Finding Damian Lewis on the Throne of England: Erica’s Story

Hello all! Damianista welcomes you to a new Fan Story Tuesday!

Today’s story comes from Erica who has never seen Homeland (believe me, we can still be friends :D) and “discovered” Damian in two “as British as it gets” roles. Big thanks go to her for sharing her lovely story with us!

source: Erica

The first time I saw Damian Lewis, he was playing a young King Henry VIII in “Wolf Hall”. Like a lot of British series, this one started off so subtle that I actually fell asleep during episode one. I was really annoyed with myself because I know that these shows start off quiet and reach a boiling point at the end- most American shows do just the opposite. I rewatched and was blown away by the intensity of Mark Rylance’s Thomas Cromwell and by the power of Damian Lewis’ Henry.

source: BBC

We have all heard that the young King Henry was tall, athletic, handsome and incredibly charismatic. Damian plays him with all that and also manages to show a vulnerability that Henry covers up with arrogance and over-the-top displays of anger.

source: BBC

Playing opposite the incredible Claire Foy- his portrayal of Henry makes you believe that this King was his own worst enemy and yet…you totally understand how so many people placed themselves at his mercy. In the final episode- when Thomas Cromwell goes in to see an elated Henry, just after Anne Boleyn’s execution, Lewis is absolutely bone-chilling and manages to show that this is a man that is willing to do ANYTHING to get what he wants and feel absolutely no remorse. There is no dialogue- none necessary- we get it.

Just after “Wolf Hall” aired, PBS started running “The Forsyte Saga”. Even though this series is about 15 years old- I had never seen it but when I found out Damian was the star, I was ready to watch. It’s a visually beautiful show that captures your heart on so many levels and even though once again- it’s a period piece- the themes are totally relatable in today’s world.

Soames Forsyte is a character that rubs everyone in the story the wrong way- he is emotionally distant on the outside yet a seething cauldron of over-the-top obsession for the equally emotionally distant Irene. She knows better upon their very first meeting and yet she is pretty much forced to accept his marriage proposal and he is too determined to have what he wants to get that she DOES NOT love him.

source: ITV studios

Damian plays Soames so completely that even though he is a total mess emotionally, a rapist, ridiculously arrogant and mostly cold-as-ice and controlling to the other people in his life- you FEEL for him. He makes you understand his side – makes you feel sorry for him- makes you wish things could have been different. As with Henry VIII- Damian Lewis does what only really great actors can do- he makes you love the Bad Guy. I plan to watch “Billions” because both Damian and Paul Giamatti are so wonderful in everything they do and I’ve heard how much people are loving the show.

It will be weird for me to see Damian Lewis playing a character in the present day but I’m so looking forward to having him make me love another Bad Guy. OH!….and when the James Bond rumors started flying….I thought he was a perfect choice! The World could use a hot, intense, Ginger James Bond!

source: GQ

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 “Finding Damian Lewis on the Throne of England: Erica’s Story”

  1. “Damian Lewis does what only really great actors can do- he makes you love the Bad Guy”

    what a great summary!

    hope you can see him on stage. I have had the privilege of seeing him in American Buffalo and the Goat, both absolutely brilliant!

    1. Thanks so much! By all accounts, his work on the stage is incredible but I am here in America so the chances are slim. You never know though….I was in London in 2012 and can’t wait to go back- so maybe one day! <3

  2. Wolf Hall is my all-time favorite book so imagine my excitement when I found out Damian was cast as Henry VIII – yet another dream coming true. We were just in the UK and visited Tower of London which means we are craving some Wolf Hall and a marathon is in the short-run plans!

    I am pretty sure Damian does not want us to like the bad guys he plays but you are absolutely right he gives every and each of them such a human touch that you cannot help liking them. Soames is a great example. I remember Damian saying in an interview he is quite surprised when he is approached by fans who say they like him as Soames in The Forsyte Saga. He said, and I quote, “You should not like Soames Forsyte. You are a dark horse, I would not go out with you.” 😀 Dark horse or not, I cannot help love Soames. I do not even think he is a bad guy even though he does pretty appalling things including a domestic rape. HE HOPELESSLY LOVED IRENE. Yeah, I am a dark horse, I guess 😀

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, Erica!

  3. I think he knows very well that we all LOVED Soames….I believe that was his intention and it’s all his fault for being so brilliant!
    I have been to London, visited The Tower, etc… and I have no doubt that’s one of the reasons I am a shamless Anglophile. Thanks so much <3

  4. Loved Soames! And lived your fan story too. How exciting you get to “discover” Damian in more roles. Hope you enjoy #Billions as much as we do.

    1. Thank You! AND yes….since writing this, I got “Billions” Season 1 and watched and my Husband and I were completely addicted from the first episode. Can’t wait to purchase Season 2 (as we don’t have Showtime) as soon as the DVD is released.

    1. I think most DVDs have extras — some deleted scenes or interviews, etc. Since I have Homeland on iTunes, I do not have the DVDs and so have never seen the extras.

  5. Super fan story! Love that you found Damian through his Brit roles and can now explore him as an American. A lot of us came in the other way around. 😀

    As Damian has said, it’s not about getting us to feel sympathy for the horrible people he plays, it’s all about getting us to feel what they feel, if for only a moment. He did that beautifully with Soames. And just wait till you see Brody. That’s one character where you just never know (and it’s a point argued till this day) where the good stops and the bad starts.

    Glad you found Damian and us!!

  6. Hallo Zusammen,
    kaum ist man mal ein paar Tage weg, wird schon wieder so viel „Tolles“ über Damian Lewis geschrieben….. !! Ich kann alles, aber wirklich alles nur unterstreichen. Ich liebe es, wenn ich verfolgen kann, welche Seiten er bei uns Fan`s anstimmt.
    Die Fan-Story finde ich auch wieder voll super. Es ist schon erstaunlich auf welch verschiedenen Wegen man zum absoluten Fan von Damian Lewis wird.
    Herzlichste Grüße aus Deutschland !!


    “Hello everybody,
    Scarcely one is times a few days away, is written again so much “great” over Damian Lewis … .. !! I can underline everything, but really everything. I love when I can track down on which sides he will flee with us. The fan story I find full again. It is amazing what kind of ways you become an absolute fan of Damian Lewis.
    Greetings from Germany!”

  7. Erica: I cant believe you have not seen Homeland 😉 I hope by now you are sooo enganged with Billions! I have to say that about chapter 2 season 1 Damian scene starts with him in his underwear! 🙂
    I agree with you Damian could be a great sexy ginger 007!
    I also recommend you Charlie Crews in Life…he’s just adorable.

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