Watch Homeland’s Damian Lewis face off with Giamatti in the new show Billions
Billions is about the wealthy and powerful. There is a prominent, well-loved but suspiciously rich hedge fund manager Bobby Axelroad (Damian Lewis), and there is a US attorney played by Paul Giamatti. Part of his day to day job is prosecuting fraudulent insider trading, and anything that is illegal on Wall Street. They get a sniff that something might be going on with Axelroad, and that is what sets the story rolling.
Talking about his character in the show, Lewis says, “Axelroad has a finger in every pie, which means he will invest in any company across the world. And while he warm, and generous, he’s also the competitive, alpha male, billionaire for a reason.”
After playing the lead in Homeland, and wining awards for it, the actor wasn’t quite sure if he wanted to be part of another long running TV series, but “this script was the strongest script I have read in a while and so I wanted to be a part of it,” he adds.
On the show, your preconception is constantly challenged, as to who is good and who is not. It makes you question where ambition can take someone, and what are people willing to do to get what they want.
On working with Giamatti, Lewis says, “He is brilliant. I have worked with him before, and am really excited to be acting with him again. Rhoades is the opposite of Axe. He is more Ivy League, more attorney kind of background. He is old fashioned who lives in Brooklyn as opposed to Upper East Side. He is as ambitious as Axelroad but he is more about power than money. He pursues Axe in the show. So there are two flawed anti-heroes in the show as opposed to heroes.”
Lastly when asked about what a billion means to him, the actor replies candidly, “A billion has lost its meaning in the last four or five years. We have heard of trillion dollar bailouts. It means nothing to be a millionaire. I met a guy two days ago who in 2008 made his company a $15 billion company in a year. That’s the culture we are talking about in the show.”