Features / Television

Band of Brothers… and Budding Actors

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Many of us remember the Emmy Award-winning HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and the wonderful performance by its large, vastly male ensemble cast. What most of us don’t remember, however, is just how many of today’s most recognised actors were, while still budding actors, once “members” of Easy Company. One would have thought that Camp Toccoa was an acting boot camp.

Damian Lewis
Major Richard Winters

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Homeland‘s Damian Lewis looks so comfortable in military uniform for a reason; years before starring as Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody, Lewis portrayed renowned military officer Major Richard “Dick” Winters of the 101st Airborne Division.

James McAvoy
Private William W. Miller

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I, myself, couldn’t believe that I hadn’t noticed that a young James McAvoy was a member of Easy Company! Like most newbies, his character didn’t initially receive a warm reception by some of the veterans of D-Day. His character met an unfortunate end too, but no worries; in his next life, he would be able to bend the trajectory of bullets with Angelina Jolie, and read minds as a young Professor Charles Xavier.

Michael Fassbender
Sergeant Burton Christenson

fassbender bob

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Yes. Not only was Professor X in Band of Brothers, but Magneto was as well! Michael Fassbender played Sergeant Burton Christenson who was ordered by Captain Herbert Sobel (played by David Schwimmer, who doesn’t qualify for this list since he was already famous for the role of Ross Geller before portraying Easy Company’s former CO) to repeat a 12 mile march because he had disobeyed a direct order and drunk from his canteen. I’m sure there were more pleasant Fassbender moments in the miniseries, but that was the scene that I remembered most vividly.

Tom Hardy
Private First Class John Janovec

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Tom Hardy looked adorable in Band of Brothers; he was so young! He appeared later in the series as Private John Janovec whose infamous-ish love scene was disrupted when he jumped out of bed to salute his CO who had walked in on him. His character was killed in a car accident, an unfortunate casualty in a war that was virtually over. Is that why Bane is an anarchist?

Colin Hanks
Second Lieutenant Henry Jones

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Series producer Tom Hanks’ son, Colin Hanks, appeared in one episode as replacement butterbar Second Lieutenant Henry Jones. In “The Last Patrol”, he played a West Point graduate desperate for combat experience in a war that was coming to an end and who had to earn his respect as an officer from the vastly more experienced soldiers he was leading. He did manage to prove his worth and gain valuable experience; Colin went on to star in Orange County, King Kong, Mad Men and NCIS.

Simon Pegg
First Sergeant William Evans

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Virtually all of Simon Pegg’s roles that I’ve seen were humourous characters that provided comic relief. So, his appearance as First Sergeant William Evans is, to date, the most serious role of his that I’ve seen. When I re-watched the series and realised that it was him, I kept expecting the sergeant to throw in a one-liner somewhere.

Dominic Cooper
Allington

Apparently, Dominic Cooper portrayed a character named “Allington”, but I can’t find pictures of or remember any details about the character.

Andrew Scott
Private John Hall

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It’s Moriarty!!!! Before becoming the brilliant archenemy of Sherlock Holmes, Andrew Scott portrayed Private John Hall, a military jeep driver who volunteered for and was killed in the Brecourt Manor Assault. Winters was particularly disturbed by his death, saying that Hall was not yet old enough to drink. Well, Sherlock, he came back with a vengeance.

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