Categories Helen Interviews Magazine Print Media Spy Wars

Radio Times Magazine Interview – Oct 2, 2019

Could the Next James Bond Be Ginger? The Famous Redhead Rules Himself Out

by Kristy Lang | Radio Times Magazine | Issue: October 5-11, 2019

In a five-star hotel suite high above the City of London, Damian Lewis and I have a ginger bonding moment. As a fellow redhead, I’ve long admired his rise through the acting world. Not many gingers get leading-man status, but after starring in series such as Band of Brothers, Homeland and Billions, Lewis is big in American.

We’re meeting to discuss his first venture into the world of documentaries, fronting and producing a series about spies on the History channel.

Lewis, now 48, was born in London but was sent to boarding school at a young age, which, he thinks, would make him a very good spy.

“If you are sent away from your family at the age of eight, it gives you a rigor, a dissociative quality that is extremely useful for spies because they have to be able to shut down parts of their emotional life. That’s why the British secret services actively recruited public schoolboys. Guy Burgess is the most extreme example of that. He was flamboyant, charming and mostly drunk – how he didn’t reveal what he was doing is a mystery to me.”

Continue reading Radio Times Magazine Interview – Oct 2, 2019

Categories Print Media Spy Wars

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.

Continue reading The Real Stories Behind Some of the World’s Most Intriguing Espionage Cases – Sept 27, 2019

Categories Billions Interviews Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Print Media

Damian Lewis Gets His Movie Star Moment – Apr 17, 2019

The Billions Star Tells Playboy About Wealth, Mixed Morals and Playing Steve McQueen For Tarantino

by Daniel Barna | Playboy | April 16, 2019

Damian Lewis is not American, but he plays one on TV. In fact, he’s played many. Since breaking out as the gutsy U.S. soldier Dick Winters in Steven Spielberg’s sprawling World War II miniseries Band of Brothers, the London native has almost exclusively built his career on exploring this country’s rich history of heroes and villains. After the singularly heroic Winters, Lewis muddied the moral waters with Homeland’s Nicholas Brody, another Army man whose allegiances were tested after returning home from an extended stint as a prisoner of al-Qaeda.

Showtime had originally planned to kill Sgt. Brody off in season one, but Lewis’ role as the POW-turned-terrorist became so integral to the show’s DNA that the network decided to keep him around until season three, no matter how many rules of logic they needed to bend along the way. The performance earned Lewis an Emmy and a Golden Globe, and made him one of television’s biggest stars. It also showcased Lewis’ preternatural ability to play men steeped in moral ambiguity.

So when it came time to cast the lead for its glossy new prestige drama set in the high-stakes world of hedge funds, the network didn’t flinch. Now in its fourth season, Billions stars Lewis as Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, a self-made Wall St. billionaire with the hubris of Kanye West and the ruthlessness of Vladimir Putin. The show, which pits Axelrod against Paul Giamatti’s U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades, has become an obsession for Wall Streeters and wealthy athletes like Kevin Durant (who made a cameo in season three), who identify with its depiction of the luxurious kind of lifestyle that comes with being obscenely rich.

But as Lewis tells PlayboyBillions is about more than very fast cars and really big boats. Lewis believes that at its core, Billions is a story about the intersection of money and power, which is especially timely given that the wealth gap in America is wider than it’s ever been before. “There’s no question that some of these billionaires operate like nation states. They have the ears of prime ministers and presidents around the world, and they influence policy,” he says. “It’s a problem that the gap between the wealthy and the poor has increased, when the political project for the last 20 to 30 years has been to reduce that gap. I’ve got no problem with individuals amassing enormous amounts of wealth. The critical questions are, How did they make it, and how do they use it?

Continue reading Damian Lewis Gets His Movie Star Moment – Apr 17, 2019

Categories Billions Helen Interviews Personal and Family Life Print Media

Damian Lewis and His Wife Helen McCrory Crack the US Showbiz Lifestyle – April 8, 2019

Ping-Pong, Dressing in Drag, and More Details About Those Guitars!

by Gabrielle Donnelly | Express | April 8, 2019

BOBBY AXELROD, the hedge fund manager at the centre of the financial drama Billions, is brutal, thuggish, ruthless and dangerously sexy. In other words, he’s a complete animal – or not, depending upon which side of the Atlantic you live. According to Damian Lewis, who plays Axelrod, he has noticed a marked difference between the reaction of American audiences to his character and the British.

