This week marks the 75th anniversary of the Siege at Bastogne, a pivotal confrontation in Battle of the Bulge, which saw the Allied forces assert their most courageous and bloody defense against the last big push by Nazi forces in WWII.
The Bastogne episode of Band of Brothers was arguably the most emotionally intense and beautifully filmed of the series. It was like watching a dream sequence through a filter of constant snow, a bitter cold that you could almost feel in your bones as you’re watching. Like an opera of bodies, bent over, running for cover, crouching near trees, or frozen solid to the ground. You could watch all the action without sound and still feel it viscerally.
Did anyone see the new Star Wars this weekend? The sight of the salt planet with the blood red soil under the thin layer of salt brought immediately to this viewer’s mind the red against white of the smoke grenades the soldiers in Band of Brothers set off to obscure their positions from the Germans. Such a visually poignant and memorable cinematic effect.
We talked about how Damian Lewis became Dick Winters earlier here. Dick Winters is not only the first “American” that Damian brought to life on screen, but it is also the role that made him an internationally known actor. Accordingly, after his big success in Band of Brothers, Damian was offered roles in Hollywood, including a part in Black Hawk Down which he turned down to do… Well… The Forsyte Saga!
When asked in an interview with Now Magazine in 2001 about why he turned down Black Hawk Down, Damian Lewis jokingly says:
Today is Veterans Day – a day of honoring all men and women that served in the United States armed forces. And it gives us a great opportunity to salute all war heroes, and in particular Major Dick Winters and Easy Company.
I know a thing or two about war. My day job is to study and understand war. I have written academic articles on war, I have taught on war… and even though I can write about war for pages and talk about it for hours as a scholar, the human cost of war is still incomprehensible to me.
Let me take a moment and look at my own family. My maternal grandmother never knew her father because he was a soldier in WWI in the Eastern Front in Turkey, and he literally froze because of the cold as he fought against the Russians. My paternal grandmother never knew her father, either; because he was also a soldier in WWI and was killed by a shrapnel in Gallipoli as he fought against the Anzacs. Continue reading “We Salute Major Dick Winters – The Rank and The Man – on Veterans Day”
“This sounds absurdly pretentious, but the American Damian, I’m sort of oddly comfortable with him.” – Damian Lewis
A Guardian article from July 2015 talks about Brits versus Yanks in Hollywood:
“The invasion of British and Irish leading men in Hollywood has now gone beyond a joke for many in the American entertainment industry. First noticed some time in 2011, the trend was initially dismissed as a novelty: an interesting phase that would pass, rather than as a threat. But this summer actors and directors are calling for action to mobilise American drama teachers and schools to counter it.”
So Hollywood has finally taken notice and is now somehow mobilizing to defend its territory against the British invasion 😀 Well, maybe it is too little too late at this point? I mean, it is not that the Brits are coming, but they have already arrived. Besides, Vanity Fair says “victory is assured” in the video clip below, with fabulous ginger alert at 0:29, about which I blogged about earlier here! Continue reading “From Dick Winters to Steve McQueen: The “American” Damian Lewis”
I’ve always known this, that’s why I have never watched it. I’d start thinking about the subject matter, remember photo stills of the scenes I’ve glimpsed over the years, and just KNEW it would be nightmare city for me. You can call me delicate, call me a wuss, I don’t really care. This show? This show is not for me.
But I need to be clear: I do not want, for one moment, for my thoughts on war or my inability to sit through a show this intense, to be mistaken for criticism or ingratitude for the sacrifices made by so many. I am a descendant of men and women who served, and I benefit every day of my life because of those who went before me. I would never disparage their time spent defending our country, and their great sacrifices in doing so. Continue reading “I finally watched Damian Lewis in Band of Brothers – Redux”