Damian Lewis as Bobby Axelrod: Part II

In Part I of this two part post, I attempted to convey the ways in which Damian is adding subtlety to a character that, on surface, may seem pretty black and white. In short, he’s having Bobby dole out the cruelty and megalomania in a gradient of doses while adding bits of endearing behaviors so that we don’t write him off completely as straight-up evil.

Now for some speculation on the origins of Axe’s personality.

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Damian Lewis as Bobby Axelrod: Part I

Billions Season 4 gave us a lot to talk about. Not least of which is Bobby Axelrod’s progression as a character. Join me as I look at some ways that Damian has left his unique mark on this character.

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Countdown to Homeland: Another Turn

The final season of Homeland is premiering February 9 and, I for one, am ready to watch. Think what we will about the story of Carrie Mathison post-Brody, we can all agree that Homeland was the show that had the most impact on Damian’s fame around the world and his career going forward. The show certainly had not a minor impact on us either, your friendly bloggers of all things Damian! So even if Brody is long dead and is not likely to return even as hallucination, Homeland remains one of the big topics of conversation and writing on this blog.

The first teaser for Homeland has been released, and the show had its TCA panel, where we learned a bit about the upcoming season from friendly intrepid reporter Diane Gordon. You can read all her live tweets from the Homeland event here: Showtime #TCA20: Homeland.

Recall at the end of last season we left Carrie Mathison newly released from being held captive in Russia for several months. In the teaser, we get a taste of what happened to her in those months. She was holed up with Yevgeny Gromov and he did some things: refused her medication, played with her mind, and other nefarious deeds we have yet to learn. Color me intrigued as heck that the character of Yevgeny Gromov lives on this season and will be a part of it till the end. The scenes between Claire Danes and Costa Ronin are going to be electric, I’ll bet my blogger’s salary on it. 🙂

Furthermore, from the panel discussion at TCA, we hear the tantalizing news that Carrie may or may not have been “turned.” Diane Gordon tweets:

Alex Gansa says the really big idea of the season is that Carrie Mathison steps into Brody’s shoes – she’s the one under suspicion & her memory is fragmented from her time in captivity.

See, Brody fans: As I’ve said before and always, Brody NEVER dies. At least to those of us who have imaginations. He remains alive in the show’s imagination till the very end. It all comes full circle, with Carrie now in Brody’s position, an American patriot possibly working for the enemy. Gordon tells us:

Claire Danes says the story this season fuses Carrie psychically, with Brody which felt right.

Psychic fusion? Yes, please, and thank you.

Sounds like it will be a hell of a story and bring the perfect closure to this tremendous feat of a series. And I’m not at all offended that they didn’t go with my fanfic idea for this season. 🙂 Now about a revisit to that fanfic? Here it is linked all in one place with excerpts for your reading enjoyment.

Another Turn: A Homeland Fanfic

Chapter One
The counselors would periodically share small details about where he was and who they were just for the purpose of maintaining his trust, keeping him open and talking. Eventually, Brody realized that all he learned from them had come from a script they had been given to follow. It didn’t matter, because he was free. A new man: cured.

Chapter Two
Great leap of faith they took in training a man to wrangle the information highway knowing he had been holed up in a cave through most of the internet revolution. A leap of faith for which he was now indebted to them.

Chapter Three
“Yevgeny Gromov!” Alex exclaimed, still whispering.

Brody looked to where Alex had gestured. A group of people were walking so rapidly that he didn’t see any of their faces, just arms and legs swinging down the hallway. Were they the same men he had seen in the office earlier? Hard to tell, but it was clear that most of them appeared to be men. Except for one: a petite woman with messy tangled hair, the color of corn silk, hunched over and being led by the elbow.

Chapter Four
He’d seen the same thing on the field in Iraq and Afghanistan, this knack he had for getting the guys to listen to him like he was some god. He had no idea where it came from or what to do with that kind of power. Nothing, that is, but give his guys the best of himself. In this job too, he was here to give the best of himself, the ethics of the thing never really occurring to him. Maybe those questions would come up later, but right now it was the job, that’s it. It was a mystery to Brody that most people didn’t operate the same way. Well, one person did. A firecracker wisp of a woman with corn silk hair.

Chapter Five
Brody found his way to the area designated on the map. Gromov had an entire barrack all to himself, it seemed, with hallways all around his central lair. Brody entered the northern hallway and confirmed that it was clear. He walked along the wall of the central room until he got to a window and waited there, listening. Was that music? Aretha Franklin’s Respect, at low volume at first but then turned all the way up. Brody glanced in to the window to see a tall bearded man, his back turned, dancing and singing along to the song.

Chapter Six
All the unknowns. All the things he could have known about her if only his story hadn’t taken precedence. The Turned Marine tattooed across every second of the little time they spent together. She never got to show him all of herself. The craziness surrounding him was enough to keep them both busy. She never had the chance to just be. Yet, she still managed to be so totally herself, the inside of her soul worn on the outside. Despite the subterfuge her job required, she never held any of herself back. She was trained to not show everything she was thinking, but she always let you know what she was feeling.

Chapter Seven
“I’ve missed you too,” Brody breathed. The words just barely came out. He had a hard time wrapping his head around this entire thing. Being gone for so long, and, now, finding Carrie here, of all places. He’d said goodbye so many times to so many lives. Once when he was stuck in a hole for 8 years, then when he was back but not as himself, and now after ending it all again after Iran. How many incarnations was one man allowed? Insane the way time and space just rolled up to nothing with her touch, as if the years hadn’t passed, as if they’d never said goodbye at all. “Help me. Tell me how to get you out of this place.”

Chapter Eight
“Now here,” Gromov gestured widely. “Here is where soldiers across the world can come to learn state of the art warfare. Much more sophisticated, much less messy. Why worry about taking out bodies when you can control minds? Win over the enemy from the inside out. Don’t you agree Sergeant?”

Thank you for reading! I’ll meet you all in front of your TVs and monitors for Homeland, the Final Season, starting February 9 on Showtime.

Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis in The Misanthrope

It was 2009 when Damian played the lead role of Alceste in Martin Crimp’s modernized version of Moliere’s 17th century comedy. After his appearance in The Misanthrope he was not seen on stage again until American Buffalo six years later. Dare we say, The Misanthrope marked a turning point for Damian, the last one where he was the nearly A-list actor playing against decidedly A-list’er Keira Knightley. NOW, of course, he is not nearly anything but a full-blown highly sought commodity on stage and screen. In this post, I’ll tell you a bit about the play, then, beg your indulgence as I wax philosophical about the extent to which the themes of the play translate to Damian’s own career trajectory.

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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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