One thing worth noting about this year’s lineup of debuting fall programs is the exodus of highly gifted British talent set to make waves on American TV.  Among the most recognizable of those imports is Damian Lewis, who became a familiar face to many viewers for his strong and standup performance as Richard “Dick” Winters on Band of Brothers.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Lewis spoke about his new role on NBC’s debuting series, Life, and the initial dilemma he underwent when the network offered him the part.

The 36-year old Lewis had been engaged in volunteer work for one of Britain’s oldest charities when NBC contacted him for the part of Charlie Crews on Life.  While the chance to star anew in a major American network show was a welcome opportunity for him, the actor was initially reluctant to accept the part.  Agreeing to the project meant a move to Los Angeles, which would take him away for extended periods from his family, particularly his wife who is expecting their second child.

“We were discussing the possibility of moving out of London for a few years,” Lewis revealed.  “I’ve grown up all my life in Northern European cities.  It rains a lot.  The skies are gray.  It might be fun to go live on the Pacific Ocean.”

As it turned out, Lewis did agree to the role and has taken to renting a place on the Pacific Coast while NBC tests the waters with Life‘s first 12 episodes.

As the lead character Crews, Lewis portrays a former LAPD officer who was wrongly incarcerated for 12 years for a crime he did not commit.  After he is exonerated and subsequently freed from jail, Crews returns to the force and to the daily grind of life with his own brand of child-like, bright-eyed optimism, wit, humor and wisdom.

“The central thing to hang on to is that because of his experience, he’s undergone an experience no one else has,” Lewis remarked.  “So when he comes out of jail and is given his life back, he isn’t bound by the minutiae and banalities of everyday life.  He rises above that.  He sets his own behavior codes.  He’s been changed by the physical and psychological abuse that he suffered in jail.”

“He is almost a naïf,” Lewis added, while speaking fondly of his onscreen alter ego.  “He’s an optimist; he has childlike qualities.  He’s fun, light, all the things he hasn’t had.  He chooses to live his life to the full.  He’s not always successful.  He chooses to see the good in every situation.”

Life begins on NBC September 26.

-Rosario Santiago, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Los Angeles Times
(Image Courtesy of BBC)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV