How Keane gave us Brody and How Brody gave us Axe *UPDATED*


I am sure that, by now, you have got to know me quite well. Yes, I’m a little bit (ok, ok more than a little bit) obsessed with Brody… All roads do not lead to Rome, they all lead to… yes, Bravo, to Brody!

Now, I love William Keane, too. I LOVE him.


Did you know that if there had been no William Keane, there would have been no Nicholas Brody? I mean there would have been some Brody in Homeland, but not our Brody! Can you imagine?

source: showtime
source: showtime

I know… You cannot! So… it’s critical for us to know how William Keane gave us OUR Brody 🙂

Damian Lewis tells in an interview with Men’s Journal that when Homeland co-creator Alex Gansa offered his name for the part of Nicholas Brody, Showtime executives said NO.

“The Showtime executives vowed Damian Lewis would never play Brody. Back in 2010, Danes had already been cast as the female lead. But finding her foil was proving difficult. ‘It was really hard because you needed an actor who could play a cipher in the first few episodes,’ says ‘Homeland co-creator Alex Gansa. ‘Actors always want to make a choice: My guy is a bad guy; my guy is a good guy. I really thought Damian could pull off not going either way.’

But the studio didn’t agree. Gansa went back to work and found a guy, but Danes exercised her veto power. So he went back to the studio with Lewis’ name again. Their reaction was not positive. ‘They told me, ‘I never want to hear that name again; Damian Lewis is a dead issue,'” says Gansa, chuckling. The show was in danger of being stillborn when Michael Cuesta – director of the show’s pilot episode – told Gansa about a barely seen 2004 indie film starring Lewis.


The film is called ‘Keane,’ and it follows Lewis in some state of psychotic breakdown as he wanders around Port Authority in NYC looking for a lost daughter who may or may not exist. It’s 90 minutes of one of the most harrowing films I’ve ever seen.”

[Damianista’s side note: In case you have not seen Keane yet, here is the trailer and both JaniaJania and I blogged about the movie, too, here and here. I also blogged about the making of Keane.]

“Fortunately for Lewis, Keane was available for streaming immediately on Netflix. ‘I can guarantee you that if it wasn’t streamable, I wouldn’t have watched it,’ says Gansa. ‘We got it to the studio, and the network watched it that evening.’

Keane changed everyone’s mind. Only Lewis needed convincing.”

And that is SOME STORY as well…

Damian Lewis tells Esquire: ”

“I was filming in Manchester in December in that unbelievable snow we had three years ago… I was stuck in my hotel with them saying, ‘We need a decision’. And I couldn’t get hold of [his wife] Helen.

Lewis had read one episode. As is the way of these things, he was expected to make a decision to move back to LA. He called his agent back, though an hour later than agreed.

“I said, ‘I think I’m going to say ‘yes’,” he recalls. “He went, ‘What? Really? What do you mean ‘yes’? I’ve passed’. And I went, ‘What? No, you haven’t passed. I’ve just been through the wringer with Helen trying to work out whether we should do this or not, as a family’.”

Lewis’ deal was signed on 15 December 2010. The pilot started shooting on January 3. The casting directors didn’t even get to see him read with Danes.”

… And the rest is history!


Damian Lewis brought us one of the most complex characters that we have ever seen on TV, received an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his fantastic portrayal of Nicholas Brody, made not just us, Homeland fans, but also Showtime executives fall in love with him… that after leaving Homeland, Damian returned to Showtime for Billions.


Damian tells NPR’s Marketplace that he had no plans on doing another Showtime drama soon after he left Homeland.

“I figured it might be a way to sort of go out on top because it [‘Homeland’] was such fun and so well regarded and smart.”

But then he reads the script for Billions pilot and is hooked right away.

“I suppose in the same way ‘Homeland’ was able to dovetail with hard news, contemporary news, this has the ability to do the same thing- borrow from the headlines or not, but the parallels are there to be drawn and they’re fun to draw as the season goes on.”

It seems show creators were looking forward to working with Damian for a long time, too! PressTelegram reports this story that Billions co-creator Brian Koppelman has shared with them:

“Koppelman tells a story about how years ago he was sitting in an agency in New York with Levien when they saw Lewis, who was then starring in HBO’s “Band of Brothers,” walk by. “Dave turned to me and said, ‘Someday we are going to work with that guy.” He’s the best actor.’ ”

Can it get better than that?


