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 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 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 Damian Tells of His New Docudrama Series Spy Wars and His Take on Ian Fleming’s Hero – Sept 21, 2019
The World of Espionage: Traitor or Hero?
by Dalya Alberge | The Guardian | September 21, 2019
His award-winning performances have included the hit espionage drama series Homeland and he is among actors tipped to take over from Daniel Craig as James Bond. Now Damian Lewis has taken on his first role in a television docudrama about spies, whom he describes as “often quite grubby and banal”, a world away from the glamour of 007.
The Hollywood star presents and produces the eight-part show about some of the most significant espionage operations of the last 40 years. The series features undercover agents – some still identified only by their code names – who were persuaded to tell their stories for the first time.
“I find the different reasons for turning traitor or being a hero, depending on your view, are often quite grubby and banal. I’m interested [in] the motives of these spies. That’s the series we’ve tried to make,” Lewis said.