“I think we can all agree that Bobby is corrupt,” he laughs now, affectionately, of the Billions character, Bobby Axelrod.

“He’s an old-school scrapper, a gangster, an alley cat: his motto is, ‘Why use a scalpel when you can use a sledge hammer?’

“But on the other hand, it turns out that in some ways he’s also quite progressive and quite liberal in his political views.

“That’s what makes him fun. It’s interesting to me that when I’m walking down the street in New York and someone recognizes me, they’ll go, ‘Yeah! Bobby Axelrod!’ ‘Yeah, love you, man!’ But when it happens in England, people go, ‘Oh. Bobby Axelrod. You’re a real ****hole!’

“I’m not quite sure exactly what that says about both places but it says something!”

Lewis, 48, knows a bit about both England and New York these days, since he spends his time commuting between New York, where the series is shot, and London where he lives with his wife, actress Helen McCrory, and their two children, Manon, 12, and Gulliver, 11.

“We work it out,” he shrugs of his ever-travelling schedule.

“We actors are all gypsies and we all have to travel for work.

“I have friends who have bought a house in LA and been very excited – It’s great! I’ve moved the whole family to LA and it’s going to be so good! No more travelling!’

“And then they find they get three years of work in Toronto or Vancouver or even back in London! We just muddle through somehow.”

He admits that, constant jet lag and the proceeds of Billions and other series such as Homeland, Band Of Brothers and Wolf Hall have all helped make life pretty comfortable for the Lewis household.

Continue reading Damian Lewis and His Wife Helen McCrory Crack the US Showbiz Lifestyle – April 8, 2019

Categories Billions Interviews Print Media

Billions Star Damian Lewis on What a $2,000 Cashmere Hoodie Feels Like – March 24, 2019

Guitars, Cashmere Hoodies, and More

by Hunter Harris | Vulture | March 24, 2019

The most important question I had for Billions star Damian Lewis was this: Are Bobby Axelrod’s cashmere zip-up hoodies as soft as they look onscreen? We can talk about his Rob Ford movie and everything else later, but the hoodies must have their moment. Billions is a show about the dramatics of Wall Street’s rich and powerful — fancy restaurants, words like “devalue” and “quant” — but Axe’s hoodies signify everything that makes his character simultaneously the best and the freaking worst. He’s brash and cool, and so grossly willing to show it off just for fun. And so, I ask Lewis, does a $2,000 cashmere hoodie really feel like a $2,000 cashmere hoodie?

He repeats my question to me, just to make sure he’s heard it right, and then groans: “Oh. They’re so soft. It’s just one cashmere heaven to the next.”

The tables have turned in Billions’ fourth season — Axe is no longer butting heads with Chuck Rhodes (grumpy icon Paul Giamatti), who for three seasons has been his perma-nemesis — but Lewis still says he’s having as much fun with its dramatics as ever before. Ahead of Sunday night’s episode “Arousal Template,” we talked Axe and Chuck’s alliance, the world’s most famous Billions fan, and, of course, that cashmere.

A lot of the dynamics that were central to Billions have been inverted this season: Axe and Chuck are in cahoots. Taylor, once Axe’s prodigy, is now his nemesis. Has that been weird for you?
It’s very exciting. I think it’s also quite realistic, the way in which alliances are made and don’t always last too long. Billions is about the transactional nature of the rich and the powerful, or even modern-day living. It’s a show about the favor trading that goes on, the ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.’ If the parameters don’t exist, really, like they do for normal people, let’s do each other a favor to get me what I want, to get you what you want. You’ve got a juicy drama of alliances and betrayal ahead of you. Chuck and Bobby have set this alliance because they both need it.

Continue reading Billions Star Damian Lewis on What a $2,000 Cashmere Hoodie Feels Like – March 24, 2019