In celebration of the day, I would love to take you back to more than four years ago, a very cold evening in December 2018, when I caught up with Damian Lewis at Bobby Axelrod’s Favorite Pizzeria. ENJOY!
I’ve been reading The New Yorker quite religiously for more than a decade now. I don’t remember how many subscriptions I gave to friends as gifts over the years and it is still one of the few subscriptions that I receive in the mail every week. And, the New Yorker Festival feels like the pages of the magazine literally coming to life for a weekend throughout the city with talks, conversations, readings, performances, panels with individuals that are at the top of their game in their respective fields — including arts, sciences, politics, sports, theater, music, literature, film, TV, food and more… As someone that attended quite a few events at the festival over the years, I can confidently say that, independent of the context, all events share one characteristic: intelligence. The festival participants are without exception endowed with some real brainpower. They are, in The New Yorker‘s own words, “some of the most talented and influential thinkers about topics ranging from politics to pop music, science to cinema, and so much more.”
Well, it is the New Yorker Festival time of the year again! And I cannot help go back to my most favorite New Yorker Festival moment ever. It was exactly seven (whaaaaaaaa??????) years ago that JaniaJania and I were extremely lucky to attend the fabulous conversation New Yorker staff writer Lauren Collins had with Damian Lewis at the festival.
When I saw this tweet, I wanted to scream on top of my lungs “it is going to happen!” but of course I restrained myself 🙂 Now that everyone has seen the fantastic Episode 7, I can spill the beans! Join me!
This blog has had an interesting relationship with Billions. I launched the blog only two weeks before they started shooting the pilot in New York and I have been very lucky to catch up with Damian on the set once every season since. I do not know how many times you need to do a thing for it to become a tradition, but catching up with Damian on Billions set once a year certainly feels like a tradition now.
Billions is first and foremost a New York show. And there is nothing more natural than the darkest day of the city, September 11, still shadowing the lives and relationships of our characters. Besides, we all know 9/11 was particularly a very dark day for financial services firms many of which had offices in the World Trade Center. Cantor Fitzgerald lost two thirds of its workforce on 9/11.
One of the first things we learn about Axe in The Pilot that he is a 9/11 survivor. He is, in fact, the only partner that survived the terrorist attacks because he was out of office in meetings while most of his colleagues and friends died. And seeing that Axe Capital is located in Westport, Connecticut, we also find out Axe Capital is among the financial houses that chose to move from Wall Street to neighboring Connecticut or New Jersey after the destruction of downtown NYC on 9/11.
We then find Axe in a conference room at Axe Capital with the widows and children of his friends that died on 9/11. Axe has been giving college scholarships to these kids for years. He has been keeping it private that there has never been a press release or an interview with him about it.