Categories Billions Interviews Print Media

The Billions Showrunners Explain Why They Turned the Tables on Us — Again: Vulture – June 9, 2019

An Interview with Koppelman and Levien

by Sarene Leeds | Vulture | June 9, 2019

Photo: JoJo Whilden/SHOWTIME

***This interview contains spoilers from the season four finale of Billions.***

Just as we were getting used to the idea of New York State Attorney General Chuck Rhoades Jr. (Paul Giamatti) and hedge-fund billionaire Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis) playing nice with each other, Billions responded with, “Eh, not so fast.”

In its season four finale, the Showtime drama recalibrated the positions of several of its main players, most notably by shifting the dubious alliance between Chuck and Axe back into a full-on rivalry. After celebrating a victory over season-long foes Attorney General Waylon “Jock” Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) and U.S. Attorney Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore), Chuck needs someone new to take down, and he has set his sights back on Axe, who he feels has been pulling the strings of his life for far too long.

The episode “Extreme Sandbox” also saw Axe’s relationship with venture capitalist Rebecca Cantu (Nina Arianda) become collateral damage in his ongoing war with former protégé Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon). Meanwhile, Chuck’s marriage to Axe Capital performance coach Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) is in tatters again, the lowest blow being Axe using his monetary muscle to get Wendy’s medical license reinstated. Both Axe’s and Wendy’s newfound singledom also begs the question as to whether this platonic relationship is about to move into something more romantic.

Continue reading The Billions Showrunners Explain Why They Turned the Tables on Us — Again: Vulture – June 9, 2019

Categories Appearances Billions Broadcast Media Football/Soccer Guest Appearances Interviews Video

Damian Lewis was the Guest at LIVE Kelly and Ryan – June 4, 2019

Damian Talks Billions and Football

by Damianista | damian-lewis.com | June 4, 2019

Damian was the guest at LIVE Kelly and Ryan in New York City and talked about Billions and his weekend in Madrid for the Champions League final.

In case you missed, here are a few clips. ENJOY! Continue reading Damian Lewis was the Guest at LIVE Kelly and Ryan – June 4, 2019

Categories Billions Interviews Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Print Media

Damian Lewis Gets His Movie Star Moment – Apr 17, 2019

The Billions Star Tells Playboy About Wealth, Mixed Morals and Playing Steve McQueen For Tarantino

by Daniel Barna | Playboy | April 16, 2019

Damian Lewis is not American, but he plays one on TV. In fact, he’s played many. Since breaking out as the gutsy U.S. soldier Dick Winters in Steven Spielberg’s sprawling World War II miniseries Band of Brothers, the London native has almost exclusively built his career on exploring this country’s rich history of heroes and villains. After the singularly heroic Winters, Lewis muddied the moral waters with Homeland’s Nicholas Brody, another Army man whose allegiances were tested after returning home from an extended stint as a prisoner of al-Qaeda.

Showtime had originally planned to kill Sgt. Brody off in season one, but Lewis’ role as the POW-turned-terrorist became so integral to the show’s DNA that the network decided to keep him around until season three, no matter how many rules of logic they needed to bend along the way. The performance earned Lewis an Emmy and a Golden Globe, and made him one of television’s biggest stars. It also showcased Lewis’ preternatural ability to play men steeped in moral ambiguity.

So when it came time to cast the lead for its glossy new prestige drama set in the high-stakes world of hedge funds, the network didn’t flinch. Now in its fourth season, Billions stars Lewis as Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, a self-made Wall St. billionaire with the hubris of Kanye West and the ruthlessness of Vladimir Putin. The show, which pits Axelrod against Paul Giamatti’s U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades, has become an obsession for Wall Streeters and wealthy athletes like Kevin Durant (who made a cameo in season three), who identify with its depiction of the luxurious kind of lifestyle that comes with being obscenely rich.

But as Lewis tells PlayboyBillions is about more than very fast cars and really big boats. Lewis believes that at its core, Billions is a story about the intersection of money and power, which is especially timely given that the wealth gap in America is wider than it’s ever been before. “There’s no question that some of these billionaires operate like nation states. They have the ears of prime ministers and presidents around the world, and they influence policy,” he says. “It’s a problem that the gap between the wealthy and the poor has increased, when the political project for the last 20 to 30 years has been to reduce that gap. I’ve got no problem with individuals amassing enormous amounts of wealth. The critical questions are, How did they make it, and how do they use it?

