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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

Categories Billions Homeland Interviews Media Print Media Wolf Hall

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 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 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

Why the BBC’s Unmissable Wolf Hall Could Be the Greatest Period Drama Ever Made – Jan 15, 2015

Why the BBC’s Unmissable Wolf Hall Could Be the Greatest Period Drama Ever Made

by Christopher Stevens – The Daily Mail – 15 January 2015

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Should you have plans for Wednesday night, cancel them now. With its brilliant cast, sumptuous settings and jaw-dropping attention to detail, Wolf Hall — the BBC2 adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning Tudor novels — is the TV event of the year and must not be missed.

Of course, Henry VIII has been no stranger to our screens. The most notorious monarch in British history is also its an enduring TV star: the story of his six marriages as he strived for a male heir has gripped audiences again and again.

But Wolf Hall, a breathtaking series that uncovers the ferocious political battles at the heart of his court, may be his most magnificent portrayal yet.

Anne Boleyn schemes to be queen, the king dismantles the all-powerful monasteries and England’s enemies circle, waiting to destroy the nation.

To tell the story on such an epic scale requires a stellar cast . . . and Wolf Hall has it, headed by Homeland’s Damian Lewis as the king.

Continue reading Why the BBC’s Unmissable Wolf Hall Could Be the Greatest Period Drama Ever Made – Jan 15, 2015

Categories Print Media Wolf Hall

Damian Reveals Why He Didn’t Fatten Up for Henry VIII – Jan 12, 2015

Homeland star Damian Lewis reveals why he didn’t fatten up for upcoming BBC Tudor drama 

by Nicola Agius – DailyMail – January 12, 2015

 

When the new BBC drama Wolf Hall starts in two weeks’ time, audiences may have a slight issue with the show’s leading man.

Damian Lewis, who plays Henry VIII in the Tudor drama series, appears to be in much better shape than the historic royal ever was, making his portrayal potentially somewhat unrealistic.

However, during an interviewin this weeks Radio Times, the Homeland revealed that there actually wasn’t any need for him to fatten up for the role.

‘The truth is, though it might be an odd thing to mention, Henry had a 32 inch waist – and he remained that way for quite some time,’ the star explained.

‘He was the top sportsman in his court!’

Speaking to Mail On Sunday’s Event magazine about the challenge of portraying such a historic figure, the actor revealed that a road traffic accident he was involved in during his twenties inspired his performance.

According to Lewis, the royal turned from a charismatic prince to an obese tyrant after a jousting accident in 1536. Reflecting on the devastating incident, the actor explained that the transformation somewhat mirrored his own life.

Continue reading Damian Reveals Why He Didn’t Fatten Up for Henry VIII – Jan 12, 2015

Categories Behind the Scenes Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall: Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Hilary Mantel Adaptation with Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance – Jan 10, 2015

Wolf Hall: Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Hilary Mantel Adaptation with Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance

The BBC’s star-studded new tale of Tudor intrigue, Wolf Hall, is set to be one of the television events of the year. Ahead of the series, Gaby Wood joined the cast on set.

by Gabby Wood – The Telegraph – 10 January 2015

Stand by for a take, please. And we’re turning. Quiet, please. And action.’ Live trumpets sound at the entrance to Bristol Cathedral, before the heavy doors open to reveal Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn, silhouetted against the sunlight. Guards in red capes and gold sculpted breastplates frame her as she begins her slow approach down the blue-carpeted aisle towards the altar, her stiff silk train carried by ladies-in-waiting, the bulging belly that will one day be Elizabeth I played by a neat rounded cushion. She proceeds towards the bottom right-hand corner of the shot until she is out of focus. ‘Cut there!’

Damian Lewis, who plays the lesser character of Henry VIII in the adaptation. ‘He comes on occasionally, dazzles, and going away again,’ he says. PHOTO: Ed Miller

On the monitor, a clapperboard marks the take, and a flurry of activity ensues: a blur of taffeta dresses, the back of the director Peter Kosminsky’s head. The shot is replayed, silently. The long blue carpet is moved fractionally to the left. They start again. ‘Stand by for a take, please.’

It is July 3 2014 and Bristol Cathedral is doubling for Westminster Abbey in the BBC’s six-part drama Wolf Hall. Based on both of Hilary Mantel’s novels about the life of Thomas Cromwell – Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies – Kosminsky’s evocative and dazzlingly precise adaptation stars some of Britain’s very best actors and features many of its finest buildings, and is destined to be one of the most talked-about series on television this year.

Continue reading Wolf Hall: Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Hilary Mantel Adaptation with Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance – Jan 10, 2015

Categories Print Media Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall: Bringing the Intrigue of the Tudor Court to Life – Jan 9, 2015

Wolf Hall: Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance on bringing the intrigue of the Tudor court to life

by Gerard Gilbert – The Independent – January 9, 2015

Source: BBC

 

BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novels begins this month. It’s only early January but it seems that we might already have the best new British drama of 2015 about to air, although some readers may need to suppress a yawn when it’s added that this is a BBC costume drama led by a great Shakespearian actor. Safe as houses?

Not so. Writer Peter Straughan and director Peter Kosminsky’s engrossing adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, starring Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Damian Lewis as King Henry VIII, reinvigorates a genre grown comfortable in its award-winning ways, shaking it up in a manner not seen since I Claudius in the 1970s.

Continue reading Wolf Hall: Bringing the Intrigue of the Tudor Court to Life – Jan 9, 2015