JaniaJania Writes: Why Damian Lewis?

Time flies. It’s been a year since JaniaJania brought her literary and forensic talent to this blog. And here’s her first ever post still as fresh as it was exactly a year ago.

Why Damian Lewis? Well, she knows why.

Cheers to many many years together, partner! Love, Damianista

March 4, 2015

Hi everyone!

I am extremely happy to introduce you to a new and absolutely brilliant
blogger on Fan Fun with Damian Lewis.

Please say hi to JaniaJania!

JaniaJania and I met on Twitter! She attracted my attention with her tweets
first — always intriguing, interesting and FUN! She can say so much about Damian Lewis with 140 characters at a time that I just kindly asked her if she would be interested in blogging on Fan Fun with Damian Lewis. And lucky
me, and lucky us, she has accepted. So, starting today, Wednesdays are “JaniaJania Writes” days!

Welcome, JaniaJania, and cheers to sharing the FUN together for a long, long time!

Damianista

Here’s JaniaJania’s HELLO to us all, followed by her first post! ENJOY!

“Thank you Damianista for inviting me to write what I love! Damian Lewis is an inspiration in so many ways. Great having this chance to ride the Fan Fun together. Enjoy!”

It all started with a tweet. One that got a fair share of RTs and Favs and one I sweated delivering a pithy response to. But my response couldn’t possibly fit in 140 characters:

Ladies and discriminating gentlemen know something you do not, dear Henry Tudor!
Ladies and discriminating gentlemen know something you do not, dear Henry Tudor!

As Yanks, most of our first experience of Damian Lewis was Homeland. We saw him and noted how he held eyes on him whenever he was in a shot. The kind of performance the most hardened TV viewer cannot look away from. Like gravity or magnet, from Brody’s first appearance getting cleaned up at Ramstein (the damage in his eyes, the coldness) then on the plane back home to D.C. The way Brody couldn’t look Jessica in the eye at first, embodying in one non-glance the latent shame of being held captive, of being absent from his family, afraid that she wasn’t who she was when he left, knowing he sure as hell wasn’t the same man she said goodbye to the day he left for war. Damian Lewis communicated all of that in a microsecond.

Furtive glance
Furtive glance

He held our rapt attention and, as the series, ostensibly a spy thriller, took a shocking momentous turn (in a parking lot!) into a riveting romance, the “perfectly impossible love” (as Claire Danes put it), any chance of our looking away was long gone, and we, discriminating ladies and gentlemen, were hooked. Hooked on the romance, but more so on the way Damian Lewis played Brody’s deep damage, his treachery, and eventually, his vulnerability. Just as films about the American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan begin to hit our screens, Brody singing the Marine Hymn through gritted teeth cut an indelible image of what it is to be a soldier on the front lines.

“From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli…”
“From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli…” source: Showtime

Actors have said it’s taken one role to change the way the world perceives them, one role that pulls the switch from, say, a guy who’s always cast as the foil, the sidekick, or the nerd, to a guy who is all of a sudden received as a very believable romantic lead. Damian Lewis had romantic lead-ish roles before Homeland, see Friends and Crocodiles, The Baker. Often, he managed to lend sympathy to a character that not many would sympathize with, see Soames Forsyte. But it was in Homeland that we saw him as Brody thru the eyes of Carrie. Claire Danes watching him on her screen, her involuntary, nearly imperceptible, lascivious smile when she sees him coming out of the shower.

ShowerCollage
source: Showtime

Carrie lingering on his face in the image of him in a car, his profile, his forearm on the window, all of it served to make our glance linger on his face, too, to be entranced, and to see in him what Carrie saw.

Try to look away, source: Showtime
Try to look away, source: Showtime

Was she smitten because she was surveilling him, or was she surveilling him because she was smitten? Ultimately, a moot question, but one some of us did think about, because, let’s be honest, as Damian Lewis has himself said, “the color” of him often kept him out of certain leading roles. He defies all definitions of conventional beauty.

So what is it about him? Maybe it’s the voice? Velvet with a hint of cabernet. Or the body of a footballer half his age?

