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'Homeland' Star Damian Lewis' Surprising Discovery About President Obama

The Emmy nominee spoke with THR about his visit to the White House and his brush with the commander-in-chief.

Damian Lewis Homeland Premiere
Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

It just kept getting better for Homeland's Damian Lewis.

It's generally exciting enough to find out that the President of the United States has seen -- let alone is a fan of -- your work, which is something President Obama has openly admitted on numerous occassions. To get invited to attend a State Dinner at the White House? Even better. And then, on top of all that, there was the location of his place card.

"It was made more remarkable by the fact that as I was walking down with my wife to go and sit at the table, assuming I’d be by the toilets," Lewis laughed, as he spoke with The Hollywood Reporter at the New York City premiere of his show's second season. Instead, he said, "I sat opposite the president himself, at his table, next to Mr. Warren Buffett. And so it became an even more surreal, out-of-body experience."

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Quite ironic, given that Lewis plays a turned terrorist who nearly detonates the vice president in the first season of the show. Lewis, who brought his wife, Helen McCrory, sat directly across from British Prime Minister David Cameron's wife, Samantha Cameron. He was also joined at the table by George Clooney. So what did Lewis think of the President?

"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. When he first came into power," he explained, "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."

Did he then abuse that power to get some second season spoilers out of Lewis?

"No, he didn’t ask about plot, because he didn’t want to spoil it," the star laughed. "He wants to watch it."

The premiere of Homeland was held on the deck of the USS Intrepid, organized by Showtime and sponsored by Time Warner Cable.