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Damian Lewis’ Inspiration for Wolf Hall’s Henry VIII: ‘Wills and Harry’ – Jan 21, 2015

Damian Lewis’ Inspiration for Wolf Hall’s Henry VIII: ‘Wills and Harry’

Damian Lewis reveals the unlikely inspiration behind his portrayal of Henry VIII

by Hannah Furness and Gaby Wood – The Telegraph – 21 January 2015

As he plays a handsome Henry VIII, pacing his palaces as he negotiates a split with Rome, one might have thought Damian Lewis would turn to the history books for assistance.

But the actor has disclosed an unusual inspiration for his part in Wolf Hall: The Duke of Cambridge and his brother, Prince Harry.

Continue reading Damian Lewis’ Inspiration for Wolf Hall’s Henry VIII: ‘Wills and Harry’ – Jan 21, 2015

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After “Homeland,” Damian Lewis Looked To His Past To Plan His Future

Damian at the 2015 TCA Winter Press Tour

The Homeland alum relied on two decades of invaluable Hollywood lessons to tackle lead roles in a pair of new television projects, BBC Two’s period drama Wolf Hall and Showtime’s high-finance pilot Billions.

When Damian Lewis faced the press on Jan. 19, for the first time since he was killed off Showtime’s Homeland in December 2013, the 43-year-old still bore an uncanny resemblance to Sgt. Nicholas Brody, thanks to his close-cropped hair, rigid posture, and clean-shaven face. But it quickly became clear that, on the inside, he couldn’t be more different than the man who signed on to the series in 2011.

Thanks to Homeland, Lewis — who calls himself an “autodidact” — was afforded some incredibly unique learning experiences. “I love doing projects where there’s something to be learned,” Lewis told BuzzFeed News, sitting at the far end of a long, empty dining room table of an ornate hotel conference room in Pasadena, California. To properly bring Brody to life, he studied the Qur’an and learned about the Islamic faith and the experiences of U.S. Marines deployed in Afghanistan. “The wonderful thing about acting is you can be on a 40-year university course.”

But Lewis has also grown through the wisdom gleaned from his own professional mistakes — again, most recently through his role on Homeland, for which he won an Emmy Award in 2012.

Lewis’ character, Nicholas Brody — an American prisoner of war who was rescued and returned home a changed man (not so spoiler alert: He was a sleeper agent for the enemy) — was not designed to remain on the series indefinitely. But when the show clicked with critics and fans took a shine to Brody’s burgeoning relationship with CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), the creators’ initial plan was scrapped. But by the third season, many viewers had grown weary of the duo’s increasingly operatic romantic entanglements and the character was, as initially planned, killed off in a brutal and shocking death scene.

“He had to go,” Lewis said, without hesitation. “When I took the show, I was really of the understanding I would only be there for two years. I stayed for a third season because TV rollover came into play: ‘This is our show and we can’t get rid of him.’ I think the one area of the story the writers weren’t clear would work was this relationship. So when it worked, they were ambushed by success of that central storyline and they had a problem because people were now tuning in to see this relationship.

“We set out to make a different drama: a show about the flawed characters at the center of a flawed central intelligence agency that is protecting the interests of a flawed country in the name of a flawed idea — which is called democracy — against a bunch of radical, violent people. This was our big central idea and [then we had] people tuning because they want to see if these people are going to get together or not.”

A Brody-less Season 4 of Homeland premiered in October 2014 to promising reviews, as hopeful critics noted the show looked to be returning to its roots. That promise paid off — in spades — as Homeland experienced a complete creative resurrection. “I think they did a brilliant job of just extricating themselves, tiptoeing away from the situation,” Lewis said of the fourth season, which went on to earn rave reviews. “What they’ve been able to do in Season 4 is get back to the nuts and bolts of the CIA and this great, brilliant, flawed character, the manic-depressive at the center of it all.”

Homeland’s presence is still felt in Lewis’ life. “It can be aggressive, that kind of adulation,” he said, crossing his arms and leaning back in his chair. “People can go a little bit crazy, so there’s quite a lot of manhandling in the streets. Now I know what it must have been like to be Brad Pitt for an entire lifetime, ever since he did that scene in Thelma and Louise where he took his top off — I’m straight and that scene did it for me as well. There’s a very small group of people who have lived at that elevation and at times it was overwhelming, but I’ve enjoyed slightly calmer waters subsequently.”

