Written By GingersnapComments Off on Lewis Pulls Covers Off Espionage – Nov 4, 2019
From Espionage to History
by Debashine Thangevelo | Cape Argus / IOL / International | November 4, 2019
Damian Lewis is a recognizable face on the big and small screen. Of late, he has been praised for his roles as King Henry VIII in Wolf Hall and Bobby Axelrod in Billions. He was also cast as Steve McQueen in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood. And let us not forget his role as Nicholas Brody in Homeland.
Having covered a gamut of genres, from espionage to history, it does make his latest stint as a narrator for History’s Damian Lewis: Spy Wars almost surreal.
“This Mossad mission, I’m sure 98% of people watching won’t have heard of this story. So, I think it’s a little glimpse through a window of what they did; it’s an incredible story. You will sit and watch and be utterly engaged. I think that’s true of all our stories. Even the Argo story – we come in from a slightly different angle with a bit more backstory, from the intelligence part of it rather than the film making aspect of it.”
On being a part of this project he adds, “As soon as you put yourself in front of a camera, or in front of an audience, as a performer, there’s a whole intricate web of thoughts that run through your head – how you want to be presented and how can you successfully be a credible part of your show, your story, whatever it is – and we had to work quite quickly.”
“I was flying in and out of New York from Billions and we had a budget, obviously, we had to be aware of.”
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Billions Star Damian Lewis Talks Spy Wars, Unscripted and His New Prodco – Oct 16, 2019
Damian’s Journalistic Side Unpacked
by Richard Middleton | Television Business International | October 16, 2019
A docudrama exploring the lives of (in)famous spies might not have been the most obvious next project for the star of Homeland and Billions, but the switch of genre for Damian Lewis clearly provided a new challenge for the much-vaunted English actor and producer.
Damian Lewis: Spy Wars marked the actor’s first foray into factual and for a talent who has to date been more used to having a script to work to, the shift into unscripted was unnerving.
“You don’t know if you’ve found an interesting way of telling the story until you find it and then you think how can we put something on air if we didn’t quite get it – that is quite daunting,” he admits. “But that is just the risk of documentary.”
The docudrama, which is presented by Lewis, was commissioned by A+E Networks’ UK network History and produced by Alaska TV in association with the actor’s recently launched outfit Rookery Productions. Lewis acts as host on the show – which has his brother Gareth attached as a producer – and provides “thumbnail portraits” of spies involved in covert missions with the help of new declassified information, high-profile experts and intelligence officers who took part.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Broadcasters Sign Up for A+E’s Damian Lewis: Spy Wars – Oct 11, 2019
by Joseph O’Halloran | Rapid TV News | October 11, 2019 -and-
by Peter White | Deadline | October 11, 2019
As we head into the leading global content trade show and world’s entertainment market MIPCOM 2019 next week, A+E Networks and A+E Networks UK have signed a slew of top international broadcasters for its latest factual co-production, Damian Lewis: Spy Wars.
Earlier this year we reported here that Spy Wars was heading to the Smithsonian Channel for US markets, a joint venture between CBS Corporation’s Showtime and the Smithsonian Institute. And now it seems other broadcasters will be joining Smithsonian Channel’s lead. The docu-drama currently airing on History UK and Blaze in the UK will now be available in the following markets: Blue Ant (Canada); POP TV (Slovenia); Bilibil.com (China); TVNZ (New Zealand); Historia and Atresmedia (Spain). A+E Networks says that multiple other deals are in negotiation. No word yet when television viewing audiences in other countries will see Damian hit their small screens, but rumor has it early 2020 for US customers.
In the series, award-winning actor Damian Lewis unpacks some of the most thrilling covert missions in modern-day history with the help of new declassified information, high-profile experts, and intelligence officers who were there. The program ranges from the most notorious spy exchange of recent times to the fake film production that freed Americans during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis to in-depth profiles of the world’s most skilled and lethal double agents and has been described as James Bond meets every John le Carré thriller you’ve ever read.
