British actor Damian Lewis is most well known for his Best Actor Golden Globe-nominated performance as the American World War II hero, Major Richard Winters, in the Emmy-winning HBO mini-series BAND OF BROTHERS (Dreamworks/Playtone, 2001); and for his portrayal of Soames Forsyte in the acclaimed ITV/Granada production of THE FORSYTE SAGA, SERIES I AND II (2002/03); and more recently for his Gotham Award-nominated performance as the title character in KEANE (Magnolia, 2005). His latest project is LIFE, the highly anticipated new NBC serial drama that will premiere on US television on September 26, 2007. Lewis plays Los Angeles Detective Charlie Crews, back on the force after wrongful imprisonment for a crime he didn’t commit; co-stars include Adam Arkin and Sarah Shahi.
In March 2007 the work of Damian Lewis was celebrated in two separate tributes to outstanding television productions. Renowned actor Sir Derek Jacobi hosted a countdown of the top 12 Masterpiece Theatre productions, selected by a survey of 20,000 viewers, for the THE BEST OF MASTERPIECE THEATRE 35th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL televised on PBS stations in the US. THE FORSYTE SAGA was the second most popular program (after UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS) and Lewis came in second after Derek Jacobi (I, CLAUDIUS) as Best Leading Male Actor in a Period Drama for his portrayal of Soames Forsyte.Also, Channel 4 in the UK aired The 50 GREATEST TV DRAMAS compiled from a survey of top British television professionals. Damian Lewis starred in two of the selected programs - WARRIORS and BAND OF BROTHERS. Read on to learn more about this very talented actor.
Born February 11, 1971 in London, Damian Lewis was educated at Ashdown House and Eton College before attending the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After leaving the Guildhall Lewis joined the British theatre community and appeared in a number of plays between 1993 and 1998, primarily as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He returned to the London stage for the 2003/04 season opposite Helen McCrory in FIVE GOLD RINGS at the Almeida Theatre. Damian Lewis starred as Karsten Bernick in the 2005/06 National Theatre’s production of Ibsen’s PILLARS OF THE COMMUNITY directed by Marianne Elliott who was honored by the Evening Standard Awards with the Sydney Edwards Award for Best Director.
Some of Lewis’s earlier theatre roles include Brandon in ROPE (Birmingham Rep, 1993); Romeo in ROMEO AND JULIET (Birmingham Rep, 1994); Hamlet in HAMLET (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, 1994); Horace in SCHOOL FOR WIVES (Almeida, 1994); Laertes in Ralph Fiennes’s HAMLET (Almeida, London and Broadway, 1995); Borghejm in LITTLE EYOLF (RSC, 1996/97); Wittipol in THE DEVIL IS AN ASS (RSC, 1996); Posthumus in CYMBELINE (RSC, 1997/98); Don John in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (RSC, 1996/98); and as both Cinderella’s Prince and Red Riding Hood’s Wolf in the musical fairytale INTO THE WOODS at the Donmar Warehouse in 1998.
Early television appearances included guest roles on the BBC’s POIROT (1995) and A TOUCH OF FROST (1996) before starring with Ioan Gruffudd, Matthew Macfadyen, and Jodhi May in the BAFTA-winning BBC mini-series WARRIORS in 1999, followed by a leading role in the BBC’s HEARTS AND BONES series in 2000.
In addition to BAND OF BROTHERS in 2001 (for which he received the 2002 Best Actor Golden FIPA Award) and THE FORSYTE SAGA (2002/3), some of Lewis’s other television appearances include portraying the title character in JEFFREY ARCHER - THE TRUTH (BBC, 2002); and as Simon Fuller on POSH AND BECK’S BIG IMPRESSION (BBC, 2003). In 2005 he starred opposite of Sophia Myles in the ITV World War II mini-series COLDITZ which was recently released on DVD in North America. Also in 2005 he portrayed Benedick (a network news anchorman opposite co-anchor Sarah Parish as Beatrice) in the BBC’s updated SHAKESPEARE RETOLD version of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING which has been broadcast in the U.S. on BBC America and will soon be released in the US on DVD. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING was nominated for best drama awards by BAFTA, the British Press Guild, and the Royal Television Society.
Damian Lewis starred as Paul Reynolds in the Stephen Poliakoff written and directed 2006 BBC drama FRIENDS AND CROCODILES (TalkBack Productions) which was also broadcast in the U.S. on BBC America and is now available on DVD. Lewis’s most recent television appearances include acting as a presenter at the BAFTA Awards, hosting the popular political game show HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU (BBC/Hat Trick, 2006), and portraying Tony Blair in ITV’s political spoof titled CONFESSIONS OF A DIARY SECRETARY which aired in the UK in February.
