Throwback Thursday to Meeting Bobby Axelrod on Billions Pilot Set

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

Billions has now arrived and the pilot has become the BEST performance ever for a Showtime original series – HURRAH!

In our collective blog about our first impressions of Billions pilot, I said the following about my favorite line of the episode: “What’s the point of having FU Money if you never say FU?” I know this one is so obvious but it is very personal for me so I need to go with this. “How so?” you ask? Oh I’ll tell you all about it in a few weeks :)”

It’s now time to tell the story 🙂 It is, in fact, the story of how Damian Lewis found out about this very blog. And so it is very personal!

Well… I told you earlier Homeland was our local show. They filmed it in Charlotte, two and a half hours from our house, and we never made it to the set. So, when I found out they would shoot Billions pilot in New York, and we live in North Carolina and New York… I promised myself that if they filmed somewhere in the city, I would go… just not to regret later! I guess that’s my MOTTO for everything in life. Life is TOO SHORT to postpone anything if you afford to do it now! 🙂

So here comes a Throwback Thursday to February 3, 2015 — almost a year ago. The blog is just one month old and I am dying to find a way to tell Damian Lewis about it. But how? You know he is not listed in the phone book 😀 So when I find out on Twitter they are shooting Billions in midtown NYC and just ONE subway station from our apartment… Well… Nice! The downside is it is one of those sunny but freezing mornings with temps in teens! Is it really worth going to the set without even knowing if there is a slim chance of seeing your favorite actor? But then again what’s the point of having a fan blog for him if he never finds out about it? 🙂 Fair enough. Lewisto and I put on our warmest puffy jackets, complete with hats, gloves and boots, and off we go to Billions set!

First, we notice the yellow NO PARKING signs on the street… Honestly, I had never noticed them before… until I found out they are posted there by film crews — now, I am an expert!

source: Damianista
source: Damianista

They film indoors at New York Times Center which I blogged about in our Billions NYC locations post. We need to wait outside and keep fingers crossed Damian will somehow get out. The food catered for the cast and the crew is set up outside on the sidewalk. That is our one chance.

We see many extras, men and women in nice business suits, and with badges saying Delivering Alpha on them. I have no idea then about what Delivering Alpha is about. Now I know it is an annual conference hosted by CNBC (please note Andrew Ross Sorkin, one of the Billions executive producers is also a co-anchor on CNBC’s pre-market morning news program Squawk Box) and Institutional Investor and held in New York City. We, in fact, have hedge-fund titans Bobby Axelrod (Axe Capital) and Steven Birch (Piedmont Capital) on a Delivering Alpha panel discussion in the pilot!

source: Showtime
source: Showtime
source: Showtime
source: Showtime

Back to us standing in the cold… The catering staff is the sweetest people in the world that deserve a special mention here. They offer us tea/coffee, and food; in particular one of them even offers us her hand warmers!

In the meantime, Paul Giamatti comes out for coffee, David Costabile comes out for food… On a regular day, I’d go say hi and even ask for a picture, but I cannot even think about it now. I mean… Paul F***in’ Giamatti is standing next to me having coffee, and I don’t even say hi? And I love him!  But I am glued to the glass windows keeping an eye on what’s going on inside… The catering staff has been working on the set for a while now, so they know everyone. And, they say “the tall guy” is rarely coming out. Ok. It seems we will have a longer wait than we thought we would.

Confession: We, give or take, waited for 10 hours.

It’s 5 pm. We now know filming is not a 9 to 5 job. Not even close. As people get outside for a smoke or some snack, I ask them if they are still shooting and they tell me they now start shooting rehearsals, and it can go until late, 9 – 10pm or so. One guy I talk to asks me whether I am a friend of a cast or a crew member and I say I am just a fan… And, hey, that guy turns out to be no other than… Steve Gilroy that plays Mike Dimonda, the journalist from Financial Journal, to whom Axe feeds information about Steven Birch in the pilot! Dimonda is attending Delivering Alpha to work on his Pulitzer! 🙂

source: Showtime

10pm??? What? In fact, in the following days there were tweets from Brian Koppelman saying they were done by 3am in the morning! Yes, actors are paid well here, probably better than anywhere in the world, but they work REALLY hard. They seem to have very long working hours which I did not figure out before…  but I am thinking more about my freezing hands and feet more than their long working hours now. At least they are warm inside 🙂

So when I hear “10pm” I am ready to leave. And, Lewisto says, “Ok, you go… I will wait.” Seriously? And, we wait… taking turns going to New York Times Building nearby for 10 minute breaks to indulge in its wonderful heater… And at some point we buy hand and foot warmers as well. What a day!

Then I spot Damian. He’s walking left and right but never towards the door. I spot him, but then I think, with my feet going numb and all, maybe I am seeing some kind of “mirage” like the people in the desert do 🙂 But no, I spot him right… That walk, man, that walk… You cannot miss that walk — you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? 🙂

I am glued to the glass window. I see Toby Moore and Condola Rashad at the head of the stairs. They are obviously shooting downstairs. Remember the scene downstairs at NY Times Center? Yes, you do!

