Of course, I can’t say that I’d never heard of the name Damian Lewis, he’s a bit of a national treasure here in the UK. And of course, I had heard of Homeland, I’d just never taken the time to watch it until lockdown.
I was blown away by the show and binge watched through to the end, but my favourite seasons were those that included Brody. What an amazing job Damian did with the character. The next thing I know I’m binge watching this actor in what was his current series at the time, Billions. And lo and behold, I’m now a fan of Damian Lewis 🙂
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the World Premiere screening of A Spy Among Friends at the BFI London Film Festival on the 7th of October. And by lucky, I mean incredibly lucky! Due to heavy traffic on the BFI website I decided to go over to the BFI itself (in the rain!) about 10 or so minutes from my workplace. I managed to get the last 2 tickets before the screening was completely sold out..didn’t I say I was lucky?
The World Premiere was held at the Curzon Mayfair. We were told we were alongside another screening taking place at the same time, so things began fairly quickly. The 2 episodes were introduced by actors Damian Lewis, Anna Maxwell Martin, series creator Alexander Cary and director Nick Murphy.
The show spans across 30 years in the mid 20th century, moving between 3 different interrogations. Damian Lewis’ character, SIS (later MI6) agent Nicholas Elliot, is questioned by MI5 interrogator Mrs Taylor, played brilliantly by Anna Maxwell Martin. Kim Philby, a double agent working for the KGB and SIS, also a friend of Elliot’s, is played by Guy Pearce. Philby is interrogated both by Elliot in Beirut and, in another setting, his Soviet handler played by Karel Roden.
These episodes are a very intense watch, however, the intensity is broken down by a, at times, witty performance from Damian Lewis. A trip to the theatre to see a comedic performance also shows just how much emotion Damian can convey without saying a word in a beautifully acted scene which was one of my personal highlights of the first episode, I’ll say no more regarding this scene!
I’d also like to highlight Guy Pearce’s performance as Kim Philby, from what I know he was not the first choice for this role but, wow, was he an excellent choice. The 2 lead performances will definitely bring in some very high praises.
Those of you who love Homeland won’t be disappointed, after all the show runner is Alexander Cary who worked on many episodes of Homeland. From the jazz score, to the many different cities as a backdrop (from Vienna to London to Beirut), to intense interrogations and, of course, the espionage thriller aspect of the show.
In the Q&A after episode 2 wrapped up, Damian was asked about the relationship between Elliott and Philby at the core of the show, the word ‘bromance’ was answered! He went on to say that the show is very much about love and betrayal. I’m very interested to see what, if any, cracks form in the relationship of these two friends.
Roll on November when the show airs on ITVX!