Damian Lewis: Back in Britain and starring in Stolen
The actor has no regrets about leaving Tinseltown for the mean streets of Manchester — and a spot of fishing.
It’s given that most actors don’t have two ha’pennies to rub together. The London-born actor Damian Lewis seems keen to show he’s not one of them – during the interview he holds two pounds coins, clicking them together to punctuate points he is making. It might be a nervous affectation or a show of ostentation. Given the shiny blue suit and polished brogues that he is wearing at BBC TV Centre, it might well be the latter. This is after all, the actor who was thrust into the spotlight in the epic Spielberg- produced mini-series Band of Brothers in 2001, became an overnight sensation, the most famous screen redhead since Shirley Temple, and was whisked off to Hollywood in the wake of that show. But Hollywood didn’t quite work out, and after some dud films and a cancelled TV series, he is back in Britain, his latest role in a BBC TV film Stolen, an earnest, quietly moving film about child trafficking.
Is he drawn to these more serious subjects? After all, in 2004 he starred in the intense film Keane, about a man who loses his daughter, which was hardly a laugh a minute.
“You saw that?” he says. “That makes two of you. The answer is yes and no – after Band of Brothers I made a film called Dreamcatcher, about aliens exploding out of people’s bottoms, so I do like a bit of popcorn with my caviar. It was very exciting, it was a big studio movie, an $80 million movie, and it was … it was awful! And a film I just did, Your Highness, is sort of like Porky’s meets a medieval spoof. Toby Jones, he was so upset, he was so unhappy to be in it. I had to talk him down from the ledge a few times – he has to wear a naked suit where he has no penis.”
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