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

It is almost 8:30pm. All of a sudden, Damian appears at the head of the stairs. He turns around and starts walking… towards the entrance… towards us. The “tall guy” that rarely goes out is hitting the door…  I feel like I am rooting for a quarterback going for his touchdown. “Come on, Damian, come on!”

And… touchdown! All of a sudden, it’s me, Lewisto, the catering staff and Damian Lewis on the sidewalk. Damian asks about the ribs, someone told him they were good, alas they are all gone. But I am sending my heartfelt thanks to the person who recommended the ribs — whoever you are, you made my DAY!

I know from what I read earlier that Damian likes to stay in character on set but now I understand what THAT means. This is the hedge-fund king standing next to me. And he is studying the food table:

“Mr. Lewis?”

“Hi, honey, how are you?”

This is not Damian. This is Bobby “Axe” Axelrod. Damian is totally in character and speaking in his American accent, too. How cool is that? And, oh, I am doing well, I have not been doing well until a minute ago, but I am actually doing super well at this moment 🙂

“Do you have five minutes?”

He smiles: “Yes, I do.”

And, I properly introduce ourselves, then tell about the blog…

“Thank you so much for doing this.”

But one can tell he’s a little bit puzzled that a college professor is doing a fan blog for him… I guess we are expected to do only serious things. But, believe me, this is not so much different from thinking about Jean Jacques Rousseau and his work, and write about it. We think seriously about Damian Lewis and his work and write about it. Anyhow, hilarious or not, we are doing it, and will keep doing it as long as Damian keeps inspiring us — and we know he will!

Damian is really sorry to hear we have waited for 10 hours… Haha I even show him the hand warmers to add to the drama 🙂

Then he is not Bobby anymore… but still in American accent. I tell him about Fan Fun with Damian Lewis and he seems to be intrigued. He is very kind and generous with his time, he asks for all my information and puts it into his jacket pocket, asks about our jobs, what we teach, and in fact, poor guy cannot get to eat anything because he talks to us until someone comes to say he has to go back for the shoot.

They are shooting rehearsals when Damian comes outside. So they shoot the real “FU money” scene after he gets in. And this means he has my information in his pocket as he delivers THAT line — one sweet memory that no one can take away from me — which makes it quite personal for me 🙂

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

I think Axe’s “FU Money” line can become a classic in TV history; however I claim Lewisto’s line to Damian as he is leaving is an instant classic: “Hey, Damian, you know what? She broke up with Kevin Costner for you. Her first blog post is about that. You should read it.”

*****Damianista blushes big time*****

Damian: (laughing): “I will READ it.”

I don’t know if Damian ever read that post. But if you want to read it, it’s here.

And, as my dear Bookworm says: “You won’t be out in the cold if you stand by your Axe! ” 🙂

source: Damianistasource: Damianista

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!

31 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday to Meeting Bobby Axelrod on Billions Pilot Set”

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment and, as usual, thanks so much for all the support you have given us – can’t thank you enough! Lovely story indeed! It was such a roller coaster day but the wait was TOTALLY WORTH it and you should have seen Damian’s face when I proudly showed him my hand warmers. He was probably like “who is this crazy woman waiting for me 10 hours at 10F?” 😀

  1. I really have found my tribe. I would have waited in the cold for him, as well. Love that your note was in his pocket! Makes the scene all the more special.

    1. Holly, yes, we are one HAPPY tribe – LOVE THIS! Thank you so much for your kind note! Oh yeah, I just can’t stop smiling whenever I see the “FU Money” scene. It makes the scene so special and makes that 10 hour wait in brutal cold totally worth it! Cheers to our Tribe and long years of Damian Lewis FUN together!

  2. a treat to read your posts, what luck you have to have met several times Damian
    I would, too waited for hours in the cold, for one minute with Damian !! You described him so well, what kindness from him, and you know, I’m sure he has read your blog, now I close my computer, because I’ll watch, Wolf Hall at the tv!

    What a beautiful night!

    1. Thanks so much, Monique! Damian is such a kind guy that I want to share his kindness with the world so everyone knows. Well, he has told us in October that he’s reading us, and he could not have made us happier! I hope he read that post about me breaking up with Kevin Costner for him just because it’s a hilarious story! Oh, yes, Wolf Hall is starting in France tonight – what a treat, Have a good time with Henry, Monique!<3

  3. The only thing better than that story was hearing it in person!

    There is nothing better than meeting someone you admire and them living up to expectations.

    You are a lucky lady!!

    1. Thank you! I vividly remember the day we first met and I shared the story with you <3 There is always the risk that someone you admire does not live up to expectations --- but luckily not with Damian. He's one of the kindest people I've ever met! Good luck with the snow storm, stay safe! But I guess we are receiving it and then sending it north to you guys 🙂

    2. I’m glad I ran into this. I love Damian! I even wrote him years ago c/o his British agent, but never received a reply.

      I think I’ve seen just about everything he’ s been in…

      Keep it up, there will be plenty of readers.