And, Showtime boss David Nevins tells an audience in Edinburgh earlier this year about how he hired Damian Lewis for Billions:

Deadline reports: “A funny thing, Nevins said, was casting Damian Lewis in Billions, the network’s upcoming financial drama. Lewis, he recounted, felt it was too soon after Homeland to do another American TV show. “And I said, ‘Yeah, it’s too soon after Homeland for me to hire you. It feels like a little bit of a failure of creativity.’… It was that weird flirtation where we were both trying to reject each other, but you knew where it was going to end up,” he laughed.”

Thank you all for ending up where you are!

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

15 thoughts on “How Keane gave us Brody and How Brody gave us Axe *UPDATED*”

  1. I had never heard of the talented British actor Damien Lewis until I started watching the Forsyte Saga which I have not yet finished watching yet. He plays the evil character Soames Forsyte so well I cannot believe how well he portrays an bad person. Damien Lewis is definitely one of my favorite English actors.

    1. Hi Michale, thanks so much for your comment! We love Damian Lewis and we’re inspired by him so much so that we write daily about him and his work. If you love Forsyte Saga, we have written about it a few times already, you can find all of them here: tag=forsyte-saga But there can be some spoilers so you may want to read them once you finish that amazing mini-series!

      Damian Lewis always owns his roles and can make an unlovable person lovable — like he actually did with Soames! He has other unbelievable work that you must definitely see once you are done with Forsyte Saga. Hope you enjoy our blog, and come visit us again and give us feedback – cheers!

  2. I love Keane and Damian is fantastic in it, if the film did not have the success it deserves, talent Damian allowed to be noticed and shooting Homeland giving him international fame!
    Like what an actor really has talent, always happens one day or the other to be recognized!
    I was a fan of some actor Joe Lando, Sully in”, Doctor Quinn medecin woman, “but never as Damian! He ‘s the greatest actor I know!

    1. Keane is a small budget, independent movie, in fact, the kind of movie I LOVE but most people choose to watch big box office productions or they just don’t even hear about small budget movies since they are not advertised as much. Damian is obviously proud of having made Keane, talks about the movie whenever he has the chance, and we do our best to promote the movie here, too; because it is a real good one and it is the one that single-handedly gave us Brody!! Haha Monique we all had our fangirl moments with other actors, mine was Kevin Costner, and Damian came along a few years ago and turned everything upside down. And I put my signature under what you have said! “never as Damian! He’s the greatest actor I know.” Much love <3

    1. Absolutely – you will LOVE it. Damian gives a phenomenal performance in Keane, no wonder Homeland people changed their minds as soon as they saw the movie. I think you will find a bit of Brody in Keane. I checked and it’s available for streaming (rent/buy) on Amazon, and it seems to be available on Netflix; however, as DVD (I think) but not for streaming. Hope you ENJOY it soon!

  3. Damian is superb, in BOB Keane Homeland! I saw no Billions, I know that Damian will be great as always,but I’d much Axe, as brody as the character of Axel? I do not know!

    For Homeland, I fell for Brody immediately, but I do not know if it will be the same for Axel!

    It is necessary that I see the series to find out!
    Sorry for my bad English

    1. Axe is a very different character than Brody — I’d say this is different than anything Damian has done before. I don’t feel for Axe the affection I have felt for Brody — with Brody I just wanted to cuddle him and tell him that everything will be allright — but he’s a GREAT character and you can’t help like him even though he does some BAD stuff! 😀 I am so looking forward to your feedback on Axe when you see the show. And, again, your English is perfect!

      1. I did not know Billions aired in France, on which channel? Yet I look every week, my TV news, if there is a movie with Damian !! I saw “Wolf Hall” but not Billions!
        As soon I have seen,Billions I would say what I think!

  4. I did not know Billions aired in France, on which channel? Yet I look every week, my TV news, if there is a movie with Damian !! I saw “Wolf Hall” but not Billions!
    As soon I have seen, Billions I would say what I think!

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