Note: This post was originally published on March 26, 2019.
When he’s not running a show, co-creator of Billions, Brian Koppelman hosts a podcast called The Moment. Each hour-long session is a conversation about the creative process and pivotal moments in creative careers. Koppelman talks to people in various forms and stages of their creative lives about inflection points, the moments they sensed something shifted for them in their careers. Having listened to several of these conversations in his archive, its always a treat to hear how people get to live their professional dreams, be they restaurateurs, musicians, writers or actors. Back when he first publicized the podcast, I had this twee Twitter exchange with him. Continue reading “Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis on The Moment with Brian Koppelman”
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?
Ah, the romantic comedy: A genre when presented as an evening’s viewing option has sent many an otherwise lovey-dovey couple to opposite ends of the couch. I have to say the romantic comedy has never been my first stop when Netflix surfing. Actually, it’s rarely my choice at all, unless When Harry Met Sally is on (the last great romantic comedy, IMO) or the least appreciated but my personal favorite of the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks vehicles: Joe vs. the Volcano. [The guy falls for different versions of the SAME woman; how much more romantic (and comedic) can you get?]
William Shakespeare knew a thing or two about romantic comedies. In fact, he invented the genre! The formula of boy meets girl, they run up against some obstacles, surmount said obstacles with the help of a jocular coterie of friends, and live happily ever after: That’s Shakespeare! And perhaps the most seminal of his romantic comedies is Much Ado About Nothing. The plot and characters gave rise to many adaptations and permutations. There was the beautifully hilarious big-screen adaptation in 1993 with real-life couple-at-the-time Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. More recently, in 2012, there was another lovely big-screen adaptation, this time by Joss Whedon, set in modern times but true to Shakespearean language. And between those two, in 2005, our very own Damian Lewis starred as Benedick in a BBC adaptation of the story, set in modern times with modern language, for their series Shakespeare ReTold. Continue reading “Fan Fun Movie of the Month: Much Ado About Nothing”
What to do until Billions is back on our screens? Why, imagine a couple of the lovely characters in a fan story, of course! Any time I mention fanfic to anyone who knows I like to write, I’m always greeted with a certain look and a sly “You mean like the versions of Twilight for Adults that became the Fifty Shades series?” No, I say, nothing smutty. Not only can I not write smut to save my life, I also cannot bring myself to imagine the characters I love, even when they’re nearly bearing it all on premium cable, in any of the smuttier situations common to smut. It’s too….common and a tad disrespectful, IMH puritanical O. Goes to follow then that nothing I’ve ever written in the fanfic world has ever been as popular or as potentially lucrative as the Fifty Shades stuff.
All those standard disclaimers on fanfic apply here. I love these characters a lot, but I own them not one bit. And, if it needs to be said, I earn absolutely nothing from this blog for anything I write. Nothing but readers, which to any writer really, are the real gold (albeit actual real gold is quite useful too, don’t get me wrong :)).
So, here’s an expanded version of the Billions fanfic I wrote before Season 2 began. Setting is a flashback to the time around 9/11, possibly a couple days, or maybe a week, after it happened. It’s an imagined bookend to the end of Season 2. Also, I should add, I’ve written this only because, I think, it is decidedly NOT something that’s going to happen on the show. I wrote it because someone had to go there. I figured, why not me? Enjoy!
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: