Ah, the romantic comedy: A genre when presented as an evening’s viewing option has sent many an otherwise lovey-dovey couple to opposite ends of the couch. I have to say the romantic comedy has never been my first stop when Netflix surfing. Actually, it’s rarely my choice at all, unless When Harry Met Sally is on (the last great romantic comedy, IMO) or the least appreciated but my personal favorite of the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks vehicles: Joe vs. the Volcano. [The guy falls for different versions of the SAME woman; how much more romantic (and comedic) can you get?]
William Shakespeare knew a thing or two about romantic comedies. In fact, he invented the genre! The formula of boy meets girl, they run up against some obstacles, surmount said obstacles with the help of a jocular coterie of friends, and live happily ever after: That’s Shakespeare! And perhaps the most seminal of his romantic comedies is Much Ado About Nothing. The plot and characters gave rise to many adaptations and permutations. There was the beautifully hilarious big-screen adaptation in 1993 with real-life couple-at-the-time Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. More recently, in 2012, there was another lovely big-screen adaptation, this time by Joss Whedon, set in modern times but true to Shakespearean language. And between those two, in 2005, our very own Damian Lewis starred as Benedick in a BBC adaptation of the story, set in modern times with modern language, for their series Shakespeare ReTold.
This post is long overdue. We always hear fans say, and cannot agree with them more, that Damian Lewis can read the phone book and they can listen to him all day. Having said that, why would we have to hear Damian read the phonebook to us as we have much better books out there he could read for us?
YES! Damian narrates Audiobooks! If you have not tried it before, it is a total pleasure to have him read you a story. It feels like the equivalent of CBeebies for adults, highly recommended for bed time but also for anytime, doctor’s orders! And Damian has narrated a good variety of books that it is really easy to pick a favorite.
Of all the compelling themes in Billions, perhaps the most compelling is the relationship between Bobby Axelrod and Wendy Rhoades. We’ve all explored it as some point whenever we’ve talked about Billions. Damianista did a two-part treatise on the relationship between Bobby and Wendy: Part I, Part II. Bookworm saw the story of Peter Pan in them: Fly Away, Fly Away. I focused on their revelatory therapy session in “Magical Thinking” and imagined their back story as a fanfic: Rubble. Suffice it to say, the relationship has provoked a lot of thought.
Damian took part in a project that focused on a relationship very similar to Bobby and Wendy’s, many years prior to and a continent away from the world of Billions. That film, BBC’s Friends and Crocodiles, centered on a similarly charged platonic relationship between a vibrant man and the practical hard-working woman who could never leave his side, despite herself. Written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff, Friends and Crocodiles was an ambitious production exploring such lofty themes as class, creativity and navigation of British socioeconomic trends over several decades. It was also primarily focused on the possibilities within the passionately-felt work relationship between Paul Reynolds and Lizzie Thomas. Paul and Lizzie, in a way precursors of Bobby Axelrod and Wendy Rhoades, foretold the intricacies of creating and dramatizing such a relationship on screen. (For an excellent recap of the film, refer to Damianista’s TBT summary.)
If you feel the need you can debate who is making who look better, but I’m going to be diplomatic and say that Helen and Damian are just gorgeous together.
Quite honestly I have no idea how they manage to fit in everything that they do, but it is certainly true that life is not fun if you have no one to share it with. I’m sure Charlie Crews would in all likelihood give us a sad smile in agreement.
Chloe Fox of vogue described Helen and Damian in an interview from 2013 like this
So, with that wonderful quote in mind, the last blog of 2015 is looking back at our favourite couple hand in hand at various points throughout the year.
65th Berlinale International Film Festival
The couple attend the Berlinale for the premiere of Queen of the Desert in which Damian plays Charles Doughty-Wylie. Damianista actually posted about the Berlinale as an individual top moment for Damian as well.