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“I didn’t want to be a part of it”: The Best Part of ‘Band of Brothers’ Ran Into a Major Problem That Was a Blessing in Disguise for History to be Written

The poignant portrait of camaraderie and shuddering realism of war that HBO’s Band of Brothers paints is unequivocally like no other. Based on Stephen Ambrose’s book of the same name, the landmark miniseries recounts the staggering tale of an unflinchingly heroic ensemble of U.S. paratroopers – dubbed the Easy Company – in World War II.

HBO miniseries Band of Brothers
Band of Brothers (2001) | HBO

Much like the show’s creators Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks – who worked assiduously toward nailing historical accuracy down to a tee – the author who penned the warmongering chronicles too, encountered his fair share of hurdles while assembling the book. After all, he documented real-life events.

Band of Brothers – Dick Winters Went From Being A No-Show to Confidante 

Meet Major Richard ‘Dick’ Winters, a fiercely loyal commander of the 506th Infantry Regiment within the 101st Airborne Division whose fearless leadership and emphatic brotherhood will render you either speechless or teary-eyed (or both).

When historian and author Stephen Ambrose bagged the golden opportunity of not only attending an ’80s reunion of the Easy Company but also recording the veterans’ D-Day stories, he soon realized the potential of the project before him. But there was a slight problem, and it was the absence of the man who led said valiant soldiers during the Second World War (via Penn Live).

Winters didn’t partake in those nascent interviews that Ambrose conducted. “I didn’t want to be a part of it because I had been their commanding officer,” he disclosed to the Patriot-News in 1992. “I felt the men would not talk freely if I was there.” Instead, it was the ‘Pegasus Bridge’ author who ended up approaching the Major.

Band of Brothers
A still from Band of Brothers | HBO

But while Ambrose was able to secure Winters’ trust – by letting him peruse the transcripts of every taped interview that the academic had with the soldiers – he soon found himself enmeshed in another major predicament (pun very much intended). There was a problem with the details; some of the accounts were either too ornamented or straight-up inaccurate. And Winters wouldn’t have it.

So, the two sat down to get everything in order, striking a heartfelt friendship in the process. So much so that Winters proudly hung a “Stephen Ambrose slept here” sign after the famed author spent a week at his farm in Fredericksburg, Lebanon County.

In the end, the final product – which would later be adapted into one of the most trailblazing war dramas on television – turned out to be arguably one of the most memorable and profound stories ever told.

Damian Lewis’ Big Break Came After Playing Dick Winters

A British actor and musician, Damian Lewis depicted Major Dick Winters in the on-screen adaptation of Band of Brothers, landing the award-winning role in the most epic way possible (via Sunday TODAY | People).

The day Lewis auditioned for the legendary role in the WWII miniseries, he got “absolutely hammered” while he was in Los Angeles after a top-notch screen test with Tom Hanks who executive produced Band of Brothers with Steven Spielberg. Just a few hours after his debauched adventures, however, the Billions star got a phone call that woke him up from his drunken stupor.

Damian Lewis plays Major Dick Winters in Band of Brothers
Damian Lewis as Dick Winters in Band of Brothers | HBO

I come back at 3 in the morning and I get a phone call at 8 o’clock. ‘Damian, Steven [Spielberg] would like to meet you now, can you be here by nine?’ I have three showers, 17 cups of coffee and I go in shaking. And Steven is there, and he’s already got his video on his shoulder and then they offered me the role, there in the room. It was great. It was a great day.

And well, the rest is history.

Band of Brothers can be streamed on Max.

This post belongs to FandomWire and first appeared on FandomWire

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