When Damian Lewis was summoned to Buckingham Palace to receive his OBE — awarded for services to acting — he decided to treat himself to a new morning suit.
He hadn’t worn one since his school days at Eton, where it is the uniform, but as he would be receiving his honour from Prince William, himself an Old Etonian, he thought it would be an appropriate reminder. ‘I had it made by a Jermyn Street tailor called Favourbrook, but as I’d spent five years at Eton wearing a black morning suit, I had my new one made up in blue material,’ he says.
‘And when I met the Duke of Cambridge at the Palace, I told him: ‘I hope you don’t mind that this is navy blue, Your Royal Highness — I didn’t want you to think I was just showing up in my old school uniform.’ And, quick as a flash, he said (ever the actor, Damian tightens his jaw and drops into a perfect imitation of the clipped royal tones): ‘Well, I should think that would be a bit tight for you by now, wouldn’t it!’
‘And then he stuck the medal on my chest and said, ‘Nice to see you, Damian, we’re great fans, Catherine and I.’ And off I trotted home.
‘Now I’ve been given a gong, I feel like I have been made a school prefect, so I can’t misbehave.’
Not that the impeccably mannered and well-brought-up Lewis is likely to stray off the straight and narrow. If he has a problem, he says, it is his children realising that their father and mother, actress Helen McCrory, are, well, a bit different to other parents due to their day jobs. ‘The street posters don’t make things easy. There was one huge hoarding of me to advertise my TV thriller series Homeland near our home in London.
‘We drive the children to school and it’s only a ten-minute journey, but there’s always a jam at the same traffic light every morning — you know, that achingly frustrating 15 minutes when you’re stuck in traffic trying to travel 100 yards to get your kids to school.
‘Of course, the jam would have to be opposite this 40ft-wide poster of me that was there for about six months.
‘I kept distracting the children from it by changing the radio and talking about anything I could think of, and for three months it worked. Then one morning, my son Gulliver looked up and said: ‘Dad! There’s a huge picture of you on the wall!’ ‘
It was, he admits, the conversation he and Helen had been trying with all their might to avoid.
He says: ‘The children know what Helen and I do for a living, because they come on film sets and meet the crew. They don’t really understand what acting is, because what on earth does acting mean to a child — or to anyone, quite frankly?
‘We tell them we are storytellers because that’s something they understand, that we get paid to tell stories and that makes us very lucky. But very occasionally, one of them will look at me and say, ‘You’re famous, aren’t you Dad?’ And that’s a conversation we try to move on from, it isn’t healthy for anyone.’
It is a subject that will only become more difficult to avoid as far as Damian’s children, Manon, nine, and Gulliver, eight, are concerned.
In the past decade and a half, between being cast as the upright Richard Winters in Band Of Brothers, the grasping Soames in The Forsyte Saga, the conflicted Nicholas Brody in Homeland and, most recently, Henry VIII in Wolf Hall — ‘looking like a beautiful big bumble bee,’ he notes, affectionately — Damian has been a part of some of television’s most visible and successful series.
Now he’s about to hit the small screen again in Billions, a drama series set in the world of New York high finance, in which he will play ruthless hedge fund dealer Bobby ‘Axe’ Axelrod, who clashes with U.S. attorney Chuck Rhoades (played by Paul Giamatti) in a 12-episode battle of wits that reputedly will make Homeland look like a vicar’s tea party.
It is likely to be screened in the UK early next year.
A few more weeks to go until the US premiere of the 6-part miniseries Wolf Hall on Sunday, April 5 at 10/9c on PBS. Make sure to check out PBS’s Wolf Hall page for trailers, exclusive interviews, and more: pbs.org/wolfhall
Wolf Hall Soundtrack
Original Music composed and conducted by Debbie Wiseman and performed by The Locrian Ensemble of London
Released March 6, 2015
On its release in the UK in March, the soundtrack to Wolf Hall went straight to number one in the Classical Chart and number nine on the US Classical Chart.
- Wolf Hall
- Prophecies and Dreams
- Devil’s Spit
- Monstrous Servant
- Forgive Me
- The Scholar
- Master of Phantoms
- Anna Regina
- Still I Love Him
- The Smallest Compliment
- The Unicorn’s Horn
- Whom the Lord Loves
- Austin Friars
- Angel Wings
- Just Words
- Entirely Beloved
To sample the playlist, visit YouTube here
Soundtrack can be purchased at Amazon as streaming, MP3 or Audio CD.
Still hungry for the Wolf? Where to see your favourite Wolf Hall actors in the cinema and at the theatre in London
by OLIVIA WILLIAMS – Evening Standard – 25 February 2015
We are going to miss the drama of Wolf Hall, all whispered threats, candlelit stares and Henry VIII’s alarming mood swings. Hilary Mantel’s bewitching tale was a televisual feast but now the final episode has aired, where will we get our fix of all those fine British actors?
Luckily, many of the key Wolf Hall players will be treading the boards across London this spring. You’ll be able to experience Damian Lewis’s husky repartee and Mark Rylance’s brooding looks in the flesh. Failing that, you can head to the cinema to watch Mark Gatiss continue his sinister streak in Victor Frankenstein, or Tom Holland still having a hard time — on an 1820 whaling trip in In the Heart of the Sea.
Here’s a rundown of where you can see your favourite Wolf Hallers next.
Damian Lewis (Henry VIII)
See him in: American Buffalo, Wyndham’s Theatre, Apr 16-Jun 27
What to expect: From blue blood to blue collar as Lewis swaps his tights and codpiece for worker’s overalls in David Mamet’s 1970s drama. He’s dusting off his Homeland-perfected American accent to play a small-time Chicago crook planning a heist. There won’t be quite the wheeler-dealing of Henry’s court, but expect betrayal and dark comedy in Lewis’s first West End performance since he starred in The Misanthrope with Keira Knightley in 2009.
More info: americanbuffalotheplay.com
Read the rest of the original article at The Evening Standard