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While “Band of Brothers” could not establish David Schwimmer of “Friends” as an actor to take seriously in a dramatic role, it was a door-opening opportunity for many of its other leading cast members. For British actor Damian Lewis, starring as commander of Easy Company’s Lieutenant Richard Winters would secure him steady work over the ensuing decades in other TV series where he plays Americans (“Homeland,” “Billions”). More recently, Lewis appeared as Steve McQueen in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
Being a big-budget and well-connected WWII production, “Band of Brothers” was sure to create near-infinite openings for white men in Hollywood, and the list of now well-known actors who appeared in the show early in their careers runs deep. As easily as it brought on American actors like Jimmy Fallon to deliver a couple lines, the show features short one-episode appearances by English actors James McAvoy and (very briefly), Dominic Cooper, as well as by Irish actor Andrew Scott (“Sherlock,” “Fleabag”). Simon Pegg (“Hot Fuzz,” “Shaun of the Dead”) and Stephen Graham (“Boardwalk Empire,” “The Irishman”) showed up in a couple episodes too. All these actors had acted professionally before, but their involvement in the show certainly helped their careers.
For others, “Band of Brothers” was their big break. In his first major role, Irish actor Michael Fassbender was cast in seven episodes as technical sergeant and machine gunner Burton “Pat” Christenson, while Tom Hardy also made his debut in the show. Some of these careers may not have taken off without the show’s commitment to shooting in the UK.