Life with Charlie Crews Redux

Apart from being spotted as Bobby Axelrod on Billions Season 4 set, Damian is mostly just being himself these days, spending the weeks working in New York and jetting back to London on his off days to be with the family. So why not revisit a character that Damian has said is the one role that was most like him in real life? The thinking man with a sunny disposition: Charlie Crews. Here’s my visit with Life.

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A Lesson in Rhetoric: Damian Lewis as Antony

To be filed in the category of “This is a guy who makes you want to go back to school”, we learned and reported (on our lovely sister site damian-lewis.com) that Damian’s version of Antony’s funeral speech from Julius Caesar, for The Guardian’s video series Shakespeare Solos, was featured in a seminar on rhetoric. This wasn’t an avenue for literary criticism or drama theory, but a newsletter on effective public speaking.

How is speaking any different from writing and reading, you may wonder? Well, there are components to classical rhetoric, when dissected, can show you what makes one speech different from another. Such an analysis would reach your brain (or at least attempt to). Alternatively, we can talk about how a speech makes you feel. Granted we’re not seeing much great oratory from our current elder statesmen, so examples are few and far between. But, there was a time, wasn’t there? In our not too distant history, when a leader spoke, it did a heart good to hear, didn’t it?

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Anniversary of Bastogne

battle of the bulge, bastogne, band of brothers
Source: http://yalebooksblog.co.uk/2014/12/22/held-bastogne-2-americans-strike-back/

This week marks the 74th anniversary of the Siege at Bastogne, a pivotal confrontation in Battle of the Bulge, which saw the Allied forces assert their most courageous and bloody defense against the last big push by Nazi forces in WWII.

The Bastogne episode of Band of Brothers was arguably the most emotionally intense and beautifully filmed of the series. It was like watching a dream sequence through a filter of constant snow, a bitter cold that you could almost feel in your bones as you’re watching. Like an opera of bodies, bent over, running for cover, crouching near trees, or frozen solid to the ground. You could watch all the action without sound and still feel it viscerally.

Did anyone see the new Star Wars this weekend? The sight of the salt planet with the blood red soil under the thin layer of salt brought immediately to this viewer’s mind the red against white of the smoke grenades the soldiers in Band of Brothers set off to obscure their positions from the Germans. Such a visually poignant and memorable cinematic effect.

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NotLinda and JaniaJania Talk Brody and Carrie

No question that in this spell of not seeing Damian on screen, I’ve been phoning it in a bit on this blog. (But, hey, what else is writing for the internet but phoning it in … literally?) During these “dry spells” as we like to call them, there always seems to be room to keep talking about Brody. So here we are, sharing a bit of the exchange between me and NotLinda in the comments on my “Was it Love” series.

You know what it was about these exchanges that made them particularly special to me? The fact that I learned something new and that my mind was changed a bit. Frankly I went into Homeland from Day One as a fan of Claire Danes. The guy playing against her was a new face to me, as he was to a lot of us. Of course that new face drew me in, marked his place in the Homeland world and all the various worlds he ever inhabited and will inhabit…grabbed a hold of all attention, never to let it go ever again. Still, I was always willing to talk for days about Carrie, and not so much about Brody, who, as I’ve always said and thought, was a dead man walking.

Exchanges with NotLinda were the first time, it pains me to say, that I saw more in Brody than a poor lost soul. I loved him, who didn’t, but, still, I knew he was gone before he ever even got here. NotLinda saw some light there though. Not necessarily hope, but, definitely some light. And I’m grateful for her showing me some of that light too! Continue reading “NotLinda and JaniaJania Talk Brody and Carrie”

Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis in A Touch of Frost

Before he hit the big time in cable TV, Damian did some smaller, lesser known roles in British television. The role of Adam Weston in a feature-length episode of mystery drama Touch of Frost may not be a role that Damian is particularly proud of, given how disdainfully he spoke of it at the NY Times Talk in May 2014.

Nonetheless, I’d say the role begs remembering, if, for nothing else, to give us a picture of Damian at 25. According to Damian, roles such as this one were the few available to British actors in television in 1996. It was either Merchant-Ivory-esque period drama or stories of the struggles of the underclass left in the wake of Thatcherism, both “classes” of roles Damian would have been uniquely qualified to play, but only later. First, he had to build up a resume with things like Touch of Frost. So here’s Damian at 25, a Shakespearean trained thespian and, they ask him to get down to his skivvies. Okay, he’s still doing parts that get him into his skivvies some 20 years later, but, hey, who’s counting. As Bobby Axelrod would say:

Those who can, do.

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