“…tempting.” “Right?”
“…tempting.” “Right?” source: Showtime

Or maybe it’s the indelible confidence, the willingness to be goofy without a hint of self-consciousness, and the easy intimacy he projects? The Times observed the in person Damian Lewis quite attractively as “a rotten flirt, a toucher, a beguiler; a creator of instant intimacies.”

New Statesman included DL in a cover story about the upper class takeover of the arts with the argument that if only the posh make art, it will be rendered bland.

This is a valid argument for music and visual arts, and, perhaps, literature, the making of which all benefit from pain and loss and general malaise about the condition of human existence. But, does such an argument apply to drama, which, since Shakespeare has always been about and for the working class? Drama can only be made stronger, less bland, by a complete higher education, one that builds an actor’s empathy, his exposure to myriad ways of living, rendering performance by well-educated actors anything but bland.

That said, for Damian Lewis, perhaps, it’s the cushy upbringing that has fed into his confidence? Granted, Yanks don’t really fully get Brit class distinctions. Here, the members of the upper class usually got there by hard work, luck, good choices, and theft, not by birth. Of course, the US has its share of nepotism, but, still, nothing like the structure that still stands in the UK. And the members of the upper class here are well aware that all it takes it a bad day on Wall Street to knock them right down to the lower rungs of the ladder. The upper class in the UK has no such concern (I imagine). There, the upper class can lose all their money, sure, but they can never NOT be the upper class. Their status as upper class remains unquestionable, and such an unimpeachable ranking, one would imagine, vests in a member of that class a persistent, unabashed confidence, despite the harshest, most personal, critique. In Damian Lewis, that confidence, combined with the voice and the boot camp physique, is manifest in a hotness beyond reason.

So, yeah, I was “turned” to Damian Lewis. I wouldn’t have sought out Homeland had I not seen the clip of Jennifer Lawrence fangirling so adorably over DL on the red carpet of some award show.

source: Showtime
Many faces of Damian Lewis, source: Showtime

And after watching and re-watching, and still again, re-watching that series, I went in search of his other work. While we wait out the appearance of him back on US screens in April with Wolf Hall, why not take a glimpse back at his career to date?

Next post: Damian Lewis as Dick Winters, or how the heck does a Brit play a Yank so flawlessly?

16 thoughts on “JaniaJania Writes: Why Damian Lewis?”

  1. I watched Band of Brothers, Life, Homeland and Damian was incredible! Life and Homeland … he excelled! He changes his expression as few actors do. It is wonderful whether it’s drama, comedy or action! In the third season, in Homeland, when he tried to move on with the mission and demonstrating the great soldier that Brody was left me louca.E romance between Carrie and the Brody? It started by accident, and suddenly … love. Love that brought moments of joy, but a lot of pain for both! Homeland is not the same without the brightness of Brody! I considered him a victim of the war, which unfortunately was used and manipulated by all! Carrie also used. Carrie Brody used, but they are the story of the most beautiful and tragic love I watched! They made me Homeland fan, is that unfortunately over! No one will fill the place of Brody!

  2. I watched Band of Brothers, Life, Homeland and Damian was incredible! Life and Homeland … he excelled! He changes his expression as few actors do. It is wonderful whether it’s drama, comedy or action! In the third season, in Homeland, when he tried to move on with the mission and demonstrating the great soldier that Brody was left me … Romance between Carrie and the Brody? It started by accident, and suddenly … love. Love that brought moments of joy, but a lot of pain for both! Homeland is not the same without the brightness of Brody! I considered him a victim of the war, which unfortunately was used and manipulated by all! Carrie also used. Carrie Brody used, but they are the story of the most beautiful and tragic love I watched! They made me Homeland fan, is that unfortunately over! No one will fill the place of Brody!

    1. I loved Brody too, but I’d give Homeland a chance, even without him. Yes, no doubt, it was an epic love story, but it was bound to end in tears (as Brody himself said :)). Total reboot this past season, and well worth watching.

      1. Ah, you two probably by now know HOW MUCH I love Brody 🙂 JaniaJania is absolutely right that the love story was bound to end it tears (yes, Season 2, The Choice, they sit in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine in hand, and Brody says “maybe it will end in tears…” Ah, I know all of that… but still, still, still MISS him so much!!!!

