Being a (somewhat) musician, I am always on alert for the effect of music on a show. I work in musical theater when not teaching, so the music there is often integral to the plot. But for regular movies and TV shows, the music still can add an element of drama and emotion that would hard to obtain otherwise. Think of movies like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET (sensing a John Williams theme here??) and the impact the music played there in the emotional moments of those shows.
Brian Koppelman gets this. He has been around music all his life, and if you follow him on Twitter you know he has very strong opinions about music. (Don’t ever ask him about the Sammy Hagar era of Van Halen – trust me, just don’t.) He and I both grew up in the 80’s alternative music scene. We are both REM fans, although where he prefers “Automatic for the People” I go with “Life’s Rich Pageant”, which leads me to my first musical choice for my playlist, and the one that early on got me paying attention to the song choices. Continue reading “Top Billions Songs: The Tail That Wags The Dog’s Playlist”
It is no secret we adore these love birds and we are extremely pleased to end the year, exactly like we did in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 with our favorite Damian & Helen moments of 2019!
Well, it is obviously not easy to be two ridiculously talented and busy actors living together and raising a family. I remember Damian telling us at Cheltenham Literature Festival that the problem never goes away:
“When you’re two actors living together, you’re always asked to do work away from your home, so you just have to decide which ones are important enough to go and do away from home and try to spend the rest of the time together.”
It never ceases to amaze me how philanthropic both Damian and Helen are, especially when it comes to theatrical works or for children and youth organizations that help deliver curricula in education, life skills, and the creative arts. And 2019 was no different! From theatre arts and Red Nose Day to charity concerts, ice cream, and BGC/GFI Charity Day, we have it all broken down for you here. Let’s get started with an unexpected and surprising theatrical performance, Whodunnit.
This summer at London’s Park Theatre Damian participated in Whodunnit[Unrehearsed], a murder mystery play, without having rehearsed or seen a script, all in the name of charity. Can you imagine acting in front of a live audience without any direction prior to your appearance? Each performance night meant there would be a different guest performer stepping in as the Inspector with a rehearsed ensemble. This means the only direction Damian received came via a hidden earpiece, receiving instructions as the actors on stage attempt to solve a crime in real time, all the while avoiding furniture and staggering their way to crack the case at hand. What I loved about the concept of this play is that the mystery was not so much who the murderer was, but who the Inspector would be! Ticket goers had no idea which celebrity would be appearing as the Inspector each night until the start of the play. Imagine you’re in the audience and they announce Damian Lewis to the stage. That’s exactly what happened to the woman in orange in this video:
Happy Labor Day! I am hoping most of you have had the chance to make that last beach trip before the summer ends while I have been sitting at my desk writing about Damian’s summer, the third in a row he has enjoyed fully!
Damian constantly worked all summers between 2011 while he was shooting Homeland to 2016 when they were starting the Billions shoot in summer. So, when asked by a fan at The Goat stage door back in May 2017 about what he would be doing between The Goat and Billions, whose shoot would not start until September, he responded promptly:
We know how important music is the world of Billions. Showrunner Brian Koppelman recently said on his podcast The Moment that he writes to music. He shared that he wrote the penultimate episode of Season 2, “Golden Frog Time” with Tom Petty’s “Even the Losers” as inspiration and that song played during the writing of the show as well as within the show itself. When the question arose to whether they’d get the rights to use the song in the episode, Koppelman insisted that without the song there’d be no episode, literally and metaphorically. Thankfully they did get that song and many more memorable cuts for Season 2.
In a wee bite of a taste of what to expect in Season 3, we learned that “Born in San Antone” by Garrett T. Capps will open the first episode. Here’s some of his Lou Reed-ish styling here:
Just occurred to me and I had to go and listen and check to make sure they indeed haven’t used this song in either S1 or S2: LCD Soundsystem’s “North American Scum” totally brings up the ethos of the Billions world. Again, not one from the show as we know it, but certainly one metaphorically connected, at least in this viewer’s head.
In the spirit of getting geared up for another season of rich musical accompaniment to this show, let’s revisit Season 2’s playlist. Enjoy!