Back in 2013, after he had appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, I interviewed David Costabile for our high school alumni magazine (He and I were a year apart in high school and both part of the same theater program.) As part of the interview, he said this regarding his high school theater days:
“I think one of the things that I still carry through now that I think is so essential about being able to do plays and musicals while I was in school is that there’s a great spirit of fun that is pervasive through the whole experience. And I made great friends while I was doing it and there was a great communal sense about making something. And in the best days and in the best ways as a professional, you get to do that, when it’s good. And that was something that was started back then and I think I’m still served by that today – that there is a real feeling of “I love what I get to do and I get to have fun while I do it.” And on some level that almost seems unfair, but it’s something where it’s a direct line. I don’t really feel that that’s gone away and it was always something that was true about doing shows then. that there was always a great sense of communal fun. And that still resonates for me. That’s when I also know I that I’m doing a good job when that is happening.”
This sometimes happens during the weekend of filming Episode 402 when @SpursOfficial plays @LFC and Axe and Spyros meet in Brooklyn for a derby that of course Spyros loses. Never bet against Axe, Liverpool, or @lewis_damian @SHO_Billions pic.twitter.com/qzn7ls8HEZ
— Stephen Kunken (@stephenkunken) March 25, 2019
@MorgensternsNY just did a thing that I only will describe as deliver X-mas 5 days early 1 scoop at a time to @SHO_Billions & if you haven’t done the #koppelmancake u haven’t done the Dessert masterpiece of 2018. @KellyAuCoin77 @Lulubellestiles @DanielKIsaac @briankoppelman pic.twitter.com/V2xORjJRJN
— Stephen Kunken (@stephenkunken) December 21, 2018
Just as David achieved that in his productions in high school and college, it seems clear that he has again achieved this professional zenith through the cast and crew of Billions. The writing is absolutely stellar, and the performances of the cast are equally superior. But what makes the show that much more enjoyable for the fans is seeing what a great sense of community there seems to be among the people of Billions. This can be seen more regularly each Sunday before and while the show officially airs, as Twitter comes alive with members of the cast and crew commenting on the episode and reveling in the antics of each other’s characters
— Daniel K. Isaac (@DanielKIsaac) April 29, 2019
— Daniel K. Isaac (@DanielKIsaac) March 17, 2019
— Kelly AuCoin (@KellyAuCoin77) May 13, 2019
I can tell you, as terrific a guy as he is an actor. Happy Birthday DeMunn!! https://t.co/06fFR36k9T
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) April 26, 2019
— Billions on Showtime (@SHO_Billions) June 7, 2017
It can also be seen in their support for each other’s work outside of the Billions set.
— Daniel K. Isaac (@DanielKIsaac) November 16, 2018
— Daniel K. Isaac (@DanielKIsaac) April 19, 2019
Look out for my man Waggs as their manager..!! Costy can do anything. https://t.co/92WbYtdRco
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) March 18, 2019
#Billions goes to #Broadway!
Happy Opening slash Congrats again to @TootsieMusical!!!
Run don’t walk to see @Lulubellestiles as Sandy!!! She steals the whole show!!!#BillionsFamily #TeamAxe #TeamDollarBill #AriSpyros #TeamHelena #TeamBonnie #TeamBenKim pic.twitter.com/irTekRBToA
— Daniel K. Isaac (@DanielKIsaac) April 24, 2019
go see condola. she's fabulous. https://t.co/GDVNJh6ZKT
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) April 22, 2018
— Kelly AuCoin (@KellyAuCoin77) April 27, 2019
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) April 24, 2019
And if you still don’t believe that this is a special group, then listen to the words of some of the members themselves:
“The thing about the Billions company is that we all look to our left and right and see the level of talent in literally every position. When you do that you realize that you are guilty by association with this Murderers row of talent. It’s a heady feeling and we all just really love to play together. It’s a bit like a jazz ensemble. Each of us get our different moments to riff at lead and to also hold down the base of support. Our successes are tied. Now Most of the credit goes to our casting director Alison Estrin and the show creators Brian and David. They are as attentive to the ensemble and filling it with teammates as they are to their scripts and story.”
“I originally come from a background in theatre where you’re used to making immediate families and then letting them go on closing night. The Billions Family has been such a gift from the universe because we are fortunate enough to keep the family over several years. And hopefully for many years to come.”
“We often talk about each other as the Billions Family. In my experience, it’s been that way since day one. Whether it was Daniel putting his hand on my shoulder to welcome me, bonding with David over our newborn kids, talking travel with Malin or sports with Keith or listening to and learning from Asia, there is an ease to being with these people. It comes from the top down. Brian and Dave are always there and always very supportive. Suddenly, you’re taking a car to see Kelly, seeing Daniel’s work off-Broadway, catching Dan at the Comedy Cellar or watching Sarah be brilliant on Broadway. Of course, there’s Damian, who when I had a very hard day to shoot took the time to give me the nicest pep talk I’ve ever had. It’s a family.”
“I am ridiculously lucky. The people I work with on Billions are absolutely lovely. The days can be long and grueling, but, even if I’m hauling my ass out of bed at 2:30 in the morning, I’m always happy knowing I get to play with these ludicrously talented and, just honestly GOOD, people.
It rarely happens like this. Most of the time, in a good working environment, people get along, but the relationship begins and ends on set. This group has truly become like a little family. We’ve gone to shows together, travelled together, started outside projects together, given each other advice, and simple hung out together. I love my Billions fam.”
