We can’t be more thrilled about having kicked off our Fan Stories Series last week with Lady Trader’s lovely story. The response to our call has been amazing and all stories we have received are personal, special and extremely heartfelt. So please stay with us and enjoy a long-running fan stories party on the blog and in case you are still interested in sending us your story but have not done so yet, please do, we would love to have you on board!
Today it’s my fan story bits and pieces of which you may have already read earlier but it has been fun to bring it all together in a single post. Besides, the timing is perfect because this week marks the fourth anniversary of me getting out of the closet about my new screen crush with the following Facebook post just a day after my birthday! 😀
SCREEN CRUSH ALERT
As I am a year older today and not wiser in any way, I feel the urge to acknowledge the end of an era, an important one, in my life… Well, after some careful self-deliberation, I’ve finally come to resolve my stormy celebrity crush life. It’s now time to make it official for all interested parties!
Dear Kevin, Costner that is, it’s been a great ride for the last 20+ years since Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and of course, the Bodyguard. But last time I checked you were playing Superman’s dad… it’s a bit too much… and not just that… you know, that red-haired Brit came along so unexpectedly and turned things upside down. I’m really sorry but it’s over between us.
My friends were truly stunned with their comments varying from “I never thought this would happen” (ANSWER: Me, either!) to “I am claiming Kevin Costner now that you are releasing him” (ANSWER: He’s all yours, hun!) to “Wow, congratulations, Damian!” (ANSWER: Yes, I’m sure, he’s so proud :D) to “Man, these two awfully look alike, Damian can play Kevin’s son.” (ANSWER: Really? I now feel bad for Kevin, let’s make him the older brother.)
So… what happened?
I vividly remember the evening we met. I was in my living room. He was on TV. And the first words I said to him were not kind. I was watching the Primetime Emmy Awards and rooting for Jon Hamm (Don Draper, anyone?) to win the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Me: “Come on, Jon, come on!”
Julianna Marguiles: “…and the Emmy goes to… Damian Lewis!”
Me: “Who the hell is Damian Lewis?”
Damian Lewis came on stage to receive his Emmy. And, in contrast to most people, the first thing I learnt about him was he was, in his own words, “one of those pesky Brits.” 😀
We love good TV in my household but we have busy schedules so we are quite picky about what to binge and usually go with shows “approved” with awards. So now that Homeland swept the Emmy Awards, we knew what to binge next and we also found out they were filming in Charlotte, North Carolina, two and a half hours from our house. It was our local TV show for God’s sake!
To tell you the truth, I heard about Homeland before the Emmy buzz but I was not very interested. I even remember seeing the series poster and saying to myself: “I like Claire Danes but who is that guy in the uniform?” Oh yes, I did say that and left it there.
The main reason for my apathy was that I knew Homeland was being made by the guys that made 24, a show that I saw in its entirety and actually enjoyed; but honestly, I did not want to see another 24. I had been there, I had done that.
Man, was I wrong!
Homeland turned out to be quite different from 24 in its approach to issues like national security and terrorism. It had the right dose of ambiguity to portray a much more grayer picture of the world accompanied with the thriller aspect that kept you at the edge of your seat all the time.
But my infatuation with Brody was not instant. He grew on me. I was intrigued by Brody and Carrie in the rain but then I was scandalized by the car sex before the polygraph test. They ultimately stole my heart with The Weekend.
“I just want to live here for a second.”
I melted. Yes, as my mom loves to constantly remind me, Homeland is not a love story, but I could not help fall in love with the possibility of impossible love that Brody and Carrie found in each other.
When we were done with Season 1, we were addicted and needed to see Season 2 right away. Alas, it was only available on Showtime and we did not even have cable! Me being me, I did research online and found this website in Australia selling Homeland Season 2 DVD. Guess what? What we received in the mail a few weeks later was a very professionally packaged HD recording from Showtime mailed from China! 😀 While what they do is obviously not lawful, I am still grateful to them for providing me with Season 2 DVD and feeding my addiction just right! And as a tribute to my infamous Season 2 DVD, I give you the back cover. Let me know if you can make any sense of the storyline 😀
If it was The Weekend that sealed the deal for me about Brody, it was Q&A that sealed the deal about Damian Lewis. The interrogation scene. I had never seen an actor being able to say all there is to say in silence. My jaw dropped. WOW.
