Categories Homeland Print Media

Homeland Declassified: An Oral History of Never Told Tales – Jan 16, 2020

Battles, Backlash, CIA Meetings

by Michael O’Connell | Hollywood Reporter | January 16, 2019

Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Damian Lewis and the creators of the era-defining Showtime drama — now entering its eighth and final season — reveal in The Hollywood Reporter’s oral history never-told tales of a show that smashed records, captivated presidents and predicted everything from terrorist attacks to Russian election hacks.

“What keeps you up at night?” That’s the question Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa annually posed to Washington insiders before putting fingers to keyboard on a season of his Emmy-winning Showtime drama.

What began as a slick spy thriller driven by a potent sexual chemistry, courtesy of leads Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, evolved into an exposé on the greatest dangers to an America that finally had some distance from 9/11. Threats from ISIS, the surveillance state and Russian interference punctuated clandestine meetings with the intelligence community — part of a yearly writers and cast symposium in D.C. affectionately dubbed “Spy Camp.”

The series, loosely developed from an Israeli format by Gansa and longtime collaborator Howard Gordon (24), became an instant and bona fide success when it premiered in 2011 to 2.8 million viewers and unanimous critical acclaim. Boasting a murderers’ row of writers, each a showrunner at one time, the drama catapulted Showtime and studio Fox 21 to an echelon of prestige TV they previously couldn’t reach. It swept its first Emmys (with six awards total) and those first seasons had both the Obamas and Clintons soliciting screeners.

Continue reading Homeland Declassified: An Oral History of Never Told Tales – Jan 16, 2020

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 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 Audio Guest Appearances Interviews Podcast Radio

Actor Damian Lewis Explores A World ‘Of Ego And Power’ On Showtime’s ‘Billions’ – June 10, 2019

Damian on NPR’s Fresh Air

by Damianista | damian-lewis.com | June 10, 2019

Damian was Dave Davies’ (sitting for Terry Gross) guest on NPR’s acclaimed (and my personal favorite!) program Fresh Air!

“The classically-trained British actor plays a ruthless hedge-fund manager on Billions, which recently ended its fourth season. Lewis describes his character as “the embodiment of the American dream.”

You can listen what Damian has to say about Billions, Bobby Axelrod, and more. ENJOY!

TRANSCRIPT:

Continue reading Actor Damian Lewis Explores A World ‘Of Ego And Power’ On Showtime’s ‘Billions’ – June 10, 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