      1. Hi Jean! Thank you so much for reading! We’ve been blogging over a year now — we celebrated our 1st birthday two weeks ago — and it is the fans and our readers like yourself that keep us going and going! And a certain ginger telling us he’s reading us is not hurting ,either 🙂 We will keep it up! Hope you come visit us again and leave feedback. All the best!

      2. I write him, a few years ago, and he sent me an autographed photo! I had say, him, that I had cancer in the breast, healed now, and that the fact, thinking for him, watch his movies, read everything you told on him, had helped me much, and had enhanced my healing!

        And that’s the truth, knowing Damian gave me a good morale, I knew I was going to heal!

        It is for this that I love so Damian!

        1. What a wonderful story, Monique! I recently lost a family member to cancer and I know how hard it is to deal with it — not just for the patient but for the whole family. I am so happy you are cured, cheers to THAT! And cheers to many many years of good health and Damian Lewis FUN! 🙂

  4. A woman of my own heart!!! Lolol. Love this!!! I woulda waited with you. My friend and I followed and waited for a certain Rent person in Seattle From the theatre to the bay!!! We must have been friends in a previous life!! Love it!!!

    1. Thank you!!!!! I know we were friends in a previous life, Carol! And I know you would wait with me — scarf post will be coming soon in a few weeks and featuring a special guest star, YOU <3 It's a privilege to wear gloves made by the woman who also knitted for Damian. Thank you!!!! 🙂

    1. Hi Monique, Damian is in London. In fact, he and Helen were spotted at theatre last night – it seems life is good! 🙂 They finished shooting Billions Season 1 mid December. Now that the show has been renewed for a second season — YAYYYY! — Damian will be back in New York again in summer to start shooting should they keep the same shoot schedule as Season 1.

  5. Oh dear Lord! You are my hero! Not Damian aka Bill!! YOU Damianista! I admire your hard work, passion and persistence of going until end!

    1. Thank you my beloved Ghursday for your kind words!!!! We missed you much around here, thanks for visiting and reading us! <3 Who knew that 10 hour wait in the brutal cold would turn into one of my sweetest memories ever? And it did! That's how Damian learnt about me being a professor, and that's why he asked "is she the tutor?" later in London 🙂

  6. WOW! Never and ever in my life have i been this addicted. I can proudly say this, you are the reason why have been addictive to Damian Lewis and your love for Damian has kept the consistence of this blog. Trust me, he’s definitely reading everything. Thumbs up and keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Olas! THANK YOU! You know what? It’s the comments like this that keep us going and going! Thank you so much for your very kind words. True. Our love for Damian has, I think, kept the consistence of the blog because we have (we all have full time jobs!) really given our 200% to keep it the way it is and we could not be happier if we made “addicts” through our work 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words. Promise you that we will keep up the work! We trust you and trust Damian, too, who told us at the New Yorker Festival last October that he’s been reading us. He described our work as “journalistic, in-depth and creative.” He could not have made us happier!

  7. I was so excited when l’d found

    you blog I read it several times . I really enjoy reading

    Your article , l’m also a big fan

    of Damian Lewis , I can’t wait

    to read your next article

    1. Thank you so much, Florence, for visiting and reading us! Please keep your feedback coming, we love hearing from all fans!
      We are obviously BIG fans, too, and it’s our pleasure to share Damian Lewis love and FUN with all other fans. We just want this place to be a meeting point for all Damian Lewis fans to talk about our favorite actor and his brilliant work! All the Best.

  8. OMG are we soulmates or what? Yes, that walk! While watching Billions with my friend (not in the same location, but over text in real time) I texted him and said, “Look at his walk. I love this man’s walk!”

    1. Yes, we are! THAT WALK! Even my terribly near-sighted eyes can discern THAT WALK. Remember Axe’s walk at the end of Episode 10? Bobby looks at Donnie’s picture and walks away. I can watch him walk like that for hours… Oh God I just crave Billions now!

      1. Yep I can watch him walk for hours too. The walk towards his office when he comes back from his yacht after almost phoning it all in. The walk into his office when he finds Wendy waiting for him “Been here a while?” It’s actually how he opens the door to his office without looking at the door handle, keeping his eyes steadfast on Wendy sitting at his desk. *gasp*

        1. Oh yeah that walk at the end of Episode 5: The Good Life!!! I saved the gif on my computer as GreekGod2.gif for some reason 😀 😀 😀

          1. Thank you for everything you do, for Damian and for us his fans! I love the way walking from Damian, he has an almost royal look!
            I love him more and more!, And I am so happy, that thanks to you, we know that he is very nice and kind!
            Above all, never abandon us!

          2. Awww Monique, you are SO NICE and SO KIND. Thanks so much for your support! You have been with us maybe from day one and we will always be grateful! We will be hope to be around as long as Damian is around, hopefully for a long, long, long time and altogether. Damian is lucky to have this wonderful fandom and making friends with wonderful fans like yourself is the biggest prize for doing this blog. And, hey, there is no way you can miss THAT WALK! Much much love <3

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