From Charity to Sports to Theatre: We Know What Damian Lewis Did During The Covid-19 Lockdown! *UPDATED*

I am going to have a summer.

This is how Damian promptly responded to a lady who asked him at The Goat stage door back in May 2017 about what he would be doing between The Goat and Billions, whose shoot would not start until September. And that was his first full summer with family since Damian constantly worked summers between 2011 while he was shooting Homeland to 2016 when they started shooting Billions shoot in July.

And he was probably pleased with the results that this is the fourth summer in a row Damian has spent with family but also the first he spent mostly at home, like the rest of us, due to Covid-19 pandemic. Damian was filming Billions in New York when the pandemic arrived in the US. As they took a break from filming mid-March, he came back home, and has had a spring and summer bookended by two important Covid-19 activities.

The last six months have been different than any other for everyone. And so for Damian and Helen, too – there was no theatre, no Wimbledon, no live concert or summer festival. But the good news is the pandemic did not stop our favorite couple from being very good at doing good.

Only a few weeks after the lockdown started in the UK, Damian and Helen, in collaboration with comedian Matt Lucas and John Vincent of Leon Restaurants, launched FeedNHS to deliver hot and healthy meals to the front line heroes across the UK. They kicked off the charity in London and, soon after, they reached out to the other big cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Aberdeen, Cardiff, and Edinburgh. They contributed to the FeedNHS blog and helped raise more than 1 Million pounds for the cause. Hats off!

When they had the opportunity to formally launch FeedNHS on Good Morning Britain, Damian and Helen shared that they were in their second home near Sudbury in Suffolk when the lockdown began and so they stayed there. While Helen talked about the emotional ups and downs she had during the pandemic (I am right there with you, girlfriend!) Damian joked he did not know she looked like that 🙂

Then they appeared on BBC Breakfast the following morning where Helen made a strong and an absolutely true statement about how the pandemic has brought the country together.

“We’re only as strong as each other.”

The couple also openly expressed that they valued the quality time they have had together as a family.

Damian talked about doing things together:

“Playing Monopoly, playing Risk, planting a hedge, doing some cooking together. The day goes by in a flash when you’re in one place.”

Risk? Oh yes! I’m such a poker-face Risk player that I would give a non-essential organ to play against Damian… and WIN of course 🙂

Helen called spending time with family during the lockdown a fantastic privilege in her brilliant Desert Island Discs:

“I’m here to tell you I haven’t taught myself any languages, I haven’t read any book of any worth, I’ve never had so long to sit and think. That’s been strange for Damian and I. I’m mean we’ve never…I’ve only just met him. I’ve no idea he was an American until about a week ago! We’ve been with the children who are now 12 and 13. That’s been a fantastic privilege to be with them.”

And when the couple was asked in an interview with The Telegraph about how home-schooling was going:

Helen: “Oh f***, I mean, the kids are feral. Mud in their hair. We would definitely have been shut down by Ofsted by now. But they’re doing well… I think, I’ve no idea actually. Damian, are they doing well?”

Damian: “They’re all right.Their Tik-Tok skills are coming on no end.”

😀

Helen shared more about coping with Covid-19 on the BBC Coronavirus Newscast…

https://twitter.com/BBCSounds/status/1248367171975163909?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1248367171975163909%7Ctwgr%5Eshare_3&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.damian-lewis.com%2F2020%2F04%2F09%2F35479.php

…while Damian revealed his wife’s new screen crush!!!! Yeah it is possible for a woman to have a screen crus even when she is married to Damian Lewis 🙂

https://twitter.com/BBCSounds/status/1248510984223969280?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1248510984223969280%7Ctwgr%5Eshare_3&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.damian-lewis.com%2F2020%2F04%2F09%2F35479.php

And Damian talked to Bloomberg about the vulnerability the pandemic has brought:

“I find myself within the course of a day launching from great assuredness and certainty about how we are all going to pull through this, myself and my family. And launching from that to great teariness and vulnerability and a sense of not knowing, which is very undermining, and wanting to give comfort to people around you, just launching back and forth. Anyone who knows grief will know how this feels: Being OK and then crying. This is a small version of that, or maybe a larger one.”

Wearing his charity hat once again, Damian played the guitar and sang “Have you seen my girl?” on World Health Day for #HopeFromHome – a first-of-its-kind multi-platform digital fundraising event to help fight the impacts of COVID-19.

Hmmm… look, Damian… While we love you sing, we have a lot of questions about that alligator head hanging on the wall! 😀 😀 😀

And as an ambassador of Prince’s Trust,  Damian also participated in a Prince’s Trust video to urge young people to seek help during the pandemic.

