A fan’s farewell to Daniel Day Lewis
It’s official. Daniel Day Lewis has retired from acting. The actor’s spokesperson released a statement to the media, calling it a private decision, but failed to give further information about the motives of that decision.
“Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor. He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject. ”said Leslee Dart in the statement, and now the world is mourning the retirement of probably greatest actor in the world.
Day Lewis when acting, was notorious about his picky selection of roles, and even more notorious about the preparation for those exact roles. One of the last remaining method actors, Daniel became a tale of true legend about his devotion and research for the roles was playing. Weather it was listening to angry Eminem song to get into the character of William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting, or texting to Sally Field as president Lincoln, Daniel’s method acting was borderline psychotic.
But one must note that there were previous semi-successful attempts to retire from acting. In the late 90’s (right after starring in The Boxer), Daniel „retired“ (unofficially) and went to Italy to take up woodworking and shoe making. It wasn’t until 2002 when Martin Scorsese convinced him to make much needed return to the screen, with the period drama Gangs of New York, and the rest is history.
Since then he starred in just 5 movies (well… technically the fifth is coming to theaters in December) and has managed to win 2 more Academy Awards. Since Gangs Of New York, Daniel collaborated with Steven Spielberg, his wife Rebecca Miller, Rob Marshal and with the talented Paul Thomas Anderson.
His collaboration with Anderson brought him his second Oscar for best leading role (for There Will Be Blood), and is yet to repeat the partnership with PTA on the upcoming drama Phantom Thread which will be his last motion picture.
But what does his retirement means to us… the fans? Well to this particular fan of his work (who happens to be a film journalist and film critic) it means we’ll be deprived of one of the finest acting imaginable. Of his commitment. Of his talent. You see, Daniel doesn’t act the roles. He becomes the roles. He embodies the characters he’s playing and stays in them weather or not he’s in front of the camera.
In today’s abundance of actors who come in to show business just for money, fame or getting that franchise role, he’s exactly the opposite. He’s a real representation of raw talent and putting some effort in training that talent. Similar with an elite athlete. Daniel is very well aware that the talent is just 10% of what makes you good. The rest is hard work.
The same goes for his choosing of the roles and films. Daniel doesn’t work with just anyone. You have to offer something outstanding in order for him to show interest, or to even star in you movie. And if you have the fortitude to be on the same page with him, he might work with you again and again (hint PTA).
And probably this fan will miss his hard core privacy. Again, in the sea of actors sharing every single detail of their private lives, social media saturation with them and shameless promotion of their products, brands and movies, Daniel is again the opposite of that. Have you seen any incriminating photo of his Twitter profile? Hell no. Even his interviews are so scarce, that when it comes to watching his movies, you want to do it with vigor and burning desire. Let’s face it… If Daniel were to tell you everything about the movie, preparations, and production, or if he moaned about how it was hard for him to gain 30 pounds for the role… probably you’ll be sick of it. Of everything.
No. He understands, that some things are private, and the method in which he prepares for the roles is sacred. It’s the stuff that makes the audience, the colleagues and pretty much in the Universe to respect him.
That’s more or less what I’m going to miss after his retirement. And the fact that is best to leave while you’re on top.