As Damian Lewis is preparing for a wonderful comeback to stage this spring in David Mamet’s modern classic American Buffalo… I thought it would be cool to travel back in time and visit some earlier stage work Damian did. We may start with Hamlet which Damian calls a “growing up, coming of age experience ” in his career.
Damian Lewis did his Broadway debut in Hamlet, and played Laertes to Ralph Fiennes’ Hamlet in 1995. The Almeida Theatre production was staged first at Hackney Empire in March 1995, and after its successful run in London, it came to Broadway in the summer of 1995 — OMG, yes, exactly twenty years ago! Continue reading “Throwback Thursday with Hamlet on Broadway”
More than anything, and more than any other work about terrorism, Homeland is about exploring the gray areas, between good and evil, between “warfare and terrorism”. The show is about forcing us to think about the real costs and rethink our understanding of the real victims of both war and terrorism. We meet Brody and we see what he is planning to do. And we’re encouraged to think: Okay, if this conservative white man from middle America can become someone who would blow himself and a bunch of people up, then….maybe, just maybe, those men strapping on vests all over the Middle East, or even those men flying planes into buildings, are also men who were led on a path of evil the same way Brody was, by pervasive systematic abuse? And maybe, part of the abuse on those men and children strapping on vests was perpetrated by someone you and I and our neighbors voted for? I don’t think Homeland ever sought to be an apologist for terrorism, they’re not trying to justify any of the evil. They just want to shine a thoughtful, intelligent light on it; a light radically different than any other treatment of the subject.
I loved playing Brody. I’m extremely proud of who we all created together. I think he’s a tragic hero for our time. He himself embodies a cautionary tale, going right back to the beginning, about sending young men to war and the damage it can do. – Damian Lewis
Brody is not a hero. – Damian Lewis
I’m no hero – Nicholas Brody
Someone commented on my Before Dick Winters There Was Nicholas Brody post something to the effect that the two men cannot be cast in the same light, Brody was not a hero, at least not in the same way Winters was. In a frenzy of purging the copious junk mail wordpress seems to attract, I accidentally deleted that comment before responding. Given there are such differing opinions on Brody, the response to the “Hero or No” question deserves a full post (or two). So here it be! Continue reading “Nicholas Brody was No Hero, Part One”
I want to be the unwobbling pivot at the center of an ever-revolving universe. I want to be still – Charlie Crews
Continuing the theme of Damian Lewis playing Americans, we come to Life, a series which lasted for two seasons on network TV.
Like Nicholas Brody, Charlie Crews in Life is unfairly imprisoned and, because he’s a cop, is brutalized while in prison. The series begins just as he’s released and tries to integrate back into a life he hasn’t known for 12 years. He finds that everyone he loved believed he was guilty and is lost to him: his father kept his mother from visiting until she died and his wife got remarried. While in isolation for his own protection in prison, Crews had started to question his own innocence and there are a few moments, as the series progresses, when the audience is led to question his innocence too. Also like Brody, Crews finds peace and escape from the injustices around him in a book. For Brody, it was the Quran, for Crews, it is A Path to Zen.