Continue reading Damian Lewis Gets His Movie Star Moment – Apr 17, 2019

Categories Billions Helen Interviews Personal and Family Life Print Media

Damian Lewis and His Wife Helen McCrory Crack the US Showbiz Lifestyle – April 8, 2019

Ping-Pong, Dressing in Drag, and More Details About Those Guitars!

by Gabrielle Donnelly | Express | April 8, 2019

BOBBY AXELROD, the hedge fund manager at the centre of the financial drama Billions, is brutal, thuggish, ruthless and dangerously sexy. In other words, he’s a complete animal – or not, depending upon which side of the Atlantic you live. According to Damian Lewis, who plays Axelrod, he has noticed a marked difference between the reaction of American audiences to his character and the British.

“I think we can all agree that Bobby is corrupt,” he laughs now, affectionately, of the Billions character, Bobby Axelrod.

“He’s an old-school scrapper, a gangster, an alley cat: his motto is, ‘Why use a scalpel when you can use a sledge hammer?’

“But on the other hand, it turns out that in some ways he’s also quite progressive and quite liberal in his political views.

“That’s what makes him fun. It’s interesting to me that when I’m walking down the street in New York and someone recognizes me, they’ll go, ‘Yeah! Bobby Axelrod!’ ‘Yeah, love you, man!’ But when it happens in England, people go, ‘Oh. Bobby Axelrod. You’re a real ****hole!’

“I’m not quite sure exactly what that says about both places but it says something!”

Lewis, 48, knows a bit about both England and New York these days, since he spends his time commuting between New York, where the series is shot, and London where he lives with his wife, actress Helen McCrory, and their two children, Manon, 12, and Gulliver, 11.

“We work it out,” he shrugs of his ever-travelling schedule.

“We actors are all gypsies and we all have to travel for work.

“I have friends who have bought a house in LA and been very excited – It’s great! I’ve moved the whole family to LA and it’s going to be so good! No more travelling!’

“And then they find they get three years of work in Toronto or Vancouver or even back in London! We just muddle through somehow.”

He admits that, constant jet lag and the proceeds of Billions and other series such as Homeland, Band Of Brothers and Wolf Hall have all helped make life pretty comfortable for the Lewis household.

Continue reading Damian Lewis and His Wife Helen McCrory Crack the US Showbiz Lifestyle – April 8, 2019

Categories Billions Interviews Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Print Media

Damian Lewis: Financial Times Interview – April 5, 2019

The ‘Billions’ star on schooldays with David Cameron, playing conflicted characters — and rumours of 007

by Janan Ganesh | Financial Times | April 5, 2019

“What am I?” demands Damian Lewis, in the Yonkers vowels of Bobby Axelrod, the hedge fund manager he plays in Billions. “Chopped liver?” We have not fallen out. It is the presence of the item on the menu that sets up his riff on the Americanism.

The actor you also know as a Renaissance king (Wolf Hall) and an al-Qaeda convert (Homeland) is seated under a wall-mounted ram’s head in Fischer’s, a portal into antiquated Mitteleuropa on London’s Marylebone High Street, where it all but heckles the modernities around it. From a room that suggests an Orient Express dining carriage, Lewis looks out on to a Diptyque, an Aesop and a Bang & Olufsen as I ask him why British actors do so well in America. “It’s luck, it’s innate, it’s a bit of hard work,” he guesses. “It’s nothing to do with being classically trained.”

He admires Christian Bale (“There’s something quite extreme innately in him”) and vies with Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba in the bookies’ guesswork as to the next James Bond. Politely, he smiles through my thesis that Brits grow up hearing more accents than almost any other nation, honing an ear for them that amounts to a thespian advantage. If he is not quite sold, he is at least open to the idea of performance as a national trait. “Is there a clown in the British character that there isn’t in America? I think there is. There’s a clown in us somewhere.”

Continue reading Damian Lewis: Financial Times Interview – April 5, 2019

Categories Billions Interviews Print Media

Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis Talk ‘Billions’ – March 28, 2019

Damian Lewis: From Billions to Steve McQueen

by Rueban V. Nepales | Inquirer Entertainment | March 29, 2019

“Honestly, I don’t think I would want a billion dollars,” claimed Paul Giamatti, costar of the financial drama (it’s a lot more interesting than that description), “Billions.”

