Categories Print Media Spy Wars

Boarding School Creates a Mild Sociopathy That’s Helpful to the Life of Espionage – Oct 4, 2019

Damian Makes His First Documentary Spy Wars With His Brother

by Lisa Campbell | iNews | October 4, 2019

Few British actors have set foot inside Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, but as the star of the American spy thriller, Homeland, Damian Lewis was granted unprecedented access as part of his research.

While he jokes that his meeting with the director of the CIA, John Brennan, is “classified”, the story demonstrates his ability to get under the skin of characters through keen observation of the tiniest details. He describes the “incredibly poker-faced field operatives who had revealed only the smallest increments of expression and emotion, until Brennan walked in and the temperature in the room rose instantaneously.”

It’s an experience that stood him in good stead for his latest project, Damian Lewis: Spy Wars, which also marks his first foray into factual television.

The eight-part series – the first to come out of Lewis’ newly-launched Rookery Productions – airs on History from Monday in the UK and showcases the true stories and remarkable characters behind some of the most important international spy operations of recent years.

“I’ve done a lot of research over my career for Homeland and a movie I made, Our Kind of Traitor, and have read my John le Carre like everyone else. I enjoy the genre and thought it was an opportunity to look behind these popular stories and find out something a bit more intimate and personal about the people themselves, their decisions and the ramifications on global politics,” he says.

Continue reading Boarding School Creates a Mild Sociopathy That’s Helpful to the Life of Espionage – Oct 4, 2019

Categories Interviews Print Media Spy Wars

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.

Continue reading Spy Wars: TV Real Interview – Oct 3, 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 Spy Wars Trailer Video

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.

Continue reading Spy Wars Teaser Trailers, Air Dates, and Episode Titles/Descriptions – Aug 21, 2019

Categories In Development/ Pre-Production Print Media Spy Wars

Spy Wars Heading To Smithsonian Channel – May 20, 2019

 Showtime and Smithsonian Institute on the Brink of Closing a Deal For Spy Wars

by Peter White | Deadline | May 20, 2019

EXCLUSIVE: Damian Lewis’ spy documentary series is heading to the Smithsonian Channel. The network, which is a joint venture between CBS Corporation’s Showtime and the Smithsonian Institute, is on the brink of closing a deal for Damian Lewis: Spy Wars.

Deadline understands that top brass are keen to keep the British actor’s latest project in the CBS Corp family. It comes after Lewis’ Billions was renewed by Showtime for a fifth season following strong numbers for the financial thriller.

The series, which is the Homeland star’s first foray into factual television, is an eight-part documentary series about spies that was originally commission by A+E Networks’ UK network History. The docu-drama will tell the true stories behind some of the most important international spy operations of the last forty years.

Continue reading Spy Wars Heading To Smithsonian Channel – May 20, 2019