Written By GingersnapComments Off on Damian Lewis and Dominic West Poised To Star In Cold War Limited Series – July 7, 2020
A Spy Among Friends
by Jake Kanter, Peter White, Nellie Andrea | Deadline | July 7, 2020
EXCLUSIVE: Billions’ Damian Lewis and The Affair alum Dominic West are in negotiations to headline and executive produce a limited series adaptation of bestselling Cold War espionage thriller A Spy Among Friends for Spectrum Originals and UK streamer BritBox.
The six-episode A Spy Among Friends, based on Ben Macintyre’s book, comes from former Homeland executive producer Alexander Cary, Sony Pictures Television and ITV Studios. While filming has been delayed due to COVID-19, production is expected to recommence shortly, with a tentative release planned for the fall of 2021.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on 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.
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.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on The Real Stories Behind Some of the World’s Most Intriguing Espionage Cases – Sept 27, 2019
Spy Wars: kNOw More Secrets
by Nicole Lampert | Weekend Magazine | September 27, 2019
Damian Lewis thinks he would probably make a good spy, partly because of his schooling. Some of Britain’s best known spies – and traitors – went to public school, and the Eton- educated actor isn’t surprised.
‘If you’re sent away from home at the age of eight and you’re asked to cope with that situation, I think there’s an instinctive compartmentalising of one’s emotional life,’ he says.
‘That’s very helpful to a covert life of espionage. It helps you develop a mild sociopathy, which is clearly what spies need to have. Often they’re living multiple lives, not just double ones.
‘I think I’d be a good spy, better than James Bond, who’s a rubbish spy,’ he adds, despite being one of the favourites to take over the role from Daniel Craig.
‘What’s brilliant about Bond is his recovery. Each movie is two hours of him getting himself out of a massive mistake he made quite early on.’
It’s little wonder he’s fascinated by spies. He won acclaim as soldier-turned-potential-terrorist Nick Brody in Homeland, and was cast as MI6 agent Hector in the film adaptation of John le Carré novel Our Kind Of Traitor.
But as outlandish as those stories were, they don’t compare to the twists and turns in the real spy dramas he explores in his first documentary series, Damian Lewis: Spy Wars.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Spy Wars Teaser Trailers, Air Dates, and Episode Titles/Descriptions – Aug 21, 2019
I Spy With My Little Eye…
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | August 21, 2019
UK’s History Channel has updated their website to indicate Damian Lewis: Spy Wars will air it’s first of eight episodes on Monday, October 7, 2019! The factual series will reveal the remarkable true stories behind some of the most gripping and important international spy operations of the last forty years. Packed full of espionage, surveillance, undercover work, and covert operations, the series brings forth these real events as well as the profound personal and geopolitical consequences for all involved. Utilizing innovative and highly stylized reconstructions, Spy Wars was shot on location in London, Moscow and Israel.
Be sure to visit our Gallery here for not only promo photos, but some behind the scenes photos as well!
Episode Titles/Plot Descriptions:
EPISODE 1: THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD
This is the story of Oleg Gordievsky, one of the West’s most valuable Cold War agents who risked everything to avert a third World War. Appearing to be an ambitious diplomat stationed at the Soviet embassy in Denmark, Gordievsky was actually a Russian spy and a rising star of the KGB. After a few years in Copenhagen, he was recruited by the British and posted to London by the KGB. Whilst in London, President Reagan authorized the largest NATO war game in its history: Able Archer.
From the KGB’s station in London, Gordievsky passed key intelligence to the British which many believe single-handedly pulled the world back from the brink of nuclear annihilation before being summoned by the KGB to return to the USSR immediately. Uncertain if his cover had been blown, Gordievsky was accused of being an MI6 spy. Refusing to blow his cover, he set in motion his MI6 extraction plan, leaving behind his wife and children. It would take 6 years and the collapse of the Soviet Union before his family could flee Moscow to join him. In 2007, Gordievsky was appointed ‘Companion of the Most Distinguished Order’ for services to the security of the United Kingdom by the Queen. Monday 7th October at 9pm.