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”
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.
On Tuesday, last week, it finally happened: Damian sat down with Kopp to talk shop. You can listen to this episode of The Momentwherever you listen to podcasts. (Links below)
It is a truth universally acknowledged (at least on these pages) that, with Damian, there is more than what meets the eye. Likewise, there’s more to be said than what you hear, especially when interviews go deep like this one did. I wrote about another longer interview on the subject of creativity: SAG-AFTRA. This podcast covered similar ground, but touched on some things we’d never heard before. So, here’s a bit of reading between the lines of some highlights from The Moment.
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:
Taking inspiration from Vicky’s fun retelling of walking in the footsteps of Milo Shakespeare, here’s me walking in some of the footsteps taken by Damian in his home town. Enjoy!
Gotta love it when a passing thought from one post leads to an entire new fully-fleshed-out post. I had remarked, during my two-week tour in London, I was reminded often of places I’d seen Damian in images and film. In particular, when I was walking from Shakespeare’s Globe west towards Blackfriars Bridge along the Thames Path I looked down to the river and saw the moss covered walls where Damian and Helen leaned and loafed for a photoshoot, as well as the pier under which Hector made a phone call in Our Kind of Traitor.
That bit of Proustian mind-wandering lead Damianista to the thought, “Hey, why not do a post where we follow along in Damian’s footsteps throughout London?” “Isn’t that a bit stalkery?” I worried. “Nah,” we both concluded. Happily, Damian knows we are the most harmless variety of stalkers he could ever have. So, here it is, a catalog of all the places and sites where we “saw” Damian, characters he’s played, and stories he’s been a part of in his beloved home town.