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NOV
12
1 years

Damian Lewis' Muslim Joke for President Obama (Video)

The Emmy-winning star of the Showtime drama confessed to writing -- and then getting nervous about -- a message he wrote to the commander in chief.

Damian Lewis Homeland Premiere
Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

One plays a secret American Muslim, the other has been accused of being one in real life.

They both appreciate some irony. Hopefully.

Damian Lewis has in the past year gone from working actor to Emmy winner and guest at the White House, thanks to his role in Homeland as a Marine who returns from eight years as a POW as a convert to Islam, plotting against the United States. President Obama, who has weathered years of being accused of secretly being a Muslim from Kenya, is a huge fan of the show and invited Lewis to a White House state dinner in the spring.

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Lewis took the opportunity to crack a joke with Obama, though he did have second thoughts about it.

"I thought I’d think of something great and funny," he told British interviewer Jonathan Ross, revealing that he wrote, "'From one Muslim to another' in an indelible Sharpie. And I couldn’t take it back … I was then writing e-mails for the whole of the next week going, ‘I do hope he understands irony.' "

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Obama himself has cracked jokes about the accusations he's faced vis-a-vis his heritage, so presumably he wasn't all that offended. Then again, Lewis has admitted that the president can be quite intimidating.

"He’s a charming, impressive, powerful -- obviously -- man. But he’s much more alpha male in the room than you think he’s going to be," he told The Hollywood Reporter at the season two premiere of Homeland. "When he first came into power, all the dissenters were keen to point out that he looked good in a suit and he was a lawyer and he drank cappuccino, and where was the American guy? He’s really every bit the American guy when you’re with him."