Categories Interviews

Absolute Brighton interview

Sussex born and bred Hollywood actor Damian Lewis speaks exclusively to Danny Masters about his latest film role that surprisingly saw him working alongside one of his all time sporting heroes, Kenny Dalglish

Your latest film, Will, is all about a football-mad
boy. We saw you playing in the Soccer Aid
games, do you think you could have ever made
a career as a footballer?

I was good enough to have a couple of trials
for England schoolboys, but I was never focused
enough to have made a career out of playing
football. In truth, I was too lazy. I got tall very
quickly too as a youngster, so seeing as I was 6ft
and quick, I just used to hang around upfront as
a bit of a gloryboy striker. These days I’m getting
thicker round the waist so I have to sit in the
middle of the park and just spray the ball around
rather than do any actual running.

The film features Liverpool stars Kenny Dalglish,
Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. You’re a
big Liverpool fan so what was it like working
with your heroes?

Unfortunately I never got to meet Steven or
Jamie during the filming but I did persuade Kenny
to actually be in the film. I’d met him before at
the charity Soccer Aid games so he asked me
about the film. I told him that I was in it with
Bob Hoskins so he realised then it was actually a
proper film. I’m glad I had a hand in that because
he’s great in the film!

You went to boarding school here in Sussex,
at Ashdown House, Forest Row, so how come
you’re a Liverpool fan?

I was 5 or 6 years old and Liverpool were the
best side at that time and always on the TV so
I immediately latched onto them. I was quickly
hypnotised by the beautiful way in which they
played the game and I’ve supported them ever

Your Scouse accent in the film is very authentic!
Did that come naturally?

Because I’m a Liverpool fan, my friends have
always ribbed me about when exactly it was that
I lost my ‘Scouse accent.’ But for the purposes of
the film it was important that I got the accent
right. I wanted to do it justice and didn’t want
to come across as a fake so I spent a lot of time
working with a coach and getting it as perfect as
I could.

Did you always want to be an actor?

The thought first occurred to me at boarding
school. That was where I first discovered
theatre. Each summer we’d stage a Gilbert and
Sullivan operetta and I used to love singing the
solos. Then when I was at Eton, we put on a
production of Nicholas Nickelby. I must have
been 16 and that was the moment where I
thought, ‘I love this. This is what I want to do.’ I
knew then that I wanted to go to drama school.

Before you made it as an actor, what was your
worst job?

I used to sell car alarms on the phone! That was
pretty bad. I’d have to ring up people out of the
blue and try to sell them something they didn’t
want. I was in a permanent bad mood because
of that job.

Read the full interview here.