Well, the BIG DAY is here!
Happy 50th Birthday, Damian! May the next fifty be even better than the first. You make 50 look so damn good and we have (at least) that many reasons to love you! ENJOY!
Reason #1 He is married to a kick-ass woman, Helen McCrory! I am happy to report I was able to share with Helen that HOW HAPPY I am to know Damian is married to a feminist. I repeated my words to Damian, too, and guess what he said:
“I’m a feminist, too.”
I believe him.
Reason #2 He shares my love for football and uses it as a form of therapy.
“I enjoy the total absorption in a white ball and 10 other guys and the focus, and the way it releases everything else from your mind. It’s brilliant, it’s the best occupational therapy I can think of. You run around and get fit and it releases any anger or tension that you have. I used to play at 7.30 on Thursday mornings in New York. I’d haul myself out of bed, even if I’d had a night shoot that finished at 2am and go and play. I love it.”
And the man is a total wiz on the field. Look at Damian pulling a Cruyff turn at Soccer Aid 2016. Standing Ovation!
Reason #3 HIS WORDS at SAG-AFTRA interview make me not only love him but also his “small head” 😀
“There seems to be a distinction between actors and film stars here [US]. A film star can be a brilliant actor. There are some film stars who are brilliant actors, and they are lucky they get to be both And then there are some film stars whose bandwidth is less broad and what they have perfected is a persona. And it’s that persona, that film persona, is what they project so successfully. And, in fact, I have had producers say to me “before you choose your persona, what is your film persona? And what would you then project in order to be that film star?” And that is way too complicated for my small head to grapple with.”
Reason #4 THE Eyebrow. If you don’t know what I mean, see below 🙂 And, believe it or not, Damian gave me the eyebrow twice.
Reason #5 DAMIAN READS! He always has a book in his hand, under his arm, or in his pocket.
Reason #6 Damian shares my love for Mad Men and Don Draper!
Reason #7 Nicholas Brody!
I was a regular woman attending to her own thing UNTIL that red-headed US Marine/POW came along unexpectedly and turned everything upside down! If there had been no Brody, there would have been no blog. And since I can easily cite this journey as one of the most rewarding experiences in my life, I cannot thank Damian enough for it.
Reason #8 Damian’s my fellow Aquarian!
Reason #9 Three magical words that he told me:
“I read you.”
Well, Damian could not have made me happier should he have said “I love you.” And I LOVE HIM for it! 😀
Reason #10 He’s smart. Damian often speaks self-deprecatingly of not having gone to university, of just becoming an “ACT-terr” as if it’s comparable to lugging timber or fixing leaky faucets. Maybe this speaks to the differences between professional and vocational education in the UK vs. here. (although there used to be more vocational opportunities in the States once upon a time too) But, heck, if he’s a “drop-out” then the folks on this side of the pond have a lot of catching up to do in terms of basic liberal arts education. He knows his stuff.
He works hard at really getting to know what the heck he’s been employed to do. He researches extensively, reads, talks to subject matter experts, reads some more. He thinks of his job as a learning opportunity and it shows in the work he does. No phoning it in for this guy.
Reason #11 He’s gosh darn beautiful on the outside. The kind of beauty that’s unexpected, takes you by surprise, and, boy, are you glad you decided to let yourself be surprised. He’s a stunner, even when he’s not.
Reason #12 He’s beautiful on the inside. Great dad and husband, doing lots of good works in his community (mentoring creativity) and the world at large (support for Sohana and Soccer Aid to name just a couple). He’s not sitting on his fame in some tower, unwilling to mix with the masses. He gets down to all levels of humanity, not just for the photo opp, but from genuinely loving the opportunity to do it.
Reason #13 He’s diplomatic and always kind, but still allows his opinions be known. He has the heart of a humanist who doesn’t really want to cause too many waves but also doesn’t want injustice to walk by unchecked. I have a feeling he’ll be becoming more and more outspoken about issues he believes in. It’s only natural, as his career becomes ever more entrenched and his platform grows.
Reason #14 He’s so kind; did I say that already? Well, the kindness of a celebrity who doesn’t really need to be kind deserves another note. He seems to genuinely care about people and he’s not shy about showing it.