Damian was also there to support Ruth Strauss Foundation that supports families dealing with the loss of a parent from cancer.

And he was on Zoom talking about his love of history for the “History Matters” series Gully’s school launched as part of their digital learning programme.

Is there anything this guy cannot do?

I do not think so. And his latest is that he has become a bird watcher during the pandemic!

A fun moment from the family’s stay in their country house was when Weston’s Bakery, a family run bakery and coffee shop in Sudbury, posted on their Facebook page and called locals to let Damian know that he has to come back for his discount! 😀

Oh, and you may ask… “hey Damian, where is the mask?” We believe he removed it so he can promote the bakery as a celebrity should!

We have then seen our favorite couple on TV again on Victory Day where their living room was decorated probably by the whole family to celebrate V-day.

And the next thing was the most anticipated reunion of the century, as I like to call it, that took place on Zoom:

“Hi Danes-y!”

Damian Lewis and Claire Danes, two talented and clever actors, in their conversation as part of  Variety’s Actors-on-Actors series, reminded us once again why we fell for Brody and Carrie in Homeland. They were real. They were smart. They were funny. And they made me believe, for a second, that Brody was alive and grew a beard for a witness protection program 😀

Oh, and Damian zoomed with Claire in his car because he did not have great connection at home and so he drove around in the English countryside for better Internet connection!

Here is my favorite part of the conversation:

Claire:I loved my partnership with you on so many levels. More than anything, just making the scene happen. You were so present, so invested and spontaneous. I missed you so much when you left. It was amazing when you came back for that flashback in the fourth season. On television, you get to live these characters’ lives in almost real time: That whole season was about Carrie grieving the loss of Brody, and I was grieving the loss of you, my friend and acting partner. I got to work through that in the fiction. There you were, this ghostlike vision, but you were also actually there to pretend to be it. That was a real surprise, how powerful that was, and how valuable that was for me personally.”

Damian: “I think the thing that I enjoyed so much was that it really mattered to us. It was important. There was such sincerity from everybody.”

I remember our weekend — the famous episode of the first season, when we went out to the cabin. Do you remember we talked and we talked? Oh, my God, and then you lost your s–t with me because I did a stupid walk, and you were still in the middle of the scene. You were like, “Damian! That is not OK!” I had done this goofy Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks to make people laugh, and you were still in the middle of this thing. But it was that particular nuance, trying to thread the truth. Who was playing who, was there real affection, and how were we going to parse it out in the most delicate and truthful way? They were a tense couple of days.”

Claire: “It was really intense.”

Damian: “That’s the fun, isn’t it? Apart from the joking and the banter — it’s actually the intensity of the work, isn’t it, that you really remember. Whether it was important or not, and “Homeland” always felt so important, didn’t it?”

Claire: “It did. When you left, I was always looking back to you as Carrie to Brody. She has other relationships, sort of, but that was the central one. I miss those days when she was more in the present tense. That was gone for her, and therefore for me, which I’m only realizing now as I’m talking to you. She was living with a ghost forevermore. The trauma of feeling responsible for what happened at 9/11 was also a source of haunting for her. She was haunted by a lot of things. But somehow she was more in the present tense — and she was more in her body — when she was with Brody.”

SIGH. SIGH. SIGH. You can watch/read the conversation in its entirety here.

Now, we all know Damian is a sports guy through and through. So even in the year of Covid-19  we need to have a “sports section” in this post!

First things first. I am positive that while he wanted to live THE MOMENT in the stadium with his beloved LFC and his fellow fans, Damian was ecstatic to see Liverpool as the English Premiere League Champions in 2020 after three decades!

Then Will Greenwood had Damian on his podcast for a fun conversation about sports. I mean, name a sport and Damian can talk about it. Football, of course. But also Rugby. And Cricket. And golf, tennis, field & track and more. As someone who gets super excited at sports events (I cannot watch the penalty shoot-outs in football matches when I have stakes)  I was thrilled to hear that my favorite actor feels the same at the very moment when, say, Usain Bolt arrives at the finish line, or Roger Federer makes the match point. No wonder Greenwood said he would record Damian’s inspiring words below and hear them every day to motivate himself!

You can hear the entire podcast here.

And one rare outing for Damian in this Covid-19 summer was a sport event: Damian was the captain for The Actors in their annual cricket match against their long time rivals The Authors at Ascott Park Cricket Grounds. The captain led his team to victory – bravo! 

Early September has seen the limited release of Dream Horse in movie theatres across the UK. Obviously there was no premiere and no red carpet pictures but Damian did a short Zoom interview on ITV about the movie that you can see below.

