As the episode Entirely Beloved starts, we learn that Cromwell’s beloved Cardinal Wolsey is more ostracized than ever, urged by the King to go further north, further away from the political center of the country. And we see Cromwell holding fast to his mission of getting the Cardinal back in favor with the King.
Meanwhile, Wolsey is destitute, flagellating himself on the advice of monks who visit and likely believe that the suffering he is going thru is the result of a sin that must be expiated with even more suffering. A cat gives birth to a litter of black kittens under Wolsey’s bed. Cromwell promptly translates the dark omen into something optimistic. He doesn’t want the Cardinal to give up hope.
“It’s no roistering doistering Tudor romp.” – Damian Lewis
Indeed. Be forewarned, in Wolf Hall, viewers will get no heaving bosoms, no bodices ripped by spoiled princes with fickle insatiable appetites. The King’s private life and private matters are very much the subject of this drama, but the King’s chambers are very much off limits to the camera throughout this series.
Wolf Hall is about Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell did all his most significant work during the reign of Henry VIII, thus, Wolf Hall is also about Henry VIII, but only insofar as the King is the patron and leader and provider of opportunity behind Cromwell’s ideas. Lots of things changed in fact and in spirit during this time in English History. Since England was such an expansionist empire, these ideas rippled throughout the world, and, even you, especially you, dear America, were a beneficiary of the ideas born in the time this story is told.
Strange to talk about a series that happened over 10 years ago, but discussing Damian Lewis’ oeuvre without touching on Soames Forsyte and the Forsyte Saga would just be incomplete.
Imagine if you will, a 30 year old actor just returned from completing his first “Hollywood” venture, the most expensive series ever produced and shown on HBO, Band of Brothers. It was a hit! Everyone wants him! Everyone wants him to come back over the pond and play….another soldier. Word has it, and Damianista just mentioned this week, that Damian was offered a role in Blackhawk Down and turned it down to stay in England and play Soames Forsyte. One may speculate he told the casting folks that he can’t do it but his good friend and fellow Eton-ite Ewan MacGregor might be free. 🙂 Of course, BHD was a great film, but, boy, we’re glad DL said no. Continue reading “Soames Forsyte”
More than anything, and more than any other work about terrorism, Homeland is about exploring the gray areas, between good and evil, between “warfare and terrorism”. The show is about forcing us to think about the real costs and rethink our understanding of the real victims of both war and terrorism. We meet Brody and we see what he is planning to do. And we’re encouraged to think: Okay, if this conservative white man from middle America can become someone who would blow himself and a bunch of people up, then….maybe, just maybe, those men strapping on vests all over the Middle East, or even those men flying planes into buildings, are also men who were led on a path of evil the same way Brody was, by pervasive systematic abuse? And maybe, part of the abuse on those men and children strapping on vests was perpetrated by someone you and I and our neighbors voted for? I don’t think Homeland ever sought to be an apologist for terrorism, they’re not trying to justify any of the evil. They just want to shine a thoughtful, intelligent light on it; a light radically different than any other treatment of the subject.
I loved playing Brody. I’m extremely proud of who we all created together. I think he’s a tragic hero for our time. He himself embodies a cautionary tale, going right back to the beginning, about sending young men to war and the damage it can do. – Damian Lewis
Brody is not a hero. – Damian Lewis
I’m no hero – Nicholas Brody
Someone commented on my Before Dick Winters There Was Nicholas Brody post something to the effect that the two men cannot be cast in the same light, Brody was not a hero, at least not in the same way Winters was. In a frenzy of purging the copious junk mail wordpress seems to attract, I accidentally deleted that comment before responding. Given there are such differing opinions on Brody, the response to the “Hero or No” question deserves a full post (or two). So here it be! Continue reading “Nicholas Brody was No Hero, Part One”