Over the years Damien Lewis has been seen the big screen in one of my favorite films, as well as being invited into my home countless times portraying several incredible characters over the years, and yet he seems to be underrated far too often. I seek to bring his brilliance into the light.
He is one of my all time favorite actors, and deserves to be recognized for his skills and his natural abilities and here are 4 reasons why he deserves more recognition.
He studied at the Guildhall School
Now, you may ask: what does that have to do with anything? - Well, let me tell you.
The Guildhall School of Music & Drama is one of the top conservatories in the Eastern Hemisphere for actors, musicians, managers and the like. Damian studied there for 3 years with a couple notables, namely: Daniel Craig & Joseph Fiennes.
Those are a couple solid classmates if I may say so myself. The Guildhall has trained many others:
- Orlando Bloom (Legolas & Will Turner)
- Ewan McGregor (Young Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars)
- Lily James (Lady Rose MacClare from Downton Abbey)
- Max Irons (Edward IV from The White Queen)
- Dame Eileen Atkins (Royal Shakespeare Company)
- Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter from the Marvel Universe)
- Naveen Andrews (Sayid from Lost)
- Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey)
- George Blagden (Athelstan from Vikings)
This just goes to prove that Damian has the ability to give you a top quality presence whenever you see his name attached. He has a phenomenal ability to personify the character that he is portraying, and a great deal of that is from his time with the Guildhall.
He is incredibly passionate about acting.
After Damian's training at the Guildhall, he spent several years exclusively in the theatre. He had grand notions of being the 'new kings of theatre' with his friends, but "That's the image" as he puts it. He looks back on his years in theatre with the RSC and he's flooded nostalgia saying, "You're passionate and earnest and young, and you want to talk about the theatre and acting all night long; the romance of being on stage and the shared experience of fellow actors and rehearsal rooms."
As his years with the RSC progressed he started realizing that there was a much larger world than where he was. His peers were suddenly making larger leaps in their careers and he followed his passion for acting which brought him ultimately to Steven Spielberg as he auditioned for Band of Brothers. Almost losing his spot after seeing Tom Hanks and thinking he didn't have a chance, so he went drinking the night before he was called back for a second audition. Ultimately exposing him to the grander world that he was seeking. He followed this up with, arguably one of the biggest flops, called Dreamcatcher. It had all the elements that could have been a sure hit: Based on a Stephen King novel, a young, vibrant cast: Damian, Thomas Jane, Timothy Olyphant, Jason Lee along with two veterans in Morgan Freeman and Tom Sizemore.
Although the film realm did not pan out as his other colleagues had, it gave Damian some clarity as he returned to television and England and brought us the Forsyte Saga Series I & II. He spent the next few years on some smaller movies and several mini-series and long run shows.
All in all, he loves what he is doing and he is constantly looking to portray the best character that he can, as is evidenced in his portrayal of Charlie Crews in the cancelled-too-soon Life, and his brilliant presence as Nicholas Brody in Homeland with two more shows coming soon that should generate wonderful buzz for Damian: Billions and To Appomattox.
He can create incredible characters.
This is partly in unison with the second reason because they're very much intertwined. No matter the praise, the press or the prestige. He loves the characters that he helps develop. It's part of his love for acting. You look at some of the characters that he has created over the years, and you can't help but feel the depth that he helps create.
- Nicholas Brody - Homeland
- Charlie Crews - Life
- Henry VIII - Wolf Hall
- Richard D. Winters - Band of Brothers
- Soames Forsyte - The Forsyte Saga
- William Keane - Keane
- Jonesy - Dreamcatcher
Being born and raised in London hasn't stopped Damian from creating incredible American characters. Much to the same talent as Hugh Laurie and their ability to convey brilliant american accents as is something that Damian is well known for, seeing as he has on numerous occasions portrayed American military officers.
He is incredibly lighthearted.
Damian is one of those actors that just, kind of, gets it. He understands that no matter what the circumstance, he is lucky to be doing what he loves and have a beautiful family as well. He is happily married to Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy - Harry Potter & the Half-Blood/Deathly Hallows) with 2 children, and through his personal life he understand the importance of keeping lighthearted and always being able to laugh at yourself and just be yourself no matter what may be going on.
All in all, I think Damian Lewis misses a lot of recognition that he should receive, but it never gets to him because he's happy with his life and the success that he has achieved.