Let me put it in Carrie’s words:
“That’s the Brody I fell in love with.”
And I started finding myself googling Damian Lewis. Like every day. But there was a little problem: Kevin. Kevin Costner who had been my huge screen crush for 20+ years. Believe me, if you ask me to describe myself with one adjective, I’d say “loyal.” I am LOYAL. I have always been loyal to my family, my friends, my teams, my TV shows, and in particular to my screen crushes. I have always been monogamous there. So, there came the agony. I pondered this over and over and over… and finally decided to take the ultimate test!
The test was to sit down and watch The Bodyguard! I LOVED the movie in college, watched it 8 times in the movie theater, and so many more times on VHS and then on DVD over the years. Yes, I know, it is not a great movie, but it was MY movie. So, I sat down and watched The Bodyguard. And… I did not feel anything even when Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston’s character) ran to Frank Farmer’s (Kevin Costner’s character) arms at the end.
I now had to admit it to myself. It was the end of an era!
The agony ended on a cold January night, on my birthday actually, when I came out to my husband.
Me: “Ok. I am coming out of the closet. I am so over with Kevin. Damian Lewis is my new screen crush.”
Lewisto: “Wow, I never thought this day would come. “
He still calls Kevin “your ex.”
Then, of course, I had my friends who had bore with me about Kevin all those years – especially the ones whom I dragged to the movie theater with me to see his LONG movies (I don’t think Kevin ever made movies under 2 and a half hours in 1990s!) that I had to come out to. So I made the Facebook announcement I started this post with 😀
Fast forward to Homeland Season 3 Finale.
I dreaded that day coming for months. I knew it… I didn’t really know it, but I saw it coming, and I told everybody but nobody believed me! My friends said: “Oh, no, they will never kill Brody!” And, in particular, Lewisto said: “They will never kill the chicken that lays the golden egg. It would be very stupid.” While the critics rolled the drums louder and louder that Brody should have been gone long ago, we just repeated the conversations above until… the darkest TV moment finally arrived!
Brody: “Carrie, it’s over.”
I was crying already. When the guards brought Brody to the noose, I ran to the bathroom and did not come back until that horrific scene was over. There still exists a few minutes of Homeland I have not seen and will never see.
I LOVED Nicholas Brody. He is, by far, my all-time favorite fictional character. A character that could get close in terms of the love I have for is Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities. Now that I am thinking about it, it is quite incredible both characters meet their ends in similarly heart-breaking circumstances and Brody’s last thoughts could well be very similar to Carton’s last words: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
Brody needed redemption. I needed closure. So I sat down and wrote a pretty raw and emotional piece titled Lamenting Nicholas Brody just to get it out of my chest. A lovely friend of mine and I made a tribute video for Brody. I watched Band of Brothers, The Forsyte Saga, Colditz, Life, Brides, Keane, The Baker and other work and probably read all the interviews Damian Lewis gave in the last decade that were available online. I visited Brody’s house in Charlotte.
And, oh yeah, I flew all the way to the UK for Cheltenham Literature Festival to see the actor who is to blame for all the craziness I found myself in read wonderful love poems with his beautiful and talented wife and got to meet him, too 😀
While the closure I was looking for never came, I slowly but surely became a walking Damian Lewis encyclopedia. And, at some point, it just came to me: What if I started a blog about Damian Lewis and his wonderful work and shared it with my fellow fans?
If someone had told me, say, 10 years ago, I would start a fan blog, I would laugh. LOUDLY. Not because I did not know Damian Lewis back then, and I did not, but I would not start a fan blog for anyone for the life of me since I would not be able deal with the tease I would receive in case my circles found about it: “She has an academic career, and she is married, and what is this nonsense about being a fan?” Yes, I am a professor, and yes, I am married, and very happily so. But I am also a fan. And when I am a fan, I cannot help being a super fan. But, you know, we sometimes need to act different than who we really are so we are “accepted” and I admit I did it for years. And I was good at it, too, until Nicholas Brody came along unexpectedly and turned everything upside down. And this newfound love, I believe, coupled with turning 40 and craving for a “second act” in life made the impossible possible. I decided to pursue a dream that turned into one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had thanks to my brilliant partners, wonderful fellow fans and Damian’s kindness. I feel very lucky.