It’s Tradition Now
by Damianista | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | February 25, 2019
I personally promised several of you to write about my conversation with Damian when I caught up with him on Billions set back in December as soon as I come back from vacation. I have been buried under teaching and committee work and meetings since I came back that I have just been able to find some time to sit and write. And while it may be a while ago and that I do sometimes not remember what I had for dinner last night, I vividly remember my conversation with Damian 😀
This blog has had an interesting relationship with Billions. I launched the blog only two weeks before they started shooting the pilot in New York and I have been very lucky to catch up with Damian on the set once every season since. I do not know how many times you need to do a thing for it to become a tradition, but catching up with Damian on Billions set once a year certainly feels like a tradition now.
And when I saw Billions signs on Park Avenue on a Saturday evening in December, I thought I could continue the tradition. The signs hint that they might shoot at an ultra fancy restaurant where I could easily imagine Axe eat with other billionaires, and was happy that I could continue the tradition.
Not too fast, Damianista!
When I arrive on the set which I thought would be in full swing Monday morning though I see no Haddad’s trucks and besides all the signs I saw over the weekend were removed! Did they shoot very early in the morning and leave? Did they reschedule the shoot? Bummer. Bummer. BUMMER!
On the subway ride back home, I see another tweet saying Billions will be shooting at a different location on December 17-18 but there is no Billions sign attached to the tweet. Thoughts start to fly in my mind: “There is no picture… Could it be that 17th is the day people need to move their cars and 18th is the shoot day? (see the sign above for clarification!) The location the tweet talks about is remote. An hour-long subway ride and then I should take an Uber… is it worth it? But then again today is my last full day in the city because we are leaving town tomorrow for a vacation. If they are really shooting there and I do not try my chances today, wouldn’t I regret later? So I am going, aren’t I? Yes, I am. YES, I AM!”
So I change trains and I arrive at the new location in an hour and a half. I see Billions signs all over the street saying they will actually shoot here for two consecutive days and the Billions crew is already on location getting the place ready for the shoot. I ask a crew member and find out they will start shooting in a few hours. This means I take more than 15K steps on a single street in a few hours because it is the only way to keep warm 😀
But, hey, the the real challenge is not the weather. The real challenge is to find a restroom when you need it! 😀 And I am eternally grateful to the manager at CTown nearby for being so kind and letting me use the restroom they do not typically let customers use because it is dangerous to go there — very steep stairs to the basement — and telling me to come back when I need to use the restroom again! Besides, when he finds out why I am waiting there, he says he loves the billionaire guy on the show! Yeah, me, too!
While I constantly walk up and down the block — they are filming on a real long street — I miss Damian’s arrival. The set is an interior location but one can see what is going on in there thanks to the large windows and so I can see him talking to the cast and crew and they are all laughing. While we already know these people enjoy each other’s company, it is very lovely to witness it!
When Damian leaves the building unexpectedly in a few minutes, I am sort of glad my fan girl self is there because she has the confidence to call his name loudly as he is getting into a big black car. Damian turns back:
“B! How are you?”
He comes and gives me a hug. He says he needs to leave now to get ready for the shoot but will come back soon.
“Wait for me here.”
I will! And it is a good feeling to be able to tell the crew member whose job seems to be keeping people away from the set that Damian told me to wait for him right here 😀
When he arrives back on set in his Bobby Axelrod attire, Damian tells me he needs to be on set right away but he will come find me during breaks!
YAY to that! Because this means I can watch the shoot! And it is absolutely thrilling to watch a show being shot, especially if it is your favorite show, and you just stand a few feet away from some of your favorite actors and see them in action. You also find out how serious this business is. The particular scene I have seen being shot will probably last about a minute or two in the episode. But they shoot it again and again and again with breaks in between. No wonder they have 14-hour days on set and it takes about two weeks to shoot an episode and six months to shoot a season!
Here’s a couple of things I notice on the set. Some of it is a repeat of what I observed last year when I was very lucky to watch one of the most hilarious scenes from Episode 3 A Generation Too Late being shot around the corner from my apartment!
Damian carries a chapstick in his pocket and uses it often.
Damian drinks a lot of water between takes.
Damian talks a lot on the phone between takes.
Damian takes a puff from a cast member’s cigarette.
Damian has presence on set. So much fun to see him calling out to David Costabile “Costy!” and to Kelly AuCoin who is literally standing in front of a Dollar Tree “Dollar Bill!” 😀 I wish I could take pictures but I do not even touch my phone on set not to risk getting kicked out by the crew.
When Damian gets out for the second break, he calls my name loudly from across the street as he walks towards me:
Read the rest of the original article at Fan Fun with Damian Lewis