The hit Showtime series also stars Damian Lewis as a hedge fund billionaire, so our recent talk inevitably veered toward green bucks—lots of it.

“It freaks me out; seems like a huge, crazy burden,” added Paul, one of the finest actors around, in his answer to a question on what he would do if he had millions of dollars. We were in New York, where the series is set.

In “Billions,” his longest-running stint in a TV show which is loosely based on a true story, Paul started as a ruthless US district attorney, Chuck Rhoades, out to get Damian’s Bobby “Axe” Axelrod on charges of insider trading.

In the show’s recent premiere of Season 4 , the two adversaries have become allies. The series makes New York’s world of high finance, organized crime and politics exciting—with whip-wielding sex thrown in.

Damian Lewis

For his part, Damian said: “It continues to be thrilling to work with Paul. It’s quite overwhelming the first time you’re in a scene with him. You just know immediately you’re not going to be anywhere but right in the zone with him during that period of filming.

Continue reading Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis Talk ‘Billions’ – March 28, 2019

Categories Billions Interviews Print Media

Billions Star Damian Lewis on What a $2,000 Cashmere Hoodie Feels Like – March 24, 2019

Guitars, Cashmere Hoodies, and More

by Hunter Harris | Vulture | March 24, 2019

The most important question I had for Billions star Damian Lewis was this: Are Bobby Axelrod’s cashmere zip-up hoodies as soft as they look onscreen? We can talk about his Rob Ford movie and everything else later, but the hoodies must have their moment. Billions is a show about the dramatics of Wall Street’s rich and powerful — fancy restaurants, words like “devalue” and “quant” — but Axe’s hoodies signify everything that makes his character simultaneously the best and the freaking worst. He’s brash and cool, and so grossly willing to show it off just for fun. And so, I ask Lewis, does a $2,000 cashmere hoodie really feel like a $2,000 cashmere hoodie?

He repeats my question to me, just to make sure he’s heard it right, and then groans: “Oh. They’re so soft. It’s just one cashmere heaven to the next.”

The tables have turned in Billions’ fourth season — Axe is no longer butting heads with Chuck Rhodes (grumpy icon Paul Giamatti), who for three seasons has been his perma-nemesis — but Lewis still says he’s having as much fun with its dramatics as ever before. Ahead of Sunday night’s episode “Arousal Template,” we talked Axe and Chuck’s alliance, the world’s most famous Billions fan, and, of course, that cashmere.

A lot of the dynamics that were central to Billions have been inverted this season: Axe and Chuck are in cahoots. Taylor, once Axe’s prodigy, is now his nemesis. Has that been weird for you?
It’s very exciting. I think it’s also quite realistic, the way in which alliances are made and don’t always last too long. Billions is about the transactional nature of the rich and the powerful, or even modern-day living. It’s a show about the favor trading that goes on, the ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.’ If the parameters don’t exist, really, like they do for normal people, let’s do each other a favor to get me what I want, to get you what you want. You’ve got a juicy drama of alliances and betrayal ahead of you. Chuck and Bobby have set this alliance because they both need it.

Continue reading Billions Star Damian Lewis on What a $2,000 Cashmere Hoodie Feels Like – March 24, 2019

Categories Billions Broadcast Media Guest Appearances Interviews Video

Damian Appeared on CBS This Morning – March 22, 2019

Billions Bad Boy

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | March 22, 2019

Award-winning actor Damian Lewis is known for his role as cut-throat hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod in the hit TV show, Billions. In the new season, Axelrod finds himself on the same team as his one-time nemesis, former U.S. attorney Chuck Rhoades, who’s portrayed by Paul Giamatti.  Lewis says, “The sheriff is now in cahoots with the cowboy.”

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Categories Billions Interviews Print Media

Brian Koppelman Talks Retribution In Fourth Season Of Billions – March 21, 2019

The Characters Are Willing to Go Very Far in Order to Exact Revenge

by Dave Gil de Rubio | Long Island Weekly | March 21, 2019

David Levien and Brian Koppelman shooting season four of Billions.

In a day and age of consumerism and major wealth disparity, Billions serves as the kind of series that holds a mirror up to the excesses of Wall Street and the one percent. Centered on the legal battles waged between rogue hedge fund managers and federal prosecutors, the Showtime drama stars Damian Lewis (Homeland), Paul Giamatti (John Adams; Sideways; Straight Outta Compton) and Maggie Siff (Mad Men; Sons of Anarchy). The three respectively play Charles “Chuck” Rhoades, Jr. (a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York), Robert “Bobby” Axelrod, the billionaire manager of the Axe Capital hedge fund and Dr. Wendy Rhoades, wife of Chuck and in-house performance coach at Axe Capital.