  3. Sorry for sending me two comments, it was an accident! I still watch Homeland, but not over the output of Brody! And I would not want to suffer Franny! I am collaborating node group Homeland Brazil! Homeland is one of the few series that I have not abandoned! Good Afternoon!!

  4. like you I love Damian, I discovered him, in Life, God, what a beautiful boy, what a great actor !!
    I searched the sites,, I bought his DVD
    In BOB, Damian has confirmed what a great actor he is, and Homeland was the highlight !!
    I loved him, admired him, no other actor can do what Damian do, in one glance, you can read all the joy, pain, love, hatred!
    This is 2 times that I look the DVD Wolf Hall, and my admiration only increase, I do not get enough!
    I’m so happy to see that he has reached the success he deserves, and see more sites or blog about him!
    Merci beaucoup

    1. Hi Monique! Many thanks, we are so happy that great fans like yourself appreciate our efforts, and this kind of support keeps us going and going. Damian is the BEST and I’m sure he will do even bigger and better things and we will keep following him happily!

      1. Monique, you make OUR DAY! Thanks to fans like you, we are doing our best to keep all things Damian Lewis up to date! And, your English is perfect! Lots of Love.

  5. you know how I love Damian, but really, I do not like about the latest pictures in Buffalo, with his awful sideburns,!
    But it is Damian and I forgive him, and I admire his courage not to be afraid to make him look ugly, to embody a character!
    Anyway, Damian can not be ugly, you are all in agreement with me, but I long he removes his sideburns!
    Monique

    1. Monique, of course, we know how much you love Damian — we all LOVE him! And, YES, we all agree Damian cannot be ugly — he’s a beautiful man, inside and out. But yeah the sideburns do not make him more beautiful than he is 🙂 Honestly, I don’t think Damian is in love with his moustache and sideburns, either — but I can see he’s having fun with them! He loves fun. The sideburns remind me of 1970s – may dad had the exact bushy sideburns – and sort of make me nostalgic for my childhood! So, American Buffalo closes on 27 June. I’d say no moustache and no sideburns by the next day 🙂 What do you think? 😉 Have a great weekend!

  6. Yesterday I watched “Friends and Crocodiles” Damian is beautiful in!
    I love the way he walks and his expressions! Paul is a weird guy, but Damian arrives to make us understand his character, why he is so!His talent, which had not exploded, yet was already here
    Thank you for everything you bring!
    Monique

  7. Congratulations on a year, JaniaJania! Wow, I forgot about Brody singing the Marine hymn while they acted like they were going to kill him. Some scenes on that show were so difficult I never watched them twice. I’m going to go back and rewatch the whole series at some point.

    Keep up the good work, Fan Fun writers!

      1. Maybe sometime you all can add a British glossary of terms and customs for us Yanks who don’t know much about our cousins across the pond. I had to ask someone what a “Sunday Roast” was. Damian said his fantasy was having a house and family and Sunday Roasts. Kind of our Sunday dinner. Or an English Breakfast. Both seem to include specific foods.

        Or what’s with afternoon tea? It seems to be a whole ritual. I heard when Brody said his favorite tea was Yorkshire Gold that that is Damian’s favorite. Does everyone make tea mostly the same way? Is it very individual? Do people have to find snacks for their afternoon tea? Do they stop work for tea? We sort of have coffee breaks all day or just bring it to our desk.

        Do they always carry an umbrella just in case? Isn’t it rainy there? How do Londoners treat celebrities? Do they leave them alone? New Yorkers pride themselves on being cool around celebrities. The same way they baffle me by not wearing hats even when it is freezing. I always wear hats. I’m either cold or getting sunburned. Native New Yorkers have thick heads I guess or don’t want to seem wussy. (I’ve lived here ages but am from the South). They also wait until they absolutely HAVE to use their umbrella. If I’m lugging it I will open it at the slightest drop. But I have that “I’m a wimp” feeling.

        I really appreciate the quality writing in the articles on this site and the positivity and enthusiasm.

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