“We get on far too well,” says Damian Lewis, seated next to Paul Giamatti, in a Los Angeles Times article. “It’s a miracle the scenes work at all…..The fact that anything gets done — that looks even remotely usable or serious — is actually astonishing,” agrees Giamatti with a laugh.
“We [fool] around a lot.”
After a long summer and fall break, there are signs of life again, and none more important than this one from Damian Lewis himself:
Party’s at mine tonight!
Axe Cap coming over to celebrate the start of BILLIONS SEASON 5!!!!! pic.twitter.com/Cwv7V6MhWM
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) November 16, 2019
Yes – Billions is back filming Season 5, which means we start to see more evidences of the Billions family back together. But even though they have not all been together as a group since last spring, their familial connections are alive and well and have been throughout this year.
The Dollar Bill/Spyros bromance is alive and well, as can be seen as they are laughing it up on a flight watching episodes of Billions on the in-flight entertainment system.
— Stephen Kunken (@stephenkunken) September 16, 2019
They’ve been supporting each other’s causes:
And of course they’ve been supporting each other’s acting ventures, like when Samantha Mathis came out to see Kelly AuCoin perform in Long Lost, even though they are on different teams in Billions. And our own Damianista was lucky enough to be there that night and thrilled to be sandwiched between Bill and Sara 🙂
Thrilled to be sandwiched between #TeamAxe and #TeamTaylor! I saw @KellyAuCoin77 in a fabulous performance in #LongLostPlay at @MTC_NYC and met the lovely and brilliant @samanthamathis as a bonus! You guys ROCK! #Billions #DollarBill #KellyAuCoin #SamanthaMathis #SaraHammon pic.twitter.com/LayFE1oWoC
— Fan Fun Damian Lewis (@FanFunDamian) June 26, 2019
And how about this? Mafee is coming back to Axe Capital, so naturally Damian Lewis and Dan Isaac are both out promoting Dan Soder’s HBO Comedy Special which just came out. Actually, it’s not surprise that Dan Isaac did. If he is anything like his character Ben Kim, then he would’ve supported Mafee even if he hadn’t come back to Axe Capital – just one of the reasons we all love Ben Kim.
Yes, the Billions family is back. In truth, they never left. They have stayed together throughout the hiatus, just like any family does. And just like any family does, when they get together, anything can happen. What exactly that will be only they know, but we will find out soon enough. If you want some clues though, follow them on social media as they tease us with glimpses of what’s to come, while reminding us of what makes them so special a group, and Billions so special a show.
Talent alone is not enough to carry a show, just as it is not enough to carry a team. There have been countless examples of sports teams that were loaded with talent but didn’t win it all because they didn’t have the proper team chemistry. This team has it all, the talent, the coaching and the chemistry – which is what makes it such a pleasure to watch. When it is obvious how much fun they are having, it helps the audience join in on the fun. And is there a show having more fun than this crew? I don’t think there is, and of that, I am not uncertain.
The past 8 months have been a particularly tough one on everyone, which the quarantining, the social distancing, everything shutting down, and all of what we take for granted having been taken away for us. The cast of Billions is not immune to this. They were in the middle of filming the last five episodes of season 5 when they got the word to shut down, and have been down ever since.
Down, but not out. Not this group.
You see, even in the middle of a pandemic, even with the show no longer in filming, with the plotlines and the characters up in the air, the members of the Billions have not forgotten that they are a family. And like any good family during these trying times, they are maintaining that closeness even when it can’t involve actually being close to each other.
For instance …
The last episode that aired was episode 7, which was significant for a variety of reasons, but not least of which was that this was the first episode directed by one of the cast members! David ‘Wags’ Costabile got to try his hand behind the camera, and he crushed it. This is like when the dad turns the keys of the new sports car to the son who is now of age. Will this be a sign of future directorial endeavors by Costy? Will another cast member take their turn behind the helm? We don’t know, but in the meantime David has a new listing on his IMDB profile.
Also in June, Damian Lewis gave a shout out to his cast members even though by then he was back overseas. They had even gotten him an incredible birthday cake during their filming, just another sign of how closeknit this group is.
Daniel Isaac got frther into the birthday wishing over the time off when his work partner Tuk, celebrated his yearly anniversary…
But it isn’t all birthdays and parties. A family is there for the fun yes, but also for the challenges, and this fall a large contingent of the Billions family got together for a virtual “Get Out The Vote” night, helping people across the nation register to vote in the largest eleciton (by votes) in American history. There may not have been a billion votes, but I’m sure there were a billion or so tweets about it. And much of that credit goes to the cast from Billions.
Speaking of credit, if anyone from the Billions family should get credit for keeping the family connected, it has to go to Kelly AuCoin. You know how every family has that one family member who takes it upon themself to keep everyone talking to each other and aware of what’s going on in each other’s lives? Well for the Billions crew that’s Kelly. He has become a regular on the Instagram interview front. If you haven’t already, check out his IG Live TV posts, and you will find a Billion reasons to stick around:
And it isn’t just cast members. He talks to the crew as well, to give you as complete a picture of everyone and everything that goes on in our favorite show. It really is an eye-opener to see all of the talent that is involved, both on and off the screen.
So while the show may be in a hiatus right now, it will be back. And, as we found out during this time, it will be back next year for Season 6!! So while we wait for the last episodes to get filmed, we can be comforted knowing that the joy that the show brings to us is being fed and nurtured by the members of the cast and crew, who continue to stay in touch, stay in the loop, and in each other’s thoughts and prayers. And we know that when it all gets back going again, this family will be ready to jump right back into it – back to the double-crossing, the scheming, the conniving, all the things that a healthy family has. And this family has that in the billions.