I said it before. I will say it again. August 2022 marks, after three years of famine, a month of delicious feast, a Damian Lewis one to be precise, for me! In early August, I was so privileged to be in the audience at Damian’s very special first gig at Omeara in London. And I feel very lucky that I was also there at the newly 4K restored Keane screening followed by a lively Q&A discussion with director Lodge Kerrigan and Damian himself.
I have seen Damian at many events around the city since 2015 but Film at Lincoln Center is so special because it is like a second home to me and my husband. Our apartment is only 10 blocks away, we are members contributing to all-year programming at Film Society and Cinephile pass holders to NY Film Festival. So having Damian over at Film at Lincoln Center feels like having him over at home!
Just to demonstrate how much at home I feel at Film Society… I was there at the NY Film Festival when Keane was in the festival’s Main Slate back in 2004, too! Good thing I am a hoarder because I was able to find this 42nd NYFF line-up poster at home in North Carolina today. It seems I highlighted the films I saw at the festival back in 2004. Almodovar’s Bad Education, Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake, Alexander Payne’s Sideways with Paul Giamatti are among them! And please notice Keane on the right in the bottom row of the line-up poster. Sadly, I had no idea about the director or the actor then and missed the movie. Better late than never, I guess! 🙂
On the day of the event, I am at the venue early! The representatives from Grasshopper Film, the distributing company for the movie, tell me that they expect Damian to arrive around 6pm. So I just go and leave my stuff in the first row in the screening room, the state-of-the-art Francesca Beale Theater at Elinor Munro Film Center, and go join the group waiting for the guests of honor. Mr. Kerrigan arrives first followed by Damian a few minutes later.
It is lovely to see two collaborators/friends hug and chat. It is clear that they genuinely like each other and I so hope they consider working together again! Yeah, as a big admirer of independent cinema, I would so love to see Damian in another festival circuit film rather than a big blockbuster. Damian then has a brief chat with the Grasshopper Film folks and comes to say hi to me. He introduces me to his PR agent Annick who has difficulty in believing that I am both teaching at an R1 institution and managing Damian’s fan sites.
“It is a full-time job.”
“So I have two full-time jobs. Anything for Damian.”
A fan who is delighted to be at the event approaches Damian. I know her from Twitter – I have to say here that I have some sort of photographic memory, I almost never forget a face that I see once – and I know from an earlier tweet that she wants a picture with Damian. But I can also see she is a bit shy to ask for a photo so I jump in and ask whether she wants a photo with him. I take this lovely photo of them and share it with her on Twitter later.
They need Damian for promotional photos and interviews. So he tells me to enjoy the film and that he will make time for me at the end of the Q&A so we can chat a bit. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now I can go to my first row seat, relax and enjoy Keane for the first time on big screen! And how nice that Lodge Kerrigan and Damian introduce the movie together and watch it with us.
Then we have the most anticipated Q&A discussion! As I mentioned earlier in the post, Lewisto and I attend New York Film Festival every year – most of the films have their premiere screening in the US followed by the film’s director and the cast. So I have seen so many Q&A discussions over the years and this one with Lodge Kerrigan and Damian has been one of the best among them! It was a truly intellectual conversation about film making – every step of it. And it was such a pleasure to be part of the Q&A! Thank you, Christopher Abbott for choosing me to ask the first question!
Can you hear my “OMG!” when Damian says that he would not have been cast as Brody should Alex Gansa have had to wait for a day for the Netflix DVD! I cannot even…!!!! Now – if you are interested, you can read my report of the great evening with indie cinema here or watch the Q&A on Film at Lincoln Center YouTube channel here.
As much as I am delighted to be among my fellow indie cinema fans listening to the story of ‘Keane’ from the two brilliant men who made it, the icing on the cake is Damian being so kind to make time for me after the Q&A. Huge thanks go to him and his lovely PR rep Annick for arranging a quiet room, I will smile every time I pass in front of that door in the years to come. And, hey, what happened in that room cannot stay in that room – here I am to share all of it with you! 🙂
Well, I have met Alison <3 I already knew she had a fantastic voice but she also has a lovely laugh. I was able to tell her that I loved ‘Black Balloon’ which turns out to be one of Damian’s favorite The Kills songs, too! And I tell Damian that I am very happy for him. I am really happy for him and I am sure Helen is smiling from above because he has followed her advice and is living his life <3
And the first thing I say to him once it is only the two of us in the room:
“So I have you for myself for 10 minutes.”
Yes. So let’s do 10 minutes of intense interviewing.
Well, Damian, don’t you worry, I have everything planned in my mind!
