Did you know that Damian Lewis was actually offered a part in Black Hawk Down after his big success as Dick Winters in Band of Brothers but he turned it down for The Forsyte Saga?
When asked in an interview with Now Magazine in 2001 about why he turned down the part in Black Hawk Down, Damian Lewis jokingly says: “I’d had enough of soldiering. Out of a cast of about 10,000, there was only one woman in Band of Brothers. So for my next job I wanted girls in it. I wanted the smell of sweet perfume wafting out from make up each morning.”
What a win-win situation — for both Damian Lewis and us!
What’s Damian’s win? Haha, firstly, The Forsyte Saga had a number of lovely girls in the cast that would make Damian happy with their perfume 🙂 But I think the real win lays elsewhere… I am obviously clueless about why Damian Lewis chose The Forsyte Saga over Black Hawk Down, but if I were to speculate, I’d say he probably wanted to avoid a brand — “we need a war hero, call Damian Lewis” brand — as we talked about last week here. Our guy loves a diverse portfolio of roles which I believe is a real WIN and makes him a TRUE brand.
What’s our win? Well, The Forsyte Saga, to this day, stays as one of the most beloved series ever shown on “Masterpiece Theater” PBS, ranking second in a fan poll, just after the TV-revolutionizing Upstairs, Downstairs. This says something about the series, doesn’t it? Second, and more importantly for me, Damian Lewis gives the world Soames Forsyte — a complicated and somewhat a pathetic man that I cannot help falling in love with.Vanity Fair’s comment on Damian’s portrayal of Soames says it all: “In this unlovable man, we feel the ache of a poet, a poet who has no words.”
Here’s a TRUE teaser: JaniaJania is writing a fab piece on Soames Forsyte arriving on the blog tomorrow!
PBS: “Who is Soames Forsyte?”
DL: “Soames is fastidious, smug, and conceited. But he’s also a person capable of love, though unfortunately unable to express it in a satisfactory way, especially to a young woman. He understands life in terms of contracts, property, and duty. And if any of those things is threatened, he falls apart. He can be cruel and small-minded, but that’s often generated by this repressed passion that he’s unable to express fully, or successfully, or healthily.
I went to English boarding schools and grew up around people very much like Soames and in a milieu very much like the Forsytes’s, even down to wearing tails, and stiff collars, and cravats. So I feel quite at home in the environment in which The Forsyte Saga takes place. But I’m a more ebullient person than Soames is.”