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Blue Blood, Blue Collar: Damian Lewis’ Transformations, The New Yorker, January 18, 2016

The actor probes his characters, but his method isn’t Method. “I’m Damian Lewis, not Daniel Day-Lewis.”

 Photograph by Pari Dukovic for The New Yorker

At a corner table in the dining room of Marea, a restaurant on Central Park South, the conversation was smooth but disputatious. Three men in suits were drinking red wine and eating pasta that cost thirty-four dollars a serving. One of them was a hedge-fund manager, a famous short seller. Another was the financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin. The third man, in from London, was the actor Damian Lewis.

Sorkin had made the introduction. The hedge-fund manager and Lewis were doing most of the talking. “Does your business have a societal benefit?” Lewis asked. He wanted to know what made a hedge-fund manager more than “a paper shuffler.”

The hedge-fund manager said that he and his peers basically function as market-based regulators—that they have a financial incentive to expose wrongdoing. Sorkin had set up other audiences for Lewis with financial machers. One of them urged Lewis to consider an underperforming company with entrenched management or a sclerotic board: an activist investor, even if he came in and cut things and fired people—well, that’s capitalism.

Continue reading Blue Blood, Blue Collar: Damian Lewis’ Transformations, The New Yorker, January 18, 2016

Categories Homeland Print Media

Damian Was Third Choice to Play Homeland’s Nick Brody – Jan 12, 2016

Damian Lewis had to fend off Ryan Philippe and Patrick Wilson to play Homeland’s Nicholas Brody

by Sarah Doran – RadioTimes – January 12, 2016

Source: Showtime

Showrunner Alex Gansa reveals the British actor wasn’t top of the list of Showtime’s potential leading men for the espionage thriller.

He may now be one of TV and film’s most famous redheads but did you know Damian Lewis very nearly missed out on his role as Homeland’s Nicholas Brody?

 When casting for the US show began, Lewis wasn’t Showtime’s (the network Homeland debuted on) first choice for the role. In fact, he wasn’t even the second, despite showrunner Alex Gansa’s determination to see him step into Brody’s shoes.

“When we first brought him up, everyone was very negative about the suggestion,” Gansa told The New Yorker. Their hesitation had a lot to do with the failure of Life, a cancelled NBC police procedural drama in which the British actor had played the lead character.

“That carries a pretty big stigma,” Gansa said. “The network really wanted Ryan Phillippe; Patrick Wilson passed. I kept talking about Damian until I got a call from the head of the studio saying, ‘Look, Alex, please do not bring up Damian’s name again.’ Hanging up the phone in my office – I think we were two weeks from the start of principal photography – I was like, Are we going to cast Ryan Phillippe in this role?”

That’s right. A non-Lewis Brody very nearly happened. We know, you guys. We know.

Continue reading Damian Was Third Choice to Play Homeland’s Nick Brody – Jan 12, 2016

Categories American Buffalo Media Print Media

Damian Lewis: Red Hot, Sunday Times, April 12, 2015

Original article at the Times

Red hot

Back on the London stage after years of top TV, what could the thoughtful actor Damian Lewis possibly have to worry about?

(Francesco Guidicini)

Bryan Appleyard
April 12 2015, 1:01am Continue reading Damian Lewis: Red Hot, Sunday Times, April 12, 2015

Categories American Buffalo Band of Brothers Homeland Interviews The Misanthrope Wolf Hall

Red Hot Interview – April 11, 2015

Acting: A Leap of Faith

by Bryan Appleyard | The Sunday Times | April 11, 2015

The Sunday Times - April 12th
There’s no easy way of saying this, but the man who has just walked into the rather funereal sitting room in the West End’s Noël Coward Theatre has red hair.

It’s not carroty red, but it is indisputably red. I’m no reddist, but I still feel we need to get this out of the way — after all, he has bravely tackled this fraught subject in the past.

“People find it very difficult to be indifferent to red hair,” he once said. Emboldened, I plunge in.

“So, Damian Lewis, what is it about red hair?”

“Well, I was never bullied at school because of it. I was lucky because I was sporty, and I had status and profile within the school [Eton]. Now I get letters from children who get teased about their red hair and they ask how I managed.”

Having survived childhood unscathed, it wasn’t until he found himself working with the Royal Green Jackets on the television drama Warriors that he first endured the full force of institutional reddism in the military — “I experienced witty and scatological abuse all around, being a redhead.”

Times have changed, however; red rights are widely accepted. Maybe he is destined to be the redheads’ Martin Luther King. “The redhead stock is very high at the moment. This might be a unique moment in recent history: redheads everywhere are doing well — Prince Harry, Ed Sheeran, Julianne Moore, me, Lily Cole…”

Continue reading Red Hot Interview – April 11, 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