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Red Hot: The Irresistible Rise of Damian Lewis – Sept 8, 2006

Damian Lewis: The Chameleon Performer

by Liz Hoggard | The Independent | September 8, 2006

Damian Lewis is an intense chap, capable of conveying a huge range of emotions with the smallest gesture. He’s hotly tipped for an Oscar for his new film. And he’s a real gent. Just don’t call him posh, whatever you do.

“Ask him about that intense thing he does with his eyes,” a female journalist suggested when she heard I was interviewing the actor Damian Lewis. What’s striking about Lewis is how much he manages to convey by doing so very little. There is stillness about him on screen, a faraway look that can evoke anger or desire or – if you saw his rollicking performance as Benedict in BBC1’s modern-day version of Much Ado about Nothing – sheer hilarity.

The press love to brand Lewis as an arrogant posh boy. Like David Cameron, he went to Eton. But, among his generation of actors, no one does grief and repressed emotion so well. In Spielberg’s Second World War epic, Band of Brothers, he played an American soldier facing up to fear with a quiet certainty (it won him a Golden Globe nomination). He was the bewildered newlywed who doesn’t understand why his marriage is falling apart in Hearts and Bones. And in the remake of The Forsyte Saga, he did the unthinkable – making the brutal Soames sympathetic.

For several years now, 35-year-old Lewis has been a successful actor on the verge of becoming a major star. Unlike Ewan McGregor or Joseph Fiennes, his contemporaries at London’s Guildhall drama school, you might still walk past him in the street. But all that should change with the release of his new film Keane: his performance is already sparking Oscar rumours in the States.

Continue reading Red Hot: The Irresistible Rise of Damian Lewis – Sept 8, 2006

Categories An Unfinished Life Chromophobia Gallery Magazine Media Print Media The Forsyte Saga The Situation

Let’s Dance – Fall 2005

Damian Lewis at The Dorchester

by Natalie Theo | Factory Magazine | Fall Issue, 2005

Damian Lewis really wants to be Widow Twanky. Thankfully Factory has asked him to camp it up as an all-dancing James Bond hero for its shoot at the Dorchester Hotel’s London ballroom. “I went through a lot of pantomime when I was young – I mostly wanted to be Widow Twanky”. Well, as I say, thank God we are more 007 today. You see I am blushingly helping Damian Lewis into a pair of elegant black Ralph Lauren trousers, shirt and diamond studded De Beers cufflinks. We are tucked away in the dark refines of the Dorchester ballroom’s coat check cubicle.

The men’s loos are unavailable for trouser tucking. Better to be tucking him into a Ralph Lauren number rather than a figure moulding pair of panto tights. Lewis has gamely agreed to swirl six dashing young actresses dripping in De Beers diamonds and slinking about in Ralph Lauren eveningwear for the day with his very own barman, sent along on orders from Dublin courtesy of Jameson Irish Whiskey, to see him through. His lead role as Major Richard Winters in HBO’s Band of Brothers, produced and part directed by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, precedes a slew of feature films due for September and early 2006 releases: Lasse Hallstrom’s An Unfinished Life; Brides produced by Martin Scorsese; Lodge Kerrigan’s Keane; Phillip Haas’ The Situation; and Martha Fiennes Chromophobia. So I can’t quite believe Widow Twanky is the be all and end all of the ultimate hero situation.

Continue reading Let’s Dance – Fall 2005

Categories Band of Brothers Dreamcatcher Interviews Media Print Media The Forsyte Saga

Guardian Interview: Shooting Star – March 10, 2002

Shooting star

by Jay Rayner | The Guardian | 

Watching Damian Lewis leading the men of Easy Company to victory in Spielberg’s WWII epic Band of Brothers, you’d never guess he went to Eton and attended drama school with Ewan MacGregor. Now, though, he is returning to more familiar territory as the iconic Soames in The Forsyte Saga.

The middle-aged Italian waitress clearly does not recognise the actor she is shouting at or, if she does, she has had enough experience at being a sour-faced waitress not to show it. This is the second time she has asked Damian Lewis to choose what he wants for lunch and it is the second time he has asked for a few more minutes. ‘Look,’ she says, with a fearsome shrug, arms spread wide. ‘We are busy. You don’t order now, then the kitchen, it become busy. You wait too long for your food. You get cross.’ There is a convincing logic here: the small, smokey cafe in London’s St James’s is indeed already crammed with people.

Continue reading Guardian Interview: Shooting Star – March 10, 2002

Categories Band of Brothers Interviews Media Print Media

Damian Lewis Interview, Sunday Telegraph – Sept 30, 2001

Bananas and Marmalade 

by Emily Bearn | Sunday Telegraph | September 30, 2001

Damian Lewis is an Old Etonian who plays an American war hero in Spielberg’s latest epic, and dreams of being the next James Bond. Emily Bearn meets the young contender.

Damian Lewis (if the actor’s publicists in London, New York and Los Angeles are to be believed) is destined to be pretty big — he is already big enough to turn up for our interview two hours late. We have arranged to meet at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, which has been Lewis’s home for the past six months while he has been filming a new adaptation of Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga for ITV. Journalists and photographers are milling around the hotel’s palm-fronded foyer, being sporadically debriefed as to Lewis’s whereabouts by Michael, a member of his publicity team, who is directing operations from a mobile telephone. We are plied with complimentary croissants and told that the delay is attributable to Lewis’s intense filming commitments, coupled with a recent unscheduled appearance at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, where he had his appendix whipped out.

When he eventually arrives, Lewis looks calm, robust and fairly confident of the fact that he is one of the swifter-ascending stars of the small screen. He is dressed in jeans and a slightly grubby grey shirt; his orange hair is damp or fashionably slicked, and his freckles suggest he has been in the sun. He is 30, but has the sort of pleasant, negotiable looks that mean he could pass himself off as a decade older or younger. After Lewis has dispatched Michael into the Manchester drizzle to buy him bananas, we retire to a suite in which the bed has been replaced by a table bearing yet more croissants. Lewis eats two, with the rapacity of a man who has missed breakfast, pausing between bites to explain the etymology of marmalade.

We are here to discuss Band of Brothers, an American Second World War drama in which Lewis plays Major Dick Winters, the hero who led an élite US Army corps as it parachuted into France on D-Day. The ten-part series (which swallowed a budget of about £86 million and will be screened by the BBC this week) was produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and has been attacked for — as one British tabloid put it — casting an “unashamedly American slant on the Second World War.”

Continue reading Damian Lewis Interview, Sunday Telegraph – Sept 30, 2001