Continue reading After “Homeland,” Damian Lewis Looked To His Past To Plan His Future

Categories Billions Homeland Media Print Media Wolf Hall

After “Homeland,” Damian Lewis Looked To His Past To Plan His Future, Buzzfeed, January 20, 2015

After “Homeland,” Damian Lewis Looked To His Past To Plan His Future

The Homeland alum relied on two decades of invaluable Hollywood lessons to tackle lead roles in a pair of new television projects, BBC Two’s period drama Wolf Hall and Showtime’s high-finance pilot Billions.

Categories Wolf Hall

Damian Lewis: Playing King Henry VIII Is His Perfect Post-‘Homeland’ Role

PBS TCA Winter Press Tour

“If ever there was a masterpiece on ‘Masterpiece,’ this is it,” Rebecca Eaton, exec producer of PBS’ “Masterpiece,” said at Monday’s Television Critics Assn. panel for “Wolf Hall.” The six-part miniseries, based on Hilary Mantel’s book and its sequel “Bring Up the Bodies,” stars “Homeland’s” Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance and Claire Foy.

Lewis, whose character, Nicholas Brody, was killed off in Showtime’s hit, for which he won an Emmy, said King Henry VIII is a part he’s excited to tackle.

“My vanity will always relish a challenge,” Lewis said. “In fact, that probably encourages me.”

Assuring the room of reporters he’s not afraid to take on such a weighty role, Lewis said, “There’s a real opportunity to look differently at a period of history that is loved and well known.” He’s also excited to bring new light to the “syphilitic, philandering Elvis people think [King Henry VIII] is.”

“Henry, as a brand, is right up there with Coca Cola,” Lewis said. “In terms of brand recognition, you have to go look at other things, and I think we have.”

“Wolf Hall,” exec produced by Colin Callender and directed by Peter Kosminsky, debuts on PBS April 5. The drama runs through May 10.

Source: Variety

More from the PBS TCA Winter Press Tour:
Deadline – Damian Lewis Says Henry VIII As Big A Brand As Coca Cola

Categories Appearances Media Press Conference Print Media Wolf Hall

Damian Lewis Says Henry VIII “As Big A Brand As Coca-Cola” – Jan 19, 2015

Damian Lewis Says Henry VIII “As Big A Brand As Coca-Cola,” While Plugging PBS’s ‘Wolf Hall’

Television Critics Association Press Tour, Winter Tour, Panel Discussion

by Lisa de Moraes – Deadline – January 19, 2015

Damian Lewis speaks onstage during the ‘MASTERPIECE “Wolf Hall” panel discussion at the PBS Network portion of the Television Critics Association press tour at Langham Hotel on January 19, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

“Henry [VIII] as a brand, is right up there with Coca Cola,” Damian Lewis said, of the oft-portrayed Tudor king he plays in PBS’s six-part miniseries Wolf Hall.  “My vanity will always relish a challenge,” Lewis said, of trying to turn in a fresh performance of the historical figure. “In fact, that probably encourages me.”

Not so fresh, maybe, were his answers to question about his character, on stage this morning at Winter TV Press Tour 2015; his “syphilitic, philandering Elvis” line, in re how Henry VIII is most often perceived/portrayed, is getting a little worn out as Lewis make the press rounds to promote the project.

Continue reading Damian Lewis Says Henry VIII “As Big A Brand As Coca-Cola” – Jan 19, 2015

Categories Media Print Media Wolf Hall

PBS’ Wolf Hall Starring Damian Lewis Could Be TV’s Next Great Antihero Story – Jan 19, 2015

PBS’ ‘Wolf Hall’ Starring Damian Lewis Could Be TV’s Next Great Antihero Story

by Ryan Lattanzio – Indiewire – 19, January 2015

Will Henry VIII be Emmy winner Damian Lewis’ first, great post-Nick Brody role? Directed by Peter Kosminsky and written by Peter Straughan (one half of the Oscar-nominated “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” duo), this six-part BBC drama adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s hit novels “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies” will broadcast stateside on PBS April 5.

Lewis plays the eighth Henry opposite top-shelf Shakespeare thespian Mark Rylance, playing the King’s ruthless counselor Thomas Cromwell. Claire Foy, Mark Gatiss, Charity Wakefield, Joanne Whalley and Jonathan Pryce, who was recently seen as a narcissistic asshole professor in Alex Ross Perry’s “Listen Up Philip,” head up the sprawling cast.

Continue reading PBS’ Wolf Hall Starring Damian Lewis Could Be TV’s Next Great Antihero Story – Jan 19, 2015

Categories Media Print Media Wolf Hall

Damian Lewis’ Henry VIII in Wolf Hall Has Killer Calves – Jan 19, 2015

Damian Lewis’ Henry VIII in Wolf Hall Has Killer Calves 

by – Variety – 19 January 2015

Henry VIII, infamous King of England in the sixteenth century, is often remembered for his gluttonous form, his string of wives, his disharmony with the Pope and his brute beheading spree. But Damian Lewis, star of the BBC’s new miniseries “Wolf Hall” — a six-part adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s prize-winning novels that will premiere in the UK on January 21 and on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre on April 5 — plans to introduce you to a different sort of monarch.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 18: (L-R) Producers Colin Callender, Rebecca Eaton, actors Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance, director Peter Kosminsky, and British Consulate-General LA Christopher O’Connor attend an afternoon tea at The British Consulate celebrating “Wolf Hall” Airing On Masterpiece On PBS at The British Residence on January 18, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Masterpiece on PBS)

“He was generally regarded as the preeminent sportsman of his era,” said Lewis on Sunday afternoon, at a quaint tea held at the British Consul-General Chris O’Connor’s Los Angeles home to honor the series. “He was one of the best hunters, horsemen, jousters, archers. And he was an incredibly trim, fit man — very proud of a fine pair of calves that he had. He used to boast that his calves were better than Philip the Fair’s of France.”

How did Lewis, fresh off of “Homeland,” hone his own physique for the role? “I stuck handkerchiefs down there,” he joked (of his calves), before adding, “No, I wore boots to cover them up.” He also grew a beard and donned square-toed boots, which he thinks “might set a new fashion.”

Continue reading Damian Lewis’ Henry VIII in Wolf Hall Has Killer Calves – Jan 19, 2015

Categories Gallery Wolf Hall

Afternoon Tea At The British Consulate Celebrating ‘Wolf Hall’

Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance, and director Peter Kosminsky

Damian Lewis attended an afternoon tea at The British Consulate celebrating “Wolf Hall” in Los Angeles on Sunday. Damian will be at the PBS TCA Winter Press Tour presentation being held on Monday. Click below for pictures from Sunday’s event. We’ll have pictures from PBS’s TCA panel on Monday.

Wolf Hall premieres in the US on PBS Sunday, April 5th. Click here for the PBS’s Wolf Hall page.

Gallery Link:

2015/01/18 Afternoon Tea At The British Consulate Celebrating “Wolf Hall” Airing On PBS

Categories Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall Q&A Interview Panel

Wolf Hall Q&A

Sunday Express TV Editor David Stephenson has uploaded the audio of the Q&A interview panel that was done after a screening of Wolf Hall episode 1 back on December 10th. Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance, Claire Foy, director Peter Kosminsky, writer Peter Straughan, and executive producer Colin Callender were there for the interview. Damian comes in at the 19.08 mark.


Here are a couple write-ups from that Q&A:
The Telegraph – Wolf Hall TV show uses ‘too small’ Tudor codpieces
Deadline – ‘Wolf Hall’ Creatives & Cast On Codpieces, Tudor Politics And Killing Anne Boleyn
theartsdesk.com – Wolf Hall comes to BBC Two
Radio Times – Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky urges the nation not to “p**s away” the BBC

Categories Media Print Media Wolf Hall

Damian Lewis: the man who would be king, The Telegraph, January 18, 2015

Damian Lewis: the man who would be king

It’s been a toff life, all right, so who better to play Henry VIII in the keenly awaited ‘Wolf Hall’

Damian Lewis arrives at the Sun Military Awards in Greenwich

Damian Lewis arrives at the Sun Military Awards in Greenwich  Photo: Rex Features
Categories Media Print Media Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall’s Damian Lewis: ‘We try to give a more varied portrait of Henry VIII’

Damian Lewis with director Peter Kominsky
THE Homeland star plays King Henry VIII in Wolf Hall, a gripping new BBC drama that reassesses the role of one of history’s arch-villains, Thomas Cromwell

Packed with intrigue, sex, scandal, royals and seismic change, the tumultuous tale of how King Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church in order to marry his second wife, Anne Boleyn, is one of the most thrilling in our history.

It’s no surprise that the story has been rendered on film and television dozens of times and its cast of characters are as well known to us as the Mitchells on EastEnders.

But this week we’ll hear a different spin on the tale. BBC1’s lavish new drama Wolf Hall tells this chunk of English history solely from the viewpoint of Henry’s ruthless right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell.

It’s based on Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Booker Prize-winning historical novel of the same name, in which she controversially recast Cromwell not as the arch-villain of history but as a sympathetic, suave and brilliant fixer to the king whose actions are understandable even when they are incredibly brutal.

Acclaimed theatre star Mark Rylance tackles the role of Cromwell, with Damian Lewis as the capricious Henry VIII and Little Dorrit’s Claire Foy as ambitious queen-to-be Anne Boleyn.

In the first episode we meet Cromwell as a happily married father of three before he goes to work for Henry VIII. As legal secretary to Cardinal Wolsey (Jonathan Pryce), the former Lord Chancellor, Cromwell is trying to get his beleaguered master restored to the King’s good favour. Wolsey has been cast out after failing to get the Pope to agree to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Henry wants to marry Anne and produce a male heir – Henry and Catherine’s only surviving child is Mary, later Queen (or Bloody) Mary. Also, tragedy strikes the Cromwell household as a fatal epidemic claims the lives of his wife, Elizabeth, and two young daughters.

Rylance, best known for his 1995-2005 stint as artistic director of London’s Globe Theatre, says he was drawn to the part after his wife, musical director and composer Claire van Kampen, praised the books to him. “I like stories where people change,” he says. “And this character changes a lot.”

History records Cromwell as a low-born runaway who rose through the ranks with cunning and breathtaking ruthlessness, and whose life was tinged with sorrow. “Personal tragedy in his life gives him a certain kind of recklessness, or nihilism, about his own fate,” says Mark, 54. “He’s not particularly attached to anything or anyone. He knows everything can be lost at any moment.”

Mark sides with Hilary Mantel’s revised version of Cromwell in claiming that he did not relish sending many to their deaths, most famously Thomas More, and Anne Boleyn, both on trumped-up charges. “But like a hired protector, he knows that if he doesn’t do it, someone else will,” explains Mark.

Damian Lewis plays Cromwell’s master, the weak, much-married king usually depicted as a bloated womaniser. In the period covered by the drama, the 1530s, however, Henry was still a svelte man with a more humane side to him, explains Homeland star Damian, 43. “What we’re trying to concentrate on a bit is just to give a more varied portrait of Henry,” he explains. “When we see him there’s great variety in his character and his personality. You might see him composing something on the lute, or in a very boyish way dreaming about Jane Seymour.”

But Henry the heartless megalomaniac is about to emerge. “His ability to love and then to simply discard is sociopathic,” says Damian. “That is very damaging to one’s personality over a period of time, which is why I think he became increasingly paranoid, self-indulgent, grandiose and cruel in the last 10 years of his life.”

Anne Boleyn paid the price of Henry’s cruelty by failing to provide him with a male heir – their only child was Elizabeth, later Elizabeth I. Actress Claire Foy struggled to research Anne. “It was difficult because there is no hard evidence or first-hand account of what she was like,” explains Claire, 30.

Moreover, in Wolf Hall, Anne is only seen through Cromwell’s eyes – as imperious, wilful and cunning. “So it was my job to figure out the other side of Anne that you don’t see,” continues Claire. “Like when she is in a scene having a hissy fit, understanding why that might be, as opposed to thinking she is this mad woman.

“I feel incredible compassion towards her because she missed out on people really being able to know her,” says Claire. “It would be amazing to read her letters, or her diaries, and there’s only one letter available to see that she wrote to Henry.”

What helped Claire flesh out the character was donning her costumes, since what is known is that Anne was something of a Tudor fashionista. “Anne was incredibly interested in fashion,” explains Claire. “She really paid attention to detail about her outfit that would make her stand out.”

But acting in Tudor garb wasn’t all that easy for a modern woman, admits Claire. “In the first few weeks it was magical and amazing, but then it gets to July and you’re in a stately home not able to drink water, sit down, not really able to breathe!”

Filming was carried out at six National Trust properties in the southwest that lend great authenticity to the drama, which is bound to fuel interest in a story that continues to grip us 500 years on.

“The whole idea of divine kings, or of these rulers who lead us, is gripping,” muses Mark. “When we find out what was going on with Kennedy or Clinton, or eventually find out what was going on in Obama’s mind, it’s riveting. We’re fascinated, aren’t we?”

Wolf Hall, wednesday, 9pm, BBC2

Source: Sunday Express

See Also:

Sunday Express – Wolf hall star Damian Lewis: ‘Eton taught me to be king’