sex And The City actress Kristin Davis. Is she your type?
DL: Firstly, I never dated Kristin. That rumour wasn’t true. I don’t date a certain type of woman. I’m attracted to humour, beauty – although, that’s in the eyes of the beholder – and grace. Movement in a woman is very important to me. A woman must be elegant. But wit and intelligence are must-haves.
Is it true you had an off-screen relationship with your From Colditz… co-star Sophia Myles?
DL: Off-screen? No. Just good friends.
Do you get embarrassed stripping off in front of the camera?
DL: I think I would be pretty embarrassed if I had to take everything off in front of a camera crew, but I don’t mind doing sex scenes. It’s part of the job isn’t it? If you’re working with someone who’s fun, it makes the sex scenes less difficult.
Who would be your dream leading lady?
DL: Cate Blanchett. She has everything – elegance and wit. We sat together at dinner at the Golden Globe Awards in LA recently. She’s fantastic. She was excellent as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator.
Did you get hate mail after starring as Soames Forsyte in The Forsyte Saga?
DL: No I got weird, kinky, love mail. British women are weird – they like cold men. They sent in photos asking me to call them. Obviously I never did. I’d never go out with a fan who wrote to me. Although a friend of mine is marrying a fan of his. He was in a play and she was in the audience. She sent him a note backstage saying she wanted to meet him afterwards for a drink. It worked out. He’s lucky, because she’s an amazing woman.
Do you believe in marriage?
DL: Yes. I’m from a stable family background. My mum’s no longer alive, but when she was, my parents were very solid. I don’t believe marriage is smooth and easy the whole time. I also don’t believe it’s possible to remain faithful throughout the marriage, but I do believe in staying together.
What was the last lie you told?
DL: The last lie was to Equity – I lied about how much I earned. How much do I earn? I’m not telling you that. Not enough. I used to have tons of white lies up my sleeve because I’m always late meeting people – always. Now, people don’t want to hear my excuses, I think it’s expected I’ll be late.
Did you ever get picked on while at school at Eton?
DL: No, never. I was pretty popular.
Even though you are a redhead?
DL: Yes. I love being a redhead – always have done. I dyed it dark brown once for a job. Never again. It takes forever to grow out. I feel like I’ve done it. I have no plans to go black, bleach blond or any other colour for that matter.
What would you do if you were invisible for the day?
DL: I can’t say what I just thought of because it’s unrepeatable. I would get myself to America and get on a spaceship and go to the moon. It’s something I’d love to do, but I can’t be bothered with all the training beforehand. If I was invisible, I could just sneak on. Failing that, I’d walk around pinching bottoms and goosing girls. No really, I’m kidding…
Would you ever move to LA?
DL: Not at the moment. Although I do like it. It’s always sunny and I always have fun there. I’ve made some really good friends in Hollywood. But the truth is, I’m a Londoner. I grew up here and I love it. It can get tiresome at times, but then I just escape. I have a country house in Carmarthenshire in south-west Wales. I love going there and relaxing. My dad is half-Welsh so I have family history in the area.
Where do you live now?
DL: Camden, North London. I live with my sister and brother. We’re surrounded by goths who live nearby.
Would you ever star in an advert?
DL: I’m really good friends with Jasper Conran and I always wear his clothes. (Damian then opens his suit jacket to reveal a Jasper Conran label.) The cut is very elegant. I would model for him – if he wanted me to, although I don’t know whether he is stupid enough to ask. And obviously, money has something to do with it. But I’m not shy of walking down the catwalk. I’ve never endorsed a product. I hear stories of Robert Redford doing cigar ads in Japan and stuff like that, but no, not me.
You’ve worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the past – are you a luvvie at heart?
DL: Yes, I suppose I am. I do air-kissing and go to all the parties. I like to say, I `play’ the room rather than `work’ the room. There’s nothing wrong with a good schmooze.
You appear to choose your roles carefully then disappear off our screens for months at a time. What do you do during those in-between periods?
DL: In reality, I’ve actually been working non-stop for the past year. I’ve got six things all coming out now. I think I’ll have a bit of time off once I’ve finished promoting everything. I like to play the piano, but I’m really bad. I don’t have lessons, I’m teaching myself. I don’t have a grand piano, just a normal upright one at home.
What makes you cry?
DL: I find it really difficult to cry. When I think about it, I don’t feel the need to cry very often. I’m a pretty happy person. If I do feel upset or down, I’m more likely to go quiet. I’m the silent type.
Damian Lewis stars in the two-parter From Colditz With Love on ITV1 tonight, 9pm and tomorrow night, 9pm
DAMIAN’S REALITY CHECK
Who plays Zoe in EastEnders?
No idea. (Michelle Ryan) How much do you spend on a haircut?
pounds 40. I get it cut on Camden High Street. I’d never cut it myself. I am thinking of shaving my head, but am not sure whether it’d actually look that good. Do you do your own washing?
Yes. I separate darks from whites myself. Who do you think does it? A cleaner? She does the ironing.
Have you ever bought anything from eBay?
Never. Although I have been on it. I donated a Band Of Brothers cap for a charity auction, I think it went for something like 42p.
Damian and co-star Sophia Myles in ITV drama From Colditz With Love