Damian Lewis
Actor, Dad, Redhead, and Ping Pong Champion
Categories Stolen

More ‘Stolen’ Reviews

Excerpts from a few reviews below. Warning: The Guardian review contains spoilers regarding a character’s death.

The Guardian

Also very good was Stolen (BBC1, Sunday), Stephen Butchard’s gritty thriller about child trafficking, with a strong performance by Damian Lewis as the well-meaning but ineffective DI Carter trying to stand up alone against a tide of international slavery. The child actors were excellent too – the young girl who plays Rosemary, a picture of shyness and terror, and the boy who is Georgie, the sweet lad from eastern Europe.

From The Independent

Stolen, BBC1’s one-off child-trafficking thriller, was a project worthy of Lewis’s talents. Written by Stephen Butchard (House of Saddam, Five Daughters) and directed by Justin Chadwick (Bleak House), it had impeccable provenance and, sure enough, even the title sequence squeaked with quality: lovingly composed photography, gorgeously bleak production design. Thanks, too, to some judicious editing, we were introduced within minutes to each of the wretched protagonists: Rosemary, a young girl fresh off the plane from Lagos on her way to domestic slavery; Georgie, an androgynous tyke condemned to clean up after the workers in a sandwich factory, and for no reward; and Kim Pak, a Vietnamese teen dreaming of escape from his gangmaster’s suburban marijuana farm.

From the Herald.ie

I WAS about to say there was an awful lot to enjoy about Stolen, except “enjoy” is probably not the ideal word to use about a drama about the harrowing subject of child trafficking. So let’s go with “admire” instead.

There was an awful lot to admire about Stolen, not least Damian Lewis as policeman DI Anthony Carter. Lewis was excellent, imbuing a character that was essentially a blank sheet with a compassion, controlled anger and inner life that wasn’t always obvious in Stephen Butchard’s uneven script.

Categories Stolen

More ‘Stolen’ press

New preview and article from the Telegraph:

So in the opening scenes we meet Rosemary, an African girl who has just landed at a British airport. On arrival, she follows the instructions from her “buyers”, flushing her passport away so that she is effectively untraceable. From that point on, the gang has the upper hand, explains Lewis.

The actor prepared for his role by shadowing a real-life human trafficking unit in London. If there are reasonable grounds to suspect trafficking, “the child will find some measure of safety within a government house,” he explains. “If not, they go to private carers.”

The child – in this case Rosemary – tries to escape from her carers so that she can contact the gang on a memorised number (they plan to make her a house servant, with a view to selling her on as a sex worker when she is older). The whole process is oiled by fear, says Lewis. “It’s especially hard with these African girls because they will have had ‘juju’ rituals performed on them [before the trip], to make them believe they’ll die if they don’t follow orders,” he says. “These are girls who have had blood taken from them, mixed with hair cuttings and nail clippings. They’re then doused in it, and a ceremony is performed by a priest.

“And they live in fear. One fact I learned was that it can take two years to break down even an adult, to re-educate her against the juju. So it’s a very complicated psychological problem and it relies on the police being able to elicit trust so they can get to the truth.”

There’s also this from the Associated Press:

Damian Lewis has revealed he’s developed an “American persona” for working in the US.

The flame-haired actor, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in the Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks-produced Band Of Brothers in 2001, had a two-year stint playing a detective in the US NBC series Life.

“It’s got to a point where I go shopping at the weekends and stay as an American, and then I find myself talking to an English person and that’s when I feel ridiculous,” he admitted.

“But in America more often than not I naturally wake up in an American accent.”

Damian, who has two children with actress wife Helen McCrory, wasn’t too devastated when Life was cancelled after two series.

“I think my wife was secretly relieved… actually very publicly relieved. She’d had enough. We were both taken by surprise by the amount of time we were kept apart because of the workload,” he said.

“I was having the life of Riley because I was working on something that I was committed to, but it was hard. Our son Gulliver was born there – so he’ll be president one day – but I didn’t see them enough.”

The star is back with Stolen, a new one-off TV drama about human trafficking in the UK, which airs on BBC One on Sunday July 3.

