Written By GingersnapComments Off on 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.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on 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.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on 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.