Erstwhile Homeland star Damian Lewis could step into the role of King Henry VIII in BBC Two and Masterpiece‘s major adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize winning historical fiction novels Wolf Hall and …
AwardsLine Editor Christy Grosz, Managing Editor Anthony D’Alessandro and contributors Paul Brownfield and Thomas J. McLean assist with Deadline’s TV coverage.
Four of the lead acting drama series hopefuls Kevin Spacey (House Of Cards), Damian Lewis (Homeland), Kerry Washington (Scandal) and Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) share thoughts on their characters, shows and nominations.
AwardsLine: What is it about your character, U.S. Representative Francis Underwood, that translates to audiences? He can be so evil.
Spacey: It’s incredibly fun to play someone who doesn’t have any allegiances. He doesn’t care if he’s ideological or conservative. Francis sees opportunity and wants to get shit done. He wants progress and isn’t bound by labels. People view him as diabolical, but he’s very effective. To have our government in stalemate and in gridlock—it’s conceivable that this world is exciting for the audience.
Related: EMMYS: Drama Series Overview
Showtime has declassified the first trailer for the upcoming third season of its Emmy-winning drama starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin. Watch for Senate hearings; a hoodied, Heisenberg-esque Brody; his media-besieged teenage daughter; a possible conversion to Islam; an apology from Saul to Carrie; and …
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A little bit of a SPOILER ALERT is perhaps in order regarding the first two episodes of season three of the Showtime drama hit Homeland, which returns in originals on September 29. It isn’t about the plotline per se. It’s about star Damian Lewis, who won an Emmy in 2012 and is nominated again for his wrenching performance as Brody. It was revealed this afternoon during a TCA Homeland panel that Lewis won’t be seen in the first two episodes of the season, screeners of which were provided for critics. It baffled those in the room, and is probably unprecedented, that an actor who won the Emmy for lead actor in the drama should simply not appear in the first pair of episodes of the subsequent season. Co-showrunner Alex Gansa explained that the Brody disappearance is strictly a function of the story and shouldn’t be interpreted as indicative of the actor’s participation in the show beyond episode two. “It’s about where the story was taking us,” Gansa said. He was then asked by a critic if it would be a betrayal of those involved in the series were those in the room to report that Lewis is a no-show through at least those first two hours of the season. “No,” Gansa replied, “but it would be a betrayal to actually say when he’s back in the show.” Homeland won six Emmys in its first year of awards eligibility last year, including hitting the trifecta of outstanding drama series as well as for its two leads (Lewis and Claire Danes). How does Lewis feel about his early season absence? “Hey, these guys have been trying to kill me since the end of episode one,” he quipped, “when I had a stay of execution.” He said that he wasn’t surprised by the way the season opened for him, finding it to be “completely in line with the idea that you must be ruthless with story and character.”
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Homeland star Damian Lewis will join the cast of BBC sitcom The Vicar of Dibley when it reunites for Friday night’s Comic Relief telethon. This year’s Funny for Money broadcast is set to offer plenty of YouTube-ready revival sketches for viewers. Already set is Ricky Gervais resurrecting The Office character David Brent. The Vicar of Dibley’s reunion is its first since since another Comic Relief sketch in 2007, which co-starred Sting. Lewis was keen to take part, he said, because he’d been unavailable for past specials. “Some of my favorite actors are in The Vicar of Dibley and I grew up watching them on TV,” he said. He joins a high profile guest cast that includes Kylie Minogue, Sarah Ferguson and Johnny Depp.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage
Sunday was the night Showtime officially entered the Emmy big leagues thanks to its newest signature drama series, the pulse-pounding first-year Homeland. It won the pay-cabler its first Emmys in three different major categories: for top drama series as well as lead actor (Damian Lewis) and actress (Claire Danes). Only Danes’ win was considered a shoo-in. The other two were significant upsets, having broken lengthy winning streaks. The only omen that Homeland could be in for such a big night was its victory back in January for best drama series at the Golden Globes. But rarely is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association a reliable arbiter of future success with the TV Academy.
Few pundits anticipated this kind of dominance for Homeland. But Danes noted backstage that the cast, crew and producers took no special pleasure in having prevented Mad Men from earning what would have been a record fifth consecutive outstanding drama series Emmy. “We didn’t make our show just to undermine Mad Men,” she said. “We’re delighted and thrilled and a little startled by this. No one was expecting to be recognized in this way right off the bat.” Danes paused before adding, “But it feels pretty nice.” Co-creator and executive producer Howard Gordon — coming off a hugely successful run at Fox on 24 — was asked backstage after the big night of wins if having the creative freedom afforded by Showtime made a big difference. “They have been phenomenally supportive and great partners,” he replied, “and they’ve had great patience. They gave us support and time with the characters and let the stories breathe. We’re really grateful.” Homeland‘s Emmy success comes just in time — the series’ second season premieres next Sunday.
Matt Webb Mitovich is Editor-at-Large at TVLine
Just as Nicholas Brody received a hero’s welcome upon being rescued from captivity in Afghanistan, Damian Lewis of Showtime’s Homeland has been met with plaudits for his riveting portrayal of the conflicted Marine sergeant, husband, father and… would-be terrorist. Lewis — going for his first Emmy nomination this year, having previously been nominated for the 2012 Golden Globes for playing Brody on this series and in 2002 for his role in HBO’s Band of Brothers — reveals how he makes the potentially reprehensible relatable.
AWARDSLINE: Your character for much of Season 1 had to keep us guessing about his agenda. How much did the producers share with you up front?
DAMIAN LEWIS: They gave me a pretty good outline, but what wasn’t explicit from the outset was whether Brody was actually going to try and do something. They never said, “This guy is a terrorist and he will act in a devastating way.”
AWARDSLINE: Actors can get caught up in the idea of playing a likeable character — certainly not an American-bred terrorist. How’d you get past any such concerns?
LEWIS: It was a crackling script. Also, I don’t mind playing unlikeable roles. One of the things you should seek to achieve as an actor is that your character is understood somehow. If people then like what they find, that’s their choice. But I had one contention: Is there a way of finding in Islam a force for good, a nurturing thing in his life? Plenty of people think that if you’re a Muslim you want to blow people up, which is nonsense. We were at great pains to find motivations for him, and they successfully did that.
New Showtime entertainment president David Nevins is going 2-for-2 in his first development season at the pay cable network, picking up both pilots he ordered — drama Homeland and comedy House of Lies — to series. Both have received 12-episode orders and will start production in the summer. Thriller Homeland, from 24 showrunner Howard Gordon, stars Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Emmy and Mandy Patinkin, while management consulting comedy House of Lies is toplined by Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell. “Homeland and House of Lies are audacious in both their concept and their casting,” Nevins said. “They build upon the network’s successful pedigree and expand the definition of what a Showtime series can be.