Categories Stolen

New Scotsman.com interview

Damian discusses Stolen, Homeland, and plans to do an “improbable” musical:

Lewis played Detective Charlie Crews in the NBC drama Life, and is heading back to the US to make Homeland. “It’s a cable show and is only 13 episodes, like The Wire or Mad Men – hopefully it’ll be as good as those shows.” he says. “It’s a political thriller made by the guys behind 24. I play Sergeant Nicholas Brody, a US Marine found in an al-Qaeda safe-house after being presumed dead for eight years. He is discovered looking like Tom Hanks in Castaway.

“They bring him home, and it’s seen as a great victory for US intelligence – they’re hoping to make him the poster boy of the American war effort. But at the same time, a thrusting CIA operative played by Claire Danes has information that a captured US soldier has been turned by al-Qaeda and represents a serious threat to a major US city. Cue credits …”

Lewis is also contemplating a return to the theatre – he last appeared on stage two years ago in a London production of The Misanthrope, opposite Keira Knightley – but he confesses to mixed feelings: “It is still the most terrifying thing, no question. There is always the thought that you might forget what you’re supposed to be doing and blank entirely. That’s my fear.”

For all that, he says: “I do have plans to go back on stage. I can’t tell you what the show is – except that it’s a musical. It’s not ‘al-Qaeda The Musical’, but it’s something equally improbable. It could be the end of my career!”

Read it all at the Scotsman.com.

Categories Print Media Stolen

Stolen: Damian Lewis Investigates the UK’s Secret Slave Trade – June 30, 2011

A Gripping Thriller Based on the Real-Life Child Slaves Still Being Smuggled into Britain

by Olly Grant | The Telegraph | June 30, 2011

Ultimately, every fictional drama gets its inspiration from something real. In the case of BBC One’s new thriller, Stolen, it was a 60-second radio bulletin, way back in 2003. “I was listening to the news on 5 Live,” explains writer Stephen Butchard, “and they had a report about an African child who had been trafficked into the country to work as a domestic slave.”

It made him do a double-take. “I thought, ‘Surely that can’t be happening in this country?’” he recalls. “But they said it wasn’t a one-off; it happens again and again. So I fired off an email to the BBC drama department…”

Eight years on, the result of Butchard’s email is about to make it to the screen. Stolen, starring Damian Lewis, takes the idea behind that report and spins it into a multi-stranded thriller about the scandal of modern-day slavery.

Thematically, it’s treading similar ground to Channel 4’s Bafta-nominated 2010 drama, I Am Slave. Yet Stolen broadens the canvas by following three children in very different forms of British-based slavery – an African girl and two boys from Vietnam and Ukraine – with Lewis as an anti-trafficking detective and a kind of lynchpin character, drawing their stories together.

Continue reading Stolen: Damian Lewis Investigates the UK’s Secret Slave Trade – June 30, 2011

Categories Media Print Media Stolen

Damian Lewis: Back in Britain and Starring in Stolen – June 29, 2011

Damian Lewis: Back in Britain and starring in Stolen

The actor has no regrets about leaving Tinseltown for the mean streets of Manchester — and a spot of fishing.

Damian Lewis, the most famous screen redhead since Shirley Temple
Damian Lewis, the most famous screen redhead since Shirley Temple, BBC 

It’s given that most actors don’t have two ha’pennies to rub together. The London-born actor Damian Lewis seems keen to show he’s not one of them – during the interview he holds two pounds coins, clicking them together to punctuate points he is making. It might be a nervous affectation or a show of ostentation. Given the shiny blue suit and polished brogues that he is wearing at BBC TV Centre, it might well be the latter. This is after all, the actor who was thrust into the spotlight in the epic Spielberg- produced mini-series Band of Brothers in 2001, became an overnight sensation, the most famous screen redhead since Shirley Temple, and was whisked off to Hollywood in the wake of that show. But Hollywood didn’t quite work out, and after some dud films and a cancelled TV series, he is back in Britain, his latest role in a BBC TV film Stolen, an earnest, quietly moving film about child trafficking.

Continue reading Damian Lewis: Back in Britain and Starring in Stolen – June 29, 2011