Vanity Fair has a series of videos and a special March issue about how the British actors have invaded — and maybe even conquered — Hollywood.
Well, Hollywood has always, and rightly so, admired and respected great British actors, say Jeremy Irons, Judi Dench, or Michael Kaine. But the on-going invasion is mostly done by a new generation of Brits who have now become “household names” in the US — some more than the others in my household 🙂 They sometimes fascinate us in British movies and TV shows, and sometimes play Americans in American movies and TV shows. And, thanks to their perfect American accents, some fans may actually find out much later that they are, in fact, British!
Just to drop a few names… some of them may be surprising! Let’s start with our own boy, Damian Lewis, but also Dominic West, Idris Elba, James Purefoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne, Dan Stevens, James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston… And, the ladies… Keira Knightley, Michelle Dockery, Amy Adams, Felicity Jones, Rosamund Pike, and many, many others.
So, what does Damian think about the British invasion, in particular, on American TV?
From an interview with Buzzfeed: “…Then, after that, Brits were allowed to do American TV, Australians were allowed to do American TV. It had always been a very American thing. I can only think of Pierce Brosnan on Remington Steele. Sure, there was the occasional Brit that showed up in things, but it just got opened up to us and it’s because TV became this more independent-feeling art form and people would go abroad to shoot. The whole thing is terrific for someone like me; I’m just very lucky that it happened in this time.”
Let’s see this Vanity Fair video with British actors do some FUN re-acts of American classic movies… and, pay some EXTRA attention at exactly 0:29 please!
Lovely, isn’t it?
Michelle Dockery and Damian Lewis in a hotel room doing a really funny re-act of a scene from a true American classic To Have and Have Not, based on Ernest Hemingway’s novel, with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
“Do you know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve?”
Now, when I look at the original movie poster, I can totally see Damian Lewis and Michelle Dockery in the movie… well, I mean, in a re-make.
I am typically not a re-make person. If a movie was done right — regardless of when it was done, yeah, it could be 70 years ago, too, like To Have and Have Not — then it was done right. We do not need another one. The re-makes are usually overshadowed by the originals, and the re-make actors often try to take after the actors in the original movie, and lose their own originality and creativity, and at the end of the day, we don’t have something authentic, but sort of a not-really-great copy of what we had before.
Here, I have to make a side note though and applaud Damian Lewis for not being one of them… and the reason is… I read in a PBS interview with him that when he was in the re-make of Forsyte Saga, he did not watch the most popular 1967 version. He instead went for his OWN Soames — which I think is the best decision for any actor. And, OMG, we really have to talk about the Forsytes sometime soon.
PBS: Did you watch the 1960s BBC adaptation as part of your research for the role of Soames?
Damian: No, though I have seen little clips of it. That was a seminal piece of work, and a whole generation loved it. But I find that television dates very quickly. The language of the camera has moved on since then, audiences have become more sophisticated. We would find it very sedentary compared to what we expect now. Our cast is a lot younger than theirs, and I think the relationships are scripted in a slightly different way, more ambiguous perhaps. I’ll see it someday, but I don’t feel the need to go to it for guidance.”
Anyhow… so, I am typically not attracted to the idea of a re-make. But then… why can’t I get rid of these dark thoughts about possible re-makes in which I can see Michelle Dockery and Damian Lewis together? 🙂 I think I just keep going back to the re-make idea thanks to the fact I know classic movies well and these two just have the right looks for classic movies and they would really really really be super great together…
One could say, if not classic movies, Downton Abbey would be an easy solution 🙂
Ha ha, in fact, Damian Lewis joked about it in a phone interview with the New York Times on the day after the Season 3 Finale of Homeland:
NYT: Have you gotten the phone call yet from “Downton Abbey”?
Damian: [Laughs] No, no one’s asked me to put a top hat or a tailcoat on yet. Although I do know Julian [Fellowes, the “Downton Abbey” creator] quite well. Maybe he’ll call, and I’ll play an American on “Downton Abbey.” Maybe I could be Elizabeth McGovern’s American lover or something.”
Or… maybe… you intend for the mother, and end up with the daughter. I have to admit I am quite pissed with Lady Mary this season because of her constant snubbing of Edith. So… yes, Damian, yes, please, come as an American, make her fall in love with you, break her heart and go 🙂
Yeah… that’s my problem with the Downton Abbey solution. As much as I like Michelle Dockery, and I love Mary’s modern ways and all, she’s still a bit too cold and sarcastic for my taste. But, I am a softie when love is concerned, so I would still root for Mary should Damian’s character steal her heart 🙂
Oh, come on people, how will we bring these two together in a project? I’m sorry but I’m getting obsessed with re-makes at the moment!
Bonnie and Clyde? Oh that would be really cool!
Or… The Getaway?
This is quite a project worth thinking about!
And, a last confession: I am somehow dreaming of Damian Lewis in a re-make of The Great Escape — one of my all-time favorites. And, honestly, I don’t really need a re-make. Just film that motorcycle sequence for me, and we’re good! Thank you 🙂