Well, everyone needs a bit of normalcy in these times where nothing is as we know it anymore. So seeing Damian and his kids Manon and Gulliver having a stroll on Oxford Street, one of the main shopping streets in London, made me smile. Note that when Gulliver turns 13 this November, the household will officially have TWO teenagers. We wish Damian and Helen best of luck with that! And you can see more pictures of Damian and the kids on our gallery.

I said at the beginning of the post that Damian’s summer was bookended by two Covid-19 related activities. While the left bookend was FeedNHS, the right bookend was a public performance on Zoom. Damian brought to life King Oedipus in Theater of War‘s Oedipus Project UK that was about the incredible parallels between Ancient Greece dealing with the plague and the world in 2020 dealing with the pandemic.

I always thought nothing could beat a live performance on stage since the actors and the audience form a special bond in that physical space, they develop some kind of magical energy together that lasts beyond the play. But, while I miss seeing actors on stage, I now understand that Zoom can be a wonderful platform for theatre if the actors give their all to the performance, that is, if they have the vigor and the commitment JaniaJania talks about in her fabulous review of Damian’s portrayal of Oedipus in the Theater of War’s Zoom production.

Damian was so present as Oedipus the King. It was a true privilege to see him up close on screen: his eyes almost spoke, and his whole body was involved. No wonder Claire Danes tells Damian that he is such a physical actor in their brilliant Variety Actors on Actors conversation. You can see our Oedipus close-ups gallery here.

Last but absolutely not the least, Damian worked the phones on the trading floor on BGC Charity Day to raise money for Cure EB and Sir Huber Von Herkomer Arts Foundation for the last couple of years. While he was not there on the trading floor this year, he sent two heartfelt messages for both charities via Zoom!

And we finish on an upbeat note: Damian and Helen were the wedding singers – Damian playing the guitar and the two of them singing Irish songs – at their friends’ wedding at the Kensington and Chelsea Register Office! I imagine the event felt nostalgic for our favorite couple since they tied the knot right there 13 years ago! We have lots of pics from the celebration on our gallery.

As the summer turns into fall, we cannot wait for Damian to go back to work when it is safe to do so – first to finish Billions Season 5. Then Damian also mentioned that his Rookery Productions was exploring the possibility of making a documentary on the Feed NHS initiative.

“There are opportunities to make documentaries about the NHS from our kitchen — obviously archive-heavy, I would imagine.”

And then there is A Spy Among Friends, a BritBox limited series based on Ben McIntyre’s best selling book, whose cast Damian will lead along with Dominic West. I have already read the book, twice, and it is absolutely perfect for screen adaptation. And I cannot wait to see these two Eton-educated actors to portray two Eton-educated spies. Stay tuned for our first look at the project sometime this fall. And stay well and stay healthy!

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!

5 thoughts on “From Charity to Sports to Theatre: We Know What Damian Lewis Did During The Covid-19 Lockdown! *UPDATED*”

  1. Love this website! Thanks for this summary. Do you know if Billions has been renewed for another season? I saw a Showtime ad during the Emmys and it didn’t include Billions. Hopefully it isn’t cancelled.

    1. Thank you so much Lucy for reading and for your kind words! Billions will come back to finish Season 5 – they still haven’t started filming tho. As far as I know the writers are already writing Season 6 so no the show has definitely not been cancelled! Say hi to Charlie Brown and come visit us again.

  2. Ah Damianista what a treat! All flavors and brands of Damian Lewis! I’ve fallen out of the Fanfun and morning coffee habit so I sooo enjoyed this post! Sorry to have missed Oedipus but I’ll catch up with Jania Jania’s review. Probably political but what isn’t these days. I loved Has Anybody Seen My Girl (sorry Mr Lewis but it’s Gal not Girl)! I’d seen the Claire/Damian interview but it’s one for my Homeland loving Heart ❤️ Thank you for allowing me to visit my old friends once again!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words! I’m so happy the post was your morning coffee companion. It was fun to follow Damian during the lockdown and put this post together. I can’t love it more that he and Helen did their share during the pandemic and helped the healthcare personnel through FeedNHS. And I am sorry that you missed Oedipus – the play convinced me that if the actors commit to it, even Zoom could be stage for great plays. Damian was phenomenal and the parallels between the play and the pandemic was mind-blowing.

      Just because you said you’ve fallen out of your habit of Fan Fun and Coffee in the morning… Have you checked our “Dream Role for Damian” series yet? We’ve published four posts so far and you may like them – and I hope you will be inspired to write your own. And look for the post we’ll publish on Friday – a HOMELAND fan fiction that you may really like!!!!! Stay tuned!!!!!!

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