More excerpts from the TCA press conference on August 4th.
Damian, you’ve played similar roles in other work you’ve done. What do you think it is about you that seems right for this kind of role?
Damian Lewis: American psychopaths? I think it’s the early Noel Coward that I did in the West End! There are similarities between Nick Brody and Charlie Crews (in Life). They are both sent away for different reasons. They are held in captivity for different reasons.
But they did come back changed men. This is, I would say, more realistic. I don’t know why I play Americans convincingly. It’s a lucky, happy fluke that I’m going to run with until someone finds me out.
The torture scenes look appropriately grisly. Can you talk about shooting them?
Damian: This character is so compelling that it feeds the psychology of the piece. It helps me because a lot of it appears in flashback, and I enjoy the way in which it informs the character going forward. I don’t mind filming that stuff too much, weirdly. But I’m an exhibitionist!
Did you get all of those scenes out of the way in one swoop, or do you have to constantly go back and forth between prison and being back in the States?
Damian: We go in and out. They try to schedule it in my favor, but it’s two hours in the make up chair. And then I lie down on a gritty, sandy, dirty, stone floor in some warehouse just out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and a guy pees on me.
I’ve been hung upside down. I’ve been beaten in the head, I’ve been beaten with a club with barbed wire wrapped around it. We’re keeping it real and brutal as those are things [that were done], it’s not for sensationalist reasons. It’s not for shock value. It has a strong psychological reason.
It’s to break somebody physically, emotionally and psychologically so he is then malleable, and that’s really the purpose of it. So it’s important to the show. …
There are only 13 episodes this season, if you’d gotten the same role and it was a 22-episode run, which is much more of a commitment, would you still have been interested in the series?
Claire: I think there’s just so much liberty that one has in cable. You get to curse a lot. You get to get naked a lot. So, no, I think that that’s more appealing than the relatively moderate work hours. It’s just the creative flexibility.
Damian: That is a conversation that the networks have repeatedly, whether they should start producing 12-part series, instead of these 24-episode series, in order to get the stars to come and do their shows, because it’s a big thing to ask someone to work on one role for nine, ten months a year. So it definitely does affect your decision-making. …
How does this type of television differ from your work in England?
Damian: In England, we can’t make this kind of TV. We don’t have the resources. We don’t have the writers, we don’t have film and TV language in our DNA in the same way you guys do here.
The big concept in telling it compellingly, entertainingly, but in a psychologically real and complex way, is something we don’t come up with as often as you do here. So for me to be here is a thrill.
Read the full article at Film Review Online.