Damian Lewis: Spy Wars is executive produced by Alaska TV’s Chris Fouracre, Ian Lamarra, and Paul Sommers in association with Lewis’ own recently launched Rookery Productions with brother Gareth Lewis.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Boarding School Creates a Mild Sociopathy That’s Helpful to the Life of Espionage – Oct 4, 2019
Damian Makes His First Documentary Spy Wars With His Brother
by Lisa Campbell | iNews | October 4, 2019
Few British actors have set foot inside Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, but as the star of the American spy thriller, Homeland, Damian Lewis was granted unprecedented access as part of his research.
While he jokes that his meeting with the director of the CIA, John Brennan, is “classified”, the story demonstrates his ability to get under the skin of characters through keen observation of the tiniest details. He describes the “incredibly poker-faced field operatives who had revealed only the smallest increments of expression and emotion, until Brennan walked in and the temperature in the room rose instantaneously.”
It’s an experience that stood him in good stead for his latest project, Damian Lewis: Spy Wars, which also marks his first foray into factual television.
The eight-part series – the first to come out of Lewis’ newly-launched Rookery Productions – airs on History from Monday in the UK and showcases the true stories and remarkable characters behind some of the most important international spy operations of recent years.
“I’ve done a lot of research over my career for Homeland and a movie I made, Our Kind of Traitor, and have read my John le Carre like everyone else. I enjoy the genre and thought it was an opportunity to look behind these popular stories and find out something a bit more intimate and personal about the people themselves, their decisions and the ramifications on global politics,” he says.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Spy Wars: TV Real Interview – Oct 3, 2019
Spies Next Door
by Mansha Daswani | TV Real, World Screen | October 3, 2019
Damian Lewis talks to TV Real about what appealed to him about the docudrama, which is being rolled out by A+E Networks.
Lewis already knew a fair bit about espionage before signing on to executive produce and present the A+E Networks U.K.-commissioned series Spy Wars. He did, after all, play an MI6 agent in Our Kind of Traitor, based on the John le Carre novel, and a U.S. prisoner of war who returns home and is hailed as a hero as he secretly plots a terrorist attach in Showtime’s Homeland. Damian Lewis: Spy Wars sees the British actor recounting notable stories of espionage from the last four decades, spanning from the Cold War all the way through to the contemporary war on terror. The eight-part series produced by Alaska TV in association with Lewis’s own Rookery Productions sees him speaking directly to camera and features expert interviews and dramatic reenactments.
TV REAL: Tell us about the genesis of Spy Wars. How did you come to be involved in the show?
LEWIS: My brother [executive producer Gareth Lewis] was already involved, he was going to be directing parts of it. He said, Do you want to do this? I said, I don’t really do factual, I’m not a presenter. But I got sucked into these eight spy stories. I came on as a co-producer and tried to get to the bottom of what makes a man or woman do heroic or traitorous things on behalf of their country. That was it really. It came to me by invitation and my curiosity was tickled.
TV REAL: As you got into the details of these stories, what were some of the things that surprised you?
LEWIS: To be honest, a lot of what happens in the spy world is pretty unscientific. There’s still quite a lot of buccaneering and derring-do, if you like. It’s not risk-averse. It’s pro-risk, and often it can seem a bit chaotic, a bit ramshackle, and even at times a bit amateurish. Exotic words like “dead-drop” and “brush past” and things like that can simply be someone walking into a supermarket with the same plastic bag and putting it down and then each leaving with each other’s bag. It’s not exactly high-tech. While you’re looking for a slightly more sci-fi, James Bond aspect to these stories, they don’t exist. So the challenge for us was how to make the stories gripping and suspenseful. We tried to get into the minds of the individuals and what was at stake for them. What are the documents in that bag? What happens if that individual is caught? Why is the individual doing it? If the individual is a KGB officer and he’s caught, he’s going to be executed. If he’s a Western intelligence officer, he’s going to be imprisoned for life. We were trying to find out why these men and women are motivated to do these things. The motivation is often grubby and personal. It can be for simple revenge, a need to be heard, a need to belong to something, to be loved. People turn traitor for all these different reasons. So the surprise was constantly the grubbiness! And the desperation that’s there. And the extreme risk that these people are prepared to take in order to keep going.