Reason #15 Which leads me to….he’s so confident! Sure, we all love characters who show vulnerability, and Damian can play those characters in spades, but as for the man, himself, Damian seems to exude an unabashed confidence while still showing sensitivity. Not an easy thing to pull off. Seems there are two ways to be: Either the world wounds you deeply and you shrink away and just hope to survive it or you walk belly-up to the bar and take over the room. He seems to inhabit both ways to be, and it’s really remarkable and super attractive.
Reason #16 He’s a goofball when the situation allows. I’ve always said goofiness is next to godliness. He takes pleasure in making people laugh. How can you not love such a trait?
Reason #17 He knows his strengths, he doesn’t pander, he doesn’t compromise. He’s not taking roles just to take them. He’s not willing to pigeonhole himself into what others want him to be. He knows his art, he knows what he loves, and he ventures forth only when the conditions are just right. A luxury perhaps to be able to do, but, really as simple as that.
Reason #18 My first admiration has to go toward his craft, of course. My main man? He’s not a method actor. In his SAG-AFTRA interview last year, he stated that he created his intensity through “imaginative work”. He even called out the great father of method acting, Stanislavsky, saying that he didn’t bother “remembering when my first hamster died” to help him find the emotion for a scene. It was even more interesting to hear him dive into a description of Alexander method, which has known ties to the study that I have found myself dedicated to: Delsarte. See? I knew he was a Delsartean. He just doesn’t know if yet (or he does….he does say he reads the blog, you know!)
Reason #19 The beard. Ok, so if you follow me on Twitter at all, you’ll know that, on occasion, I have mentioned my love of Damian’s gorgeous ginger beard. There’s not much more to say, honestly. I love beards. I love red hair. A red beard is a culmination of the two physical things I love most!
Reason #20 Sure, I’d like to think that he’s perfect. He sure LOOKS perfect. But he’s no stranger to putting his foot into his mouth. When a quote about worrying that he may become typecast as “fruity old actor” playing wizards became linked to Sir Ian McKellen, he was quick to issue a swift apology. So many people make missteps like this, but few are so quick to make sure to retract, apologize and make it right with the actual people directly hurt. It’s really amazing how a scandal can become nothing, when the right apology is issued!
Reason #21 His dedication to charity work, whether it be appearing at various charity events, promoting the arts, being a celebrity spokesman for Sohana Research Fund, or tweeting fun photos of He and Helen in their matching fundraiser bracelets! I love that he uses his platform for good. He even inspired me to become a patron for a local charity here in Minneapolis called TransChance Health. I’ve used my visibility as a performer and maker(I make rhinestoned accessories) to raise money for this worthy cause. And We have Damian to thank for inspiring me!
Reason #22 A funny guy is my favorite guy, and our fella knows how to crack a good joke! I loved his opportunistic joke as he autographed President Obama’s Homeland DVD: “From One Muslim to Another…”
Reason #23 A good artist is always working on their craft. One way to do so is to step outside of your own discipline. I remember reading that he took up tap dancing during the filming of Homeland. That sort of thing really helps “sharpen your sword”, as it were. It improves your focus and creativity to dive into another modality. I love seeing that he does this!
Reason #24 1971. It was a great year, apparently. Several pivotal men in my life have come out of this year. My older brother, my darling husband, and Damian Lewis. Damn, it must have been one hell of a year!!
Reason #25 And finally, I’ll always appreciate the gratitude he has for his fans. From moments he spends taking selfies all the way to filming a thank you and encouraging message for us, even wearing a hand-made scarf from a fan, he knows that his craft and his success is nothing without people to appreciate him.
Reason #26 Diverse: Damian has the ability to play a big time hedge fund manager, the King of England, an LA Detective, a US Marine turned terrorist, etc. and you never see the same person in any of the characters! In this way, he so reminds me of Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. His diversity and range knows no bounds.
Reason #27 Affable: In interviews or on panels (like Paley Live), Damian emits kindness and warmth. He is so comfortable in who he is, and it shows in his easygoing, pleasant way. The incredible kindness he has shown us all here at Fan Fun is beyond words!
Reason #28 Magnanimous: Using his platform as actor, he gives his time to many charities such as his support for finding a cure for cancer on World Cancer Day. Oh, and being generous with his time with Damianista!