Three films starring Damian Lewis (BRIDES, KEANE, and CHROMOPHOBIA) were screened at the 58th Cannes International Film Festival in May 2005. BRIDES (Odeon/DeFina Films, 2004) was directed by Pantelis Voulgaris and executive produced by Martin Scorsese and swept the awards, including Best Picture, at the 45th Thessaloniki Film Festival. KEANE (Magnolia Pictures, 2005) directed by Lodge Kerrigan and executive produced by Steven Soderbergh won the Jury Prize for best picture at the 2005 Deauville American Film Festival and was nominated for Best Picture (and Damian Lewis for Breakthrough Award) by the 2005 Gotham Independent Film Awards. KEANE has received rave reviews from Variety, the Chicago Sun-Times, the New York Times, the London Times and many others. KEANE was theatrically released in the U.K. in September 2006. The third film, CHROMOPHOBIA (Quinta Communications), directed by Martha Fiennes and co-starring Ralph Fiennes, Penelope Cruz, Rhys Ifans, Ben Chaplin, Ian Holm, and Kristin Scott Thomas, had its world premiere as the closing film for the 2005 Cannes International Film Festival.
Lewis played opposite Jennifer Lopez in AN UNFINISHED LIFE directed by Lasse Hallstrom and starring Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman (Miramax, 2005). He also appeared with Morgan Freeman in the Lawrence Kasdan film DREAMCATCHER (Castle Rock, 2003).
Damian Lewis and his Picture Farm, Ltd. partner Adrian Sturges have produced a new film titled THE BAKER in conjunction with Grandville Pictures. This recently completed dark comedy, written and directed by Damian Lewis’s talented brother and business partner Gareth Lewis (TEARS OF A CLOWN) was filmed on location in Wales. Damian Lewis plays a reformed contract killer named Milo hiding out as a Welsh village baker. Michael Gambon co-stars as Milo’s mentor, Leo. The world premiere of THE BAKER recently took place at Canada’s Tremblant Film Festival where Gareth Lewis was named Best Director. Damian Lewis and Adrian Sturges also produced the Gareth Lewis written and directed short film NORMAL FOR NORFOLK featuring Helen McCrory.
Damian Lewis’s film THE SITUATION directed by Philip Haas, opened the Hampton’s International Film Festival In October 2006 prior to being theatrically released in the US by Shadow Distribution. It is a movie about the Iraqi War and he plays a CIA operative opposite reporter Connie Nielsen. The film will be released on DVD in the US in July 2007.
Lewis portrayed Russian assassin Yassen Gregorovich in STORMBREAKER (Samuelson/Weinstein) the first cinematic production of Anthony Horowitz’s popular young-adult Alex Rider novels. Lewis’s co-stars include Alex Pettyfer, Mickey Rourke, Alicia Silverstone, Bill Nighy, and Ewan McGregor. The film’s merchandising products include an “action figure” of Lewis as Yassen.
Current Damian Lewis projects include starring with Brian Cox and Joseph Fiennes in an exciting new Picture Farm prison break film titled THE ESCAPIST, directed by Rupert Wyatt and produced by Adrian Sturges. The movie was filmed on location in Dublin and London and is now in post-production. Damian Lewis is currently working in Los Angeles filming episodes of NBC’s new drama LIFE for the 2007-08 season.
Other Damian Lewis credits include extensive narrative, radio and voice work such as performing in 2007 for BBC Radio in MY COUSING RACHEL, INSIGNIFICANCE, and SOMETHING WRONG ABOUT THE MOUTH. He also performed all the voices for the BBC Book of the Week reading of AGENT ZIGZAG (2007) and the 2006/07 BBC Radio serial production of THE JAMES BOND STORIES as well as THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL in 2003; he plays multiple roles (including Valentine in TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA) in the Arkangel production of THE COMPLETE SHAKESPEARE (1999, directed by Clive Brill); in addition, he narrates the Macmillan Audio edition of David Baldacci’s novel SPLIT SECOND (2003). In 2005 Damian Lewis was heard providing the narration for a BBC television documentary series about British soldiers serving in Iraq titled SOLDIER, HUSBAND, DAUGHTER, DAD and also on BBC Radio in the cast of Frederic Raphael’s THE GLITTERING PRIZES.
Lewis is an active supporter of several humanitarian organizations and has been named an ambassador for the Christian Aid organization. He can be seen hosting the documentary BOLVIA FOR SALE (Christian Aid, 2006) that was filmed on location in Bolivia to bring attention to the disastrous affects on the Bolivian economy of the privatization of essential utilities and services.
Damian Lewis married acclaimed British actress Helen McCrory on July 4, 2007. They recently purchased a new house in North London and also have a home in Wales. Helen McCrory was nominated for an Olivier Award as Best Actress for her role as Rosalind in AS YOU LIKE IT and she portrayed Cherie Blair, the wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair played by Michael Sheen, in Oscar-winner Helen Mirren’s acclaimed film THE QUEEN. Helen McCrory has recently completed filming FLASHBACKS OF A FOOL with Daniel Craig in South Africa. The couple’s first child, a beautiful daughter named Manon, was born on September 8, 2006 and they are expecting a second child in November 2007.
For more information about Damian Lewis contact his London agent, Pippa Markham, at:Markham & Froggatt4 Windmill StreetLONDON W1T 2HZUnited KingdomPh: 011-44-207-636-4412 Fax: 011-44-207-637-5233