When the series completed its third season, newly appointed U.S. Attorney General Waylon “Jock” Jeffcoat (veteran character actor Clancy Brown) ousted Rhoades while former Axelrod protégé Taylor Amber Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) left Axe Capital and poached some traders in the process. The end result was an intriguing alliance between the two male leads, whose characters had previously been bitter rivals. It all makes for an intriguing season four, in a plot that is a high-stakes chess game fueled by the combination of sharp writing and impeccable acting. The series is shot on locations throughout New York City and Long Island.

Continue reading Brian Koppelman Talks Retribution In Fourth Season Of Billions – March 21, 2019

Categories Billions Interviews Print Media

Towards Darkness: Billions Star Maggie Siff Gets Candid – March 20, 2019

Wendy Rhoades: So Powerful Without the Bitch Title

by Michael Idato | March 20, 2019 | Sydney Morning Herald

As TV couples go, Billions‘ Wendy and Chuck Rhoades are a little out of the ordinary.

By day Wendy is the confident in-house performance coach at Axe Capital, encouraging her boss Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) to ever greater heights of financial chicanery.

At night she goes home to Chuck (Paul Giamatti), the US attorney determined to bring down Bobby, with whom she engages in Bondage/Discipline-Sadism/Masochism (BDSM) role play, with Wendy in the dominant role and Chuck as the slave.

It is, admits actress Maggie Siff, a lot to take in.

“Maggie, the psychotherapist, analysing Wendy, would probably say that both of those relationships are terrible for her in terms of her discovering her highest self,” Siff says.

“I think both of those relationships have driven her to towards darkness and in her desire to stick it out and help each of them succeed and ascend, she’s paid a price.”

Continue reading Towards Darkness: Billions Star Maggie Siff Gets Candid – March 20, 2019

Categories Audio Billions Guest Appearances Interviews Podcast

Listen to Damian on Podcast ‘The Moment with Brian Koppelman’ – March 19, 2019

The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | March 19, 2019

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Here is Damian Lewis discussing the road that got him to Billions and more on Brian Koppelman’s podcast, The Moment. Enjoy!

Find The Moment with Brian Koppelman on iTunes, Stitcher, Pod Bean, Spotify, and Player FM.

And here’s a bit of reading between the lines of some highlights from The Moment by JaniaJania on Fan Fun with Damian Lewis.

Categories Billions Interviews Print Media

Why the Creators of Billions See the Show as a “Rorschach Test” for the Trump Era – March 16, 2019

“It’s hard to find the people in positions of power who don’t at least dance with hypocrisy”

by Tonya Riley | Mother Jones | March 16, 2019

Billionaires, Saudi investors, political favor-trading —it sounds a lot like the basis of a Mother Jones article on any given day under the Trump administration. But in fact, it’s the logline for the season premiere of Showtime’s Billions, a surprise hit that is as comfortable being part of the Golden Age of television as it is commenting on a politically turbulent time.

The show stars Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, former US Attorney for Southern District of New York, and Damien Lewis as Bobby Axelrod, an unorthodox, up-from-his-bootstraps-sort-of hedge fund manager at Axe Capital. They’re joined by Maggie Siff as Wendy Rhoades, wife to Chuck and psychoanalyst at Axelrod’s company; she further complicates their relationship (and often calls the shots for them both). The drama, which was loosely based on the legal battle between Preet Bharara, a former US attorney for the same district Rhoades serves in Billions, and billionaire Steve Cohen, a hedge fund manager who escaped indictment despite being at the heart of a massive insider trading scandals, has evolved over four seasons into must-watch television that evokes the politics of today without the didactic morality of, say, an Aaron Sorkin venture. The show is smart, sexy, and dark, and vest-wearing finance bros and media hipsters alike count themselves among its fans.

Mother Jones called up co-creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien in advance of season four to discuss America’s fascination with the rich and powerful and how they keep their show fresh in the mercurial age of Trump.

Continue reading Why the Creators of Billions See the Show as a “Rorschach Test” for the Trump Era – March 16, 2019