Reason #29 Interested: I love the fact that Damian met with real hedge fund managers in his preparation of playing Axe. Since he had never been exposed to that lifestyle, he was interested in what makes these people tick, why they do what they do. And I truly believe he learned a lot, because he nails the character of Axe!
Reason #30 Attractive: Let’s face it. We love his acting, but being handsome certainly doesn’t hurt. I mean really, would we have fallen for Brody, Axe or Soames if he looked like Tony Soprano? I think not!
Reason #31 Natty: Every girl’s crazy for a sharp dressed man! And well, there are not too many sharper dressed than the Ginger Man himself. Whether it be in a tuxedo, jeans and a sports jacket, or my favorite, a Black Sabbath t-shirt, he looks smashing!
Reason #32 Humble: He’s a huge star, but you would never know it! I mean really, could you imagine Brad Pitt riding the tube? I thought not!
Reason #33 Engaged: Giving our little blog a video shout-out (twice!!), well, we know he is engaged with his fans, and he actually likes our work! What is not to love about that?
So, 50 reasons to love Damian Lewis. Only 50? 🙂 Here are my 8 reasons:
Reason #34 The boy can act his ass off. His talent knows no bounds. He is, in my opinion, the single best actor of our generation. His versatility is seamless, both in character and medium.
Reason #35 He has a brilliant mind. Quick-witted, educated, speaks eloquently. And to me, that is the sexiest attribute of another human being.
Reason #36 Part of the brilliance includes musical talent – he can play piano, guitar and sing.
Reason #37 He’s funny – always the ham.
Reason #38 He gives back – his time, his charity, to his community – all for good causes.
Reason #39 He’s the most handsome, sexiest ginger on the planet. Something in those eyes and that ONE eyebrow 😉
Reason #40 He tries to be as generous as possible every time he can interact with his fans, whether walking the streets of New York or London.
Reason #41 He’s a sharp dresser. The man can wear a suit like a runway model.
Of course Damian’s talent is the reason but let me break that down into
it’s several parts.
Reason #42 His sensitivity. He deeply understands/becomes his characters. That leaves him free to stay in the moment with them; let’s us watch them develop, unspool or unravel.
Reason #43 His physicality. A director once said to me that she really needed an actor who was “in his body”. That made an impression. Damian Lewis is in his body. Bobby doesn’t move like King Henry, doesn’t move like Charlie Crews. His conscious choices infuse every movement.
Reason #44 His expression is detailed to the point he can seem like another man in a Damian Lewis mask. After watching S3 of Homeland, desperate for Brody, I watched some of Billions. He wasn’t there! A guy who sort of resembled him was. That’s a portrayal!
Reason #45 His voice. I find American Damian’s voice slightly higher pitched than Brit Damo. Even so he achieves that valuable trait of good acting – modulation. The rise and fall of the voice, differentiating each thought or emotion within each speech or even sentence while maintaining coherence. In Friends and Crocodiles and The Forsyte Saga we get the chance to watch a single character go through evolutions – physical, spiritual, emotional, vocal. Yet both Soames and Paul Reynolds remain recognizable in their speech as well as manner.
Enough about Damian’s remarkable talent.
Reason #46 How about that wit! He’s so much fun to watch at play. Bantering, dancing or playing a silly game on a talk show, I’d love go to a party with him!
Reason #47 Damian’s intelligence is most on display in his long inteviews. SAG-AFTRA and both the NYC & London Times Talks. He is open and thoughtful about his process as an actor, his life (without being confessional) and his inner egomaniac with an inferiority complex so common to performers.
Reason #48 His generosity to his fellow actors. The tribute he received at the 2018 Britannia Awards from longtime friend Matthew Macfadyen as well as cast members from movies and television. Men and (especially?) women love and respect him. A personal favorite of mine is Damian’s behavior at the 2013 SAG Awards where Claire Danes received the award for her performance in Homeland. He leaps to his feet twice and can’t applaud hard enough. She loves him for it. I love him for it!
Reason #49 You knew it was coming. Brody, always Brody. I don’t know if I should love Damian or resent him for the sublime disruption he brought to my emotional life. All of the reasons above had for me their apex in his absolute sensitive portrayal of Sergeant Nick Brody.
Happy Birthday and thank you, Damian, for all this and thank you for bringing me to Fanfun with all my Fanfuntastic friends!