Categories Print Media Review Spy Wars

Wall Street Journal Review: Spy Wars With Damian Lewis – March 19, 2020

Espionage in the Spotlight

by Dorothy Rabinowitz | The Wall Street Journal | March 19, 2020

Smithsonian Channel’s series tells shockingly true stories of the clandestine variety. In 1968, a loyal officer of the KGB is so shaken by the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia that he becomes an operative for British and American intelligence—one, “Spy Wars” reveals (begins Sunday, 8 p.m., Smithsonian Channel), destined to be of historic importance. This is the saga of Oleg Gordievsky—subject of the first episode of this eight-part weekly series, and a rich portrait it is. When his role of many years as a spy for the British and Americans finally becomes known to the Kremlin, quick exfiltration becomes an urgent necessity. His 1985 getaway in the trunk of a car driven by unflappable MI6 agents, who get him safely to Finland despite suspicious Russian border guards—and the howls of their alert dogs, who quiet down when the car’s driver throws them a treat—is an escape sequence to cherish.

In 2001, Robert Hanssen—one of the FBI’s most trusted agents—is unmasked as the mole who had, for 20 years, betrayed the identities of American assets in the Soviet Union and then Russia, thus ensuring their deaths at the hands of execution squads.

Continue reading Wall Street Journal Review: Spy Wars With Damian Lewis – March 19, 2020

Categories London Power 100 News Poll Print Media

Damian Makes 2020’s London Power 100 List – March 10, 2020

Damian Ranks #38 on London Power 100 List

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | March 10, 2020

Damian Lewis moves up in the ranks, from #46 last year to #38 this year. Congrats!

Meet the most influential people in London. The new London Power 100 was published today, which is an annual list of the 100 most influential people in London and includes a wide variety of high achievers and power players in the city and from the city of London.

From June each year, two teams of researchers begin curating and researching names for the list which are put forward to a panel of judges for consideration. This part of the process referred to as the “nominating process” is open to the public who can submit their suggestions to the judges via email.

From early November the judging panel begin scrutinizing the list and place individuals put forward in order, taking into consideration their achievements both past and present. Following which, the President of London Power 100 is advised of the final list by the middle of January. After reviewing, the list is published in March.

President Nicholas Taylor stated, “I have had the pleasure of working with and alongside many local businesses, entrepreneurs, charities and media personalities across film, music, and sport who have in some way influenced London’s landscape. It is not surprising that 2020’s list is made up of individuals who have in some way left their mark on the City, both past and present, from a broad spectrum of skill sets. Congratulations to this year’s inductees.”

Major stars such as Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch, Damian Lewis, Naomie Harris, Tom Hiddleston, Cara Delevingne, Letitia Wright, David Beckham, Gavin Rossdale, Rita Ora and Mo Farah joined veteran Londoners Sir Michael Caine, Dame Helen Mirren, and Dame Joan Collins on the list, which also features royalty like Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Charles, Prince of Wales, along with politicians, restaurateurs and business leaders.

Newcomers include British billionaire S. P. Hinduja, singer Harry Styles and Tottenham MP David Lammy whilst Dragons’ Den tycoon Tej Lalvani and West Ham United Football Club’s CEO Baroness Karren Brady all made a debut on the list.

Continue reading Damian Makes 2020’s London Power 100 List – March 10, 2020

Categories Interviews Print Media Run This Town

Damian Lewis on playing Rob Ford – March 5, 2020

He Was a Troubled Soul

by Mark Daniell | Toronto Sun | March 5, 2020

Billions star Damian Lewis plays the late Rob Ford in the new political thriller Run This Town. But down the line from the U.K. to promote the film, he wants to make it clear that it isn’t a straight biopic of the former crack-smoking Toronto mayor.

“This is a film about the younger generation around him in Toronto,” Lewis says. “It’s about the younger millennials who were affected by working for someone like Rob Ford.”

Written and directed by Ricky Tollman, the film pools together ambitious journalists and editors alongside social-climbing political aides as it dramatizes the scandal that plagued Ford’s steward as Toronto mayor.

In reality, it was Globe & Mail columnist (then a reporter at the Toronto Star) Robyn Doolittle who broke the story. Tollman’s film gender-swaps the character, casting Ben Platt (Netflix’s The Politician) as a struggling reporter who chases the infamous crack video in a bid to get out of writing top 10 lists.

Aladdin star Mena Massoud and Nina Dobrev play two assistants to the mayor, desperately trying to keep Ford’s behaviour under control.

“The film is mostly interested in the aftermath and trauma of being so close to a human wrecking ball like that,” Lewis, 49, says. “What does it do to you when you work for someone who behaves that way? That’s what the film is about. Of course, the film is a thriller, too, because everyone is trying to find out exactly what went on, which is why I loved it.”

Continue reading Damian Lewis on playing Rob Ford – March 5, 2020

Categories Print Media Review Run This Town

Run This Town Review – March 2, 2020

Damian Lewis is Exceptional as Ford

by Hannah Hoolihan | Screen Rant | March 2, 2020

In May of 2013, a video surfaced that appeared to show Toronto’s former mayor, Rob Ford, smoking crack. It was hardly the first time his name had come up in relation to controversy, but it was the rock big enough to cause a ripple effect throughout his administration. But, rather than focusing on Ford’s bombastic personality and fall from grace, writer-director Ricky Tollman’s debut feature centers on those in smaller positions working in a variety of industries around him. Whether they’re eager to break this monumental story or to try and keep it contained, the effort exuded by each party far outweighs Ford’s cataclysmic nature, even if his presence looms heavily over the narrative. Run This Town falls short of its storytelling aspirations but finds success in Ben Platt and Mena Massoud, who lead with lively, enthralling energy.

Run This Town‘s narrative is mainly focused on Kamal (Massoud), a political aide to Ford, and Bram (Platt), a recently-graduated journalism major with a hunger to break his first big story. The two live entirely different lives, but share one common goal of climbing the respective ladders at their institutions. When the video of Ford becomes known to Bram, he jumps at the opportunity to use this as his ticket to leave his current position as a listicle writer. Kamal, on the other hand, is struggling to contain the story while still maintaining his legitimacy in his field. In the end, the true focus of Tollman’s story is how tirelessly these two characters worked to prove themselves, which Massoud and Platt play up in equally electric performances.

Continue reading Run This Town Review – March 2, 2020

Categories Billions Print Media

Filthy Rich: 5 Reasons Billions is Better Than Succession (and vise versa) – March 2, 2020

From the Dialogue to the Plot Twists

by Philip Etemesi | Screen Rant | March 1, 2020

A case can be made for Don Cheadle’s new Wall Street comedy Black Monday but the two TV shows that currently bring out the best of the world of cutthroat business dealings and wealth are HBO’s Succession and Showtime’s Billions. The two TV shows share plenty of similar themes but a couple of things set them apart.

In Succession, family drama blends with corporate setbacks. Media tycoon Logan Roy’s health declines and his four children all try to win his favor in order to take over the empire when daddy is no longer around. In Billions, billionaire hedge fund manager Bobby “Axe” Axelrod is hunted down by US Attorney Chuck Rhoades for insider training before the two team up to fight common enemies. Here’s an argument for both shows as the better one.

Continue reading Filthy Rich: 5 Reasons Billions is Better Than Succession (and vise versa) – March 2, 2020