First: The evening before I got a message from Darlene, a fellow fan I have become good friends with online. She really wanted to come to the Q&A but she had another commitment that was planned months ago and she very kindly asked me if I could get an autograph from Damian for her. I was not able to promise her anything since I did not know how much time I could get with Damian but when I have him for 10 minutes which has become 15 in the end it was easy to give him a piece of paper and tell him to please sign it for Darlene. He graciously obliged. And he thought it was sweet of me doing this for a fellow fan. This is what I call a true win-win: a beautiful autograph for Darlene and brownie points for me! 😀
As I jumped in to take a photo of a fan with him earlier and now asked for an autograph on behalf of Darlene, we talk about me being the new Freda 😀 And it is all good with photos and autographs but what will we do when fans start to ask for his hair?!?! If you don’t know what I am talking about, you definitely need to watch ‘Good Ol’ Freda‘ the fabulous documentary about Freda Kelly who was managing the Beatles Official Fan Club!
Second: I have Damian sign my book for me. We also have a selfie taken together with the book. It may sound funny that an author has her book signed by someone else. But it makes complete sense in this case because that someone else is the inspiration for the book. It is true that I came to Billions for Damian and stayed for the show. And even though he was not in Season 6, unlike many other fans, I kept watching. But Damian is the reason that the book exists in the first place. If Damian had not been in Billions, I would not have followed the show as closely as I have. Period. So here you go… as the first anniversary of the book’s release is fast approaching, here is me, my muse and my book!
Third, I ask if I can ask him something off the record. And I am happy to share the exchange with you since I haven’t got an answer! 🙂
“Are you coming back to Billions?”
“You will be the first person to know… when I know.”
“But you teased about it twice – on Anfield Wrap podcast and then at British Grand Prix, too.” (I wrote about it here)
”You know I like to tease.”
“Give me a hug.”
😀 😀 😀
Some are gifted at changing the conversation!
Now – since there is no way I will be the first person to know if Damian comes back to Billions, it may be a no. But if it is a no, why did he not just say no?
And only a few days after I chat with Damian, Hollywood Reporter reports that David Nevins, the top executive of Paramount Global, has revealed at Edinburgh TV Festival that Billions Season 7 has interesting things to say about the Russian oligarchs in London given the show “has a particular angle on it.”Huh?!?!?! Now, does this mean there will be some filming in London? I mean… we all know who lives in London! So I am more confused than ever now! Brian Koppelman tweeted that they are writing Season 7 and will start filming at the end of October so I guess we will have to wait and see what happens!
I have many more questions (“Will we be able to see you as Henry VIII again?” or “Now that Spectrum on Demand is shutting its doors, where will your American fans watch A Spy Among Friends? or “Should we expect more music gigs?” and so more) but I do not want to take more of his time – yeah I can be kind at times, too 🙂 But Damian is the one who offers to make a little video for the fandom – both to thank the fans as well as to promote the blog and the fan site. And given that he is a great actor who can keep a straight face through funny moments, the end product is the most hysterically funny fandom video in my opinion. I can’t believe he plays along every single time!
Damian goes on talking about the work we do on the sites. He says he said it before that we’re doing an amazing job on the sites. And I, me being the humble person that I am, say that yes I know we are amazing 🙂 We talk about Fan Fun turning 8 years old in January 2023. I tell him we should do something special when the blog turns 10. And he goes with a grin:
“We’ll definitely do something. Don’t you worry.”
He asks if my husband knows how amazing I am. Oh he certainly knows, I say. He is my biggest supporter. And he would definitely have been here if he had not have to travel to Austin to help his niece to move into her new apartment. By the way, I say, my husband believes these days, after seeing him sign the set list I stole from the stage floor in London in Turkish for me, that Damian is learning Turkish to impress me 🙂
When I tell him that there is no way he has learnt “Teşekkür” (equivalent of “Thanks”) for me, Damian says he also learnt “Teşekkür ederim (equivalent of a formal “Thank you”) and I am in awe! He has a great Turkish accent, too! But the thing is I am pretty sure he has learnt all of this on the set of his upcoming cold war spy mini-series ‘A Spy Among Friends‘ since a good part of the story takes place in Istanbul – thanks to the book, I now know that Istanbul, along with Beirut, used to be a major spy hub back in the 1950s.
Nicholas Elliott, the real life MI-6 agent Damian brings to life in the mini-series, worked in Istanbul and he even married there. Damian stays mum about how he has honed his skills in Turkish language but we decide it is better if my husband believes that he is learning Turkish for me 🙂 We’re villains ha ha.
Damian gets surrounded by people who want to have stuff signed (we’re not talking about fans here, these are professionals who later sell the autographed items on eBay) as we leave the building. He says it was lovely to see me. It was so so so lovely to see him. It was particularly lovely to see him happy. Tesekkur ederim, Damian! Till next time.