Guitars, Cashmere Hoodies, and More
by Hunter Harris | Vulture | March 24, 2019
The most important question I had for Billions star Damian Lewis was this: Are Bobby Axelrod’s cashmere zip-up hoodies as soft as they look onscreen? We can talk about his Rob Ford movie and everything else later, but the hoodies must have their moment. Billions is a show about the dramatics of Wall Street’s rich and powerful — fancy restaurants, words like “devalue” and “quant” — but Axe’s hoodies signify everything that makes his character simultaneously the best and the freaking worst. He’s brash and cool, and so grossly willing to show it off just for fun. And so, I ask Lewis, does a $2,000 cashmere hoodie really feel like a $2,000 cashmere hoodie?
He repeats my question to me, just to make sure he’s heard it right, and then groans: “Oh. They’re so soft. It’s just one cashmere heaven to the next.”
The tables have turned in Billions’ fourth season — Axe is no longer butting heads with Chuck Rhodes (grumpy icon Paul Giamatti), who for three seasons has been his perma-nemesis — but Lewis still says he’s having as much fun with its dramatics as ever before. Ahead of Sunday night’s episode “Arousal Template,” we talked Axe and Chuck’s alliance, the world’s most famous Billions fan, and, of course, that cashmere.
A lot of the dynamics that were central to Billions have been inverted this season: Axe and Chuck are in cahoots. Taylor, once Axe’s prodigy, is now his nemesis. Has that been weird for you?
It’s very exciting. I think it’s also quite realistic, the way in which alliances are made and don’t always last too long. Billions is about the transactional nature of the rich and the powerful, or even modern-day living. It’s a show about the favor trading that goes on, the ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.’ If the parameters don’t exist, really, like they do for normal people, let’s do each other a favor to get me what I want, to get you what you want. You’ve got a juicy drama of alliances and betrayal ahead of you. Chuck and Bobby have set this alliance because they both need it.