They are both set against a backdrop of high finance and corporate corruption, but Damian Lewis plays down the comparisons between his latest two productions Our Kind Of Traitor and Billions.

In the latter – which arrives on DVD and Blu-ray next week – the British actor plays a hedge fund mogul being investigated by a campaigning US attorney, while in the new John le Carré adaptation Our Kind Of Traitor, Lewis is a British espionage agent trying to reel in a money launderer for crooked Russian oligarchs.

However, the actor reckons Billions and Our Kind Of Traitor are very different sorts of productions.

Damian Lewis and high finance

“I’m slow to make these associations,”Lewis admits. “There are parallels with Billions, but they are very different things. Since 2008 and the sub-prime mortgage crisis, we got to know an awful lot about what a lot of these people were doing and realised a lot of them didn’t know what they were doing. It was just people being inventive with gambling, they just created different mechanisms for it, and Billions investigates that a bit. Billions is a much brasher, piece of entertainment about two gladiators going at one another. It is not a polemic, it doesn’t want to be that. It wants to be entertainment.

“Le Carré is never that. It is a thriller, but like Tinker Tailor or A Most Wanted Man, they are films that happen in the shadows. They are never going to be Bourne. They are not Bond. They pause a lot to investigate the moral dilemma in each character. They are often ensemble pieces. That is what is so great about this piece.”