Homeland’s Damian Lewis: “I am pretty wedded to the idea that the camera can capture thought”


With fans reeling over the new hit Showtime series Homeland actor Damian Lewis, who plays Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody, has found himself the center of attention once again.  The Band of Brothers star plays the role of an Al Qaeda captive who returns home after an eight year-long torture session that has done some serious damage, possibly turning him against his own government.

While Lewis comes across as a warm and comical person in his latest interview with Vulture, his character on the other hand has a few cracks in his foundation, making for a challenging role.

“I think I’m a much more animated person than he is, but oddly I don’t find it difficult to be still, or, if you like, to seem inscrutable onscreen. Probably a long, long time ago when I was starting out, someone probably said to me, ‘Just be still on camera.’  Don’t move around too much — that’s about as scientific as my approach is. I am pretty wedded to the idea that the camera can capture thought.  If you’re clear and absolutely quicksilver in your thinking, then the camera will pick it up.”

The British born Lewis also says that he’s not sure how he nails that perfect American accent every time after growing up in London, but relying on just plain focus seems to give way to Lewis’ convincing performances.  “You know, it’s a mystery to me: Why did the tall, pale, redheaded English bloke get asked to play all these American dudes?,” he said. “And I don’t really know, except to say that it’s obviously to do with Band of Brothers, because that’s the first time I played an American, and it was an American hero that I think people felt great ownership of. I felt an overwhelming responsibility to get that right. I was so focused on it, you know, “Failure is not an option!” There’s definitely been a shift, because during Band of Brothers I was consciously keeping my American accent, I was mindful of it as I was playing the role. And now I find that I have created an American persona for myself — I’m exaggerating a little for effect, possibly [laughs] — but I feel I can be an American for a weekend. This sounds absurdly pretentious, but the American Damian, I’m sort of oddly comfortable with him.”

The forty year old has also used his American accent when the cameras weren’t rolling to make life a little easier.  “When I was living in L.A. for two years, and because in L.A. no one’s heard of a British accent — although God knows why, there are Brits all over the place there — I just got tired of repeating everything in an English accent when I went into a store. So I would wake up sometimes and just be an American with my American accent, and it felt like the most natural thing.”

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