The Cast Thought They’d Struck Gold Until They Realized Spielberg Wanted Them to Go Full ‘Method’
by Tom Nicholson | The Telegraph | September 9, 2021
Damian Lewis takes aim in the award-winning series, Band of Brothers. CREDIT: Alamy
Damian Lewis shrieked into a pillow and sobbed. It was 8am. Thinking he’d nailed his final audition with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks for Band of Brothers’ hero Major Dick Winters, the actor had gone out to celebrate and collapsed into bed at 5am. Now it turned out that Spielberg and Hanks wanted another chat – and he was in no shape to face them.
“The biggest meeting of my life, and I’ve blown it,” he wrote in a diary soon after (an excerpt of which he published on his website in 2018). “I’ve had three hours’ sleep and I’m still drunk. By midday, I’ve had three cold showers, five coffees and stubbed my toe a lot. I walk into the office sweating heavily and shaking.”
Fortunately, Spielberg had seen Lewis in Hamlet on Broadway, playing Laertes. The actor clung to this scrap until Spielberg and Hanks began to peel away. “Steven’s off to watch his kid play soccer,” Lewis later wrote. “I want to tell him it’s called ‘football’. Probably not the best time, though. Tom has to go to buy a Christmas tree with his daughter. They leave.”