Articles, Blog

The Real Reason Daniel Day-Lewis Quit Acting


After more than three decades in the movie
industry, three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis has decided to hang up his hat. “Mr. Daniel?” “I’m finished.” The actor announced that his 2017 film with
writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, a ’50s-set dress designer drama titled Phantom Thread,
will be the last installment in his esteemed filmography. The statement, given via his spokeswoman,
read, “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.” The notoriously private thespian may not be
willing to elaborate publicly, but he has plenty of reasons to leave Hollywood’s bright
lights behind. The toll of being a method actor It’s no secret that Daniel Day-Lewis takes
a very unique approach to his craft. Not only is he exceedingly choosy about which
roles he’ll accept, but he’s also known to disappear into them throughout the production
process. “I follow my curiosity and it takes me into
all kinds of strange places.” He stayed in a wheelchair and was spoon-fed
by crewmembers to fully experience having cerebral palsy for his Oscar-winning turn
in My Left Foot; he spent six months in the wild to prepare for his role in The Last of
the Mohicans; he isolated himself from the cast and crew during the production on The
Ballad of Jack and Rose; he tattooed his hands and trained for 18 months as a fighter for
The Boxer. The results speak for themselves, but all
that dramatic heavy lifting takes a toll. “Part of my job is to be drained.” “I wore myself out.” Post-production depression Not only is the work itself grueling, but
once he’s done with a role, he has to deal with the emotional repercussions of letting
it go. As he told The Telegraph, “There’s a terrible
sadness. The last day of shooting is surreal. Your mind, your body, your spirit are not
prepared to accept that this experience is coming to an end. You’ve devoted so much of your time to unleashing,
in an unconscious way, some sort of spiritual turmoil.” He also has trouble letting go of his characters
as a result. “You’re not quite sure what to do with yourself
when it’s finished.” “It’s very hard to conceive of any kind of
life after it. Of course there is one waiting.”] For example, after finishing Gangs of New
York, Day-Lewis admitted to speaking with his Butcher dialect for months after the film’s
completion and felt a sense of alienation during the film’s debut, telling Rolling Stone, “I got nervous before the premiere. I knew I’d also feel a sense of sadness. Now I have to accept that the film is complete
and no longer has anything to do with me.” Secondary career paths He was showered with decades of praise for
his work in front of the camera, but Day-Lewis ultimately sought a different level of fulfillment
in his side career as a cobbler. After shooting The Boxer, he started a family
with his wife Rebecca Miller, and apprenticed in Italy with master shoemaker Stefano Bemer. He told Rolling Stone, “It’s an antidote to
this other thing I do.” “Most particularly, perhaps, because you see
this visible evidence, you have this tangible thing at the end, and if you f*** up, you
can see it very clearly and do it again. It’s not a matter of opinion. It’s either good or it’s bad.” Making shoes might seem like a strange passion
for an Oscar winner, but as we’ve seen countless times, it can be hard for a celebrity to stay
grounded in the spotlight. Working with one’s hands to produce work you
can point to at the end of the day seems like a great way to stay centered. Allergic to fame Even at the peak of his career, Day-Lewis
retreated from the public eye for years between projects to spend time on his family farm
in Ireland, where he’s often spotted visiting the pubs to have a pint—alone. Unlike a number of his more outgoing colleagues,
he’s rejected the notion that he’s a public figure at all times. He told The BBC, “I am, whether I like it or not, a public
figure during certain periods. Then I disappear, it seems.” “Of course in my experience I don’t disappear,
I’m just doing other things. What I’m doing is re-engaging with life.” At this point, given his merit as an actor,
any movie starring Day-Lewis earns special attention—which undermines his interests
in making movies in the first place. As he told The Telegraph, “The work itself is never anything but pure
pleasure, but there’s an awful lot of peripheral stuff that I find it hard to be surrounded
by. I like things to be swift, because the energy
you have is concentrated and can be fleeting. The great machinery of film can work against
that.” In today’s Hollywood, that machinery seems
larger and louder than ever—and it’s left less room for the quieter sorts of character
studies that Day-Lewis tends to favor. Instead, studios are looking for properties
with proven brand value, which means lots of sequels, reboots, remakes, and cinematic
universes. To an actor who built his career on taking
emotional and physical risks, it may no longer be worth working within those constraints. “Oh, oh oh, well in that case…” Going out on top When Day-Lewis won the Best Actor Oscar for
Lincoln in 2012, he made Academy Awards history by becoming the only actor to win three trophies
in that category. Once you’ve set such a high bar for yourself,
there’s really nowhere else to go but down, and Day-Lewis seems to know that his status
as a legend is well worth protecting. “I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed.” And while this time seems like the real deal,
Daniel Day-Lewis has walked away from acting before—more than once, in fact. He left a stage production of Hamlet in the
middle of a show because he thought he was interacting with the ghost of his dead father. He took five years off after The Boxer, