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A Spy Among Friends and Billions
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | February 27, 2023
Damian guest appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for S8, E81 on Monday, February 27, 2023 to promote the upcoming US release of his mini-series A Spy Among Friends available to stream on MGM+ beginning March 12. But Damian also made a HUGE announcement at the end of the segment. Let’s start at the beginning. Damian made his entrance as the band played Elvis “Suspicious Minds,” which is no coincidence if you know our Ginger! He waved and blew air kisses to the audience, took a bow before being seated and wore his lucky purple socks. When discussing A Spy Among Friends Damian asked, “Who doesn’t love a spy thriller?” Damian further explained he finds the total duplicity and ability to conceal simply fascinating, and a masterful skill. He spoke of working with the immaculate Guy Pearce who plays spy Kim Philby and how Philby is UK’s most infamous spy who betrayed his country to the Russians for 30 years.
Specifically, Damian explains how Nicholas Elliott (played by him) meets Philby in Beirut for an interrogation (and hopefully a confession) over four days. After Elliott’s superiors review the transcripts of the taped recordings of their meeting, they notice three minutes is missing when Elliott and Philby walk out on the balcony and no one knows what they really spoke about. All they do know is the next day, Philby escapes to Russia. Colbert played a clip of the scene between MI5 Agent Lily Thomas and Elliott upon Elliott’s return from Beirut. Damian jokingly claimed, “I only watch things I’m in.” Colbert asked Damian if he would make a good spy. Damian answered no and Colbert agreed he doesn’t think Damian would be a good spy because “a spy should be boring and you’re not, you’re too interesting.” Damian rubbed his heart in admiration and then Colbert quipped, “and a spy wouldn’t rub their own nipple in public.”
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Preview: Riveting Cat-and-Mouse Conversations
by Kate Hahn | TV Insider | February 24, 2023
If you learned your closest friend was a spy, would you help him evade justice? That’s the looming question in A Spy Among Friends, a slow-burn adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s nonfiction bestseller about an infamous U.K. traitor.
The limited series opens in 1963 with reserved British intelligence man Nicholas Elliott (Damian Lewis) being questioned by no-nonsense Lily Thomas (Anna Maxwell Martin) of the U.K.’s domestic intelligence agency MI5. The topic: Elliott’s role in the defection of his chum since the ’40s, charming Kim Philby (Guy Pearce), who has been outed as a double agent.
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Espionage Series Hits MGM+ in March
by Charles Barfield | The Playlist | February 2, 2023
Being a spy requires a lot of discretion. You have to not only keep most of what you do at work a secret, but you sometimes even have to lie to those closest to you to protect that work. But what happens when your best friend is also a spy? And not only that, what if that best friend who is a spy might also be a double agent, working for the enemy? That drama is what propels the plot of the new limited series, “A Spy Among Friends.”
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Two Lifelong Friends, One Double Agent
by Michael Pickard | Drama Quarterly | January 13, 2023
Stars Damian Lewis and Anna Maxwell Martin join the team behind A Spy Among Friends to discuss the making of this ITVX espionage drama, which is based on the true story of two lifelong friends and British spies – one of whom is a double agent. When he was initially approached to star in A Spy Among Friends, Damian Lewis didn’t know which of the two leads he would play.
In this DQTV interview here, star Damian Lewis, who plays Elliott, and writer Alex Cary discuss why they wanted to give viewers a peek behind the curtain of this notorious spy story. They talk about why Elliott emerged as the focal point of the drama, their roles behind the scenes as executive producers and the fallout from the damaged friendship at the heart of the story.
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MGM+ Unveils A Spy Among Friends at TCA Winter Press Tour
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | January 10, 2023
For the first time in three years since the pandemic, the in-person Television Critics Association press tour returned. The event was held at The Langham, Huntington in Pasadena, California beginning Monday, January 9, 2023. Not all television networks appeared, but MGM+ was there to discuss upcoming content available on its new streaming platform, including A Spy Among Friends. After first debuting on ITVX in the U.K. in December 2022, A Spy Among Friends staring Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce will get its US premiere on MGM+ on March 12, 2023, as EPIX will become MGM+ on January 15, 2023. The six-episode series is based on the Ben Macintyre book of the same name, written by Alexander Cary and directed by Nick Murphy. ITV produces in collaboration with Sony Pictures Television and Damian’s own Ginger Biscuit Entertainment.
Those attending the TCA panel discussion in-person were Anna Maxwell-Martin, Nick Murphy and Alexander Cary, and joining remotely via video call were Damian and Guy Pearce. During the discussion Damian said Guy Pearce plays the rock star Kim Philby and he plays the sap Nicholas Elliott. Anna Maxwell-Martin said her scenes with Damian were thrilling, “It’s just about being with Damian in a room.” Alex Cary shared that he centered the story of A Spy Among Friends around relationships, friendship and betrayal to make it relevant to today’s audience. Photos from the event can be viewed here.
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by Katie Brewer | Instagram: Bandwidth Conversations | January 9, 2023
Sit down and have a listen as Host Katie Brewer chats with Damian on her next Bandwidth Conversations podcast episode, where her “focus is to talk to musicians, actors and rock stars of life.” Among many things, Damian talks about how Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks chose him to play Major Dick Winters in Band of Brothers, how he was given the role of Nicholas Brody in Homeland, how he created his character of Bobby Axelrod in Billions and his latest role as an MI6 agent in a new miniseries A Spy Among Friends.
Hilarious, modest, honest – not only is Damian a star of the theatre and screen, he was an absolute star to talk to. We also talk about starting a music career, his upcoming album and his life from school through acting. An unmissable episode – out Tuesday, January 10, 2023. Listen here or anywhere you podcast (Spotify and Apple Podcasts), or click below.
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Are You Lonesome Tonight?
by Peter Craven | The Spectator | January 5, 2023
Just now you can see Pearce in A Spy Among Friends as Kim Philby, that dazzling double agent.
The streamer goes for six episodes and if you’re quick and lethal you can join BritBox for a free trial period and watch this extraordinary story of how Damian Lewis as Nicholas Elliott, the patriotic mate, tangles with the problem of Philby two-timing for the Russians.
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He Gave Me The Slip
by William Keegan | The Guardian | December 31, 2022
The English of a certain generation seem to be divided between those who are fascinated by the Cambridge spies and those who are not. For the former, the fascination and in my case memories have been rekindled by the recent release of the television series A Spy Among Friends, starring Guy Pearce as the treacherous Kim Philby and Damian Lewis as Nicholas Elliott, his close friend for many years at the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI6.
The bond between Philby and Elliott was tested when the latter discovered that he had unwittingly been one of Philby’s prime sources for top-secret intelligence as part of the notorious Cambridge spy ring who passed information to the Soviet Union during the second world war and, later, the cold war. This was all the more galling for Elliott, who had helped to clear Philby’s name when he had come under suspicion some years before his ultimate confession in Beirut in 1963.
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Now Streaming In UAE on TOD
by Enid Grace Parker | The Khaleej Times | December 15, 2022
Wondering what to binge-watch this weekend? Why not check out the 6-part series A Spy Among Friends, an intriguing tale of espionage, friendship, and betrayal that dramatizes the true story of Britain’s most notorious double agent and defector, Kim Philby. Philby is played by Australian actor Guy Pearce (Neighbours, Memento) while Homeland star Damian Lewis takes on the role of his lifelong friend, MI6 agent Nicholas Elliott. Based on the New York Times best-selling book by Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends chronicles Philby’s deeply personal betrayal, uncovered at the height of the Cold War, which resulted in the gutting of British and American Intelligence.
Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor Lewis – who received a CBE from Britain’s King Charles on December 14 – told City Times in a recent virtual group interview that roles based on real life are “more challenging” but “always more interesting” to him.
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“All the Thrills, Intrigue and Skulduggery of its Source Material”
by Staff | The Economist | December 14, 2022
“If i had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friends,” E.M. Forster wrote in 1938, “I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” The English author’s words are used as an epigraph to “A Spy Among Friends”, Ben Macintyre’s bestselling book of 2014 about Harold “Kim” Philby, as well as for a new television adaptation. Yet the British intelligence officer and double-agent made no such choice: he betrayed his country, his friends and his family for decades and without remorse.
Philby’s name is synonymous with treachery on a colossal scale. Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, John Cairncross and Donald Maclean—the other members of the Cambridge Five, a spy ring—committed many duplicitous deeds for their Soviet masters, but none can claim the title of Britain’s most notorious spy. Philby played his high-stakes game of double-cross so ruthlessly, so successfully and for so long that he acquired a different level of infamy after he was unmasked.
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“The Jump-Around Is Part Of The Point”
by Brenna Cooper and David Opie | Digital Spy | December 12, 2022
A Spy Among Friends director Nick Murphy has has explained his reason for the show’s confusing narrative, saying it was a deliberate choice to “discombobulate” viewers. Throughout the series, the show jumps between several locations across 30 years as it tells the story of Nicholas Elliott (Damian Lewis) and KGB double agent Kim Philby (Guy Pearce). Murphy explained that it was a conscious decision from the beginning not to explicitly label each location and year, in order to focus on the show’s emotional storyline.
“The show jumps around over 30 years in London, Berlin, Moscow, Vienna, Istanbul… We made a decision quite early to not caption things as we jump around, because it would become this endless litany of captions on screen,” he told Digital Spy in a video here.
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It Is Even More Heartbreaking Than You Think
by Jacob Sarkisian and David Opie | Digital Spy | December 11, 2022
A Spy Among Friends‘ first episode ends with a heartbreaking scene, but the makers of the show have explained the personal connection that makes it sadder than you think.
In the scene, Damian Lewis’ character watches Guy Pearce’s character on stage. As he watches, he starts to cry. However, Pearce’s character isn’t actually there and it’s all in the mind of Lewis’ character. Watch video here.