Categories Billions Print Media Review

Billions Is Back, and It’s More Billions Than Ever – May 3, 2020

Season 5 Interview with Co-Creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien

by Sam Schube | GQ | May 3, 2020

If it seems like the verbal acrobatics on Billions could only have come from a kind of writerly mind-meld, that’s because they do. Co-creators and showrunners David Levien and Brian Koppelman met at 15, and have spent the intervening years precision-honing their blend of gee-whiz plotting (Ocean’s 13) and subculture deep-diving (Rounders). Billions, their turbocharged take on the Wall Street machers running the world and the law-and-order types trying to reel them in, represents the apotheosis of both. (The journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin is also credited as a creator.)

On the one side, Damian Lewis’s Bobby Axelrod, a made-it-from-nothing master of the universe with a taste for Metallica and cashmere hoodies. On the other: Paul Giamatti’s New York AG Chuck Rhoades, the rule-bending lawman with a taste—as made public last season—for BDSM. Orbiting them is a scenery-chewing bunch of character actors, joined this year by Julianna Margulies (a professor with a bestseller about the female orgasm), Frank Grillo (a he-man painter), and Corey Stoll (Mike Prince, a billionaire investor whose conscious capitalism rankles Axe). In other words: it’s all still extremely Billions.

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Categories Behind the Scenes Billions Music Podcast

Introducing ‘Behind the Billions’ – May 2, 2020

Behind the Scenes Podcast on Spotify

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | May 2, 2020

Introducing ‘Behind the Billions!’ Co-creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien give a behind-the-scenes look into Billions season five. After each episode’s airing on Showtime, the podcast will unpack the writing of the script, exclusive stories from production, the ideas behind the music cues, and much more on the Spotify app. The 12-episode podcast season will also include interviews with cast and crew members as well as bonus podcast episodes devoted to inside stories from Billions hosts: Brian Koppelman and David Levien. Spotify link here.

Categories Billions Print Media Review

Billions Returns to Old Conflicts and Alliances, While Adding New Foes – May 1, 2020

Psychological Warfare: All Smiles Through Gritted Teeth

by Brian Lowry | CNN | May 1, 2020

“Billions” has shuffled allegiances so many times it’s tough to keep track without a scorecard. But the bottom line is that Showtime’s high-stakes drama remains enormously entertaining, making its return more than welcome, even if the show’s latest creative bets feel somewhat hedged.

After the unexpected alliance between hedge-fund billionaire Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and now-New York Attorney General Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) throughout the fourth season — one of the show’s most audacious twists — the new campaign finds Axe having reabsorbed employee-turned-rival Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) and back at odds with Chuck.

Still, perhaps the most interesting flourish of the new season sees the introduction of billionaire Mike Prince (Corey Stoll), who becomes a fierce opponent of Axe’s, even if he talks a good game about giving back to society and getting along.

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Categories Billions Print Media Review

Billions Review: Money’s the Root of All the Delicious Evil – May 1, 2020

Backstabbing and Frontstabbing 

by Richard Roeper | Chicago Sun Times | May 1, 2020

Everyone is awful.

We’ve known that for quite some time about virtually all the major players (and many of the supporting ones as well) in Showtime’s addictive money-drenched drama “Billions,” but never has it been more evident than in the first four episodes of Season 5, which I screened in advance of Sunday’s season premiere.

Paul Giamatti’s ruthless attorney Chuck Rhoades; Damian Lewis’ power-mad billionaire Bobby Axelrod; Maggie Siff’s in-house psychiatrist/guru for Axelrod’s firm, Wendy Rhoades; Asia Kate Dillion’s genius analyst Taylor Mason; Jeffrey DeMunn’s well-connected power broker Charles Rhoades — they’re all out for themselves every step of the way, they’re all consumed with not only defeating but destroying their opponents, and they’re all borderline sociopathic in their respective quests. Even when someone expresses remorse or declares they’ve turned over a new leaf, it just sounds like they’ve taken the three-dimensional chess game to another level.

Continue reading Billions Review: Money’s the Root of All the Delicious Evil – May 1, 2020

Categories Billions Print Media

Billions Creators on Releasing Season 5 of the New York Drama in Uncertain Times – May 1, 2020

An Insider-y Take On A Not So Insider-y Show

by Stacey Wilson Hunt | Fortune Magazine | May 1, 2020

There’s little that Brian Koppelman and David Levien haven’t tackled in their artistic careers. From early forays in the music business (Koppelman), to novel-writing (Levien), to the ups and downs of screenwriting-in-tandem—including 1998’s Rounders and 2007’s Ocean’s Thirteen—to making one of Showtime’s most-watched drama, Billions, the New York natives have curated an almost Zen-like approach to their work: create cool, smart stuff and have a blast doing it.

But Koppelman and Levien faced the beginning of what is likely to be their most daunting challenge as storytellers when production on season five of Billons, which films on location all around New York City, was halted mid-March because of the global coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the series— which tells the ongoing saga of former U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis)—will air a truncated installment of episodes starting Sunday, May 3, as Billions’ tight-knit cast, crew, and its team of creators (which includes author Andrew Ross Sorkin) face what so many of us are confronting: nearly total uncertainty as to how and when all of this chaos will end.

To find out what fans can expect from season five’s amended rollout, Fortune spoke by phone to Koppelman and Levien on April 13 and asked whether they plan to address the global pandemic in future episodes; how they’re using Twitter to ease feelings of isolation (and raise money for coronavirus relief); and how their partnership, now curated remotely via Zoom, has offered calm at a time when they need it most.

Continue reading Billions Creators on Releasing Season 5 of the New York Drama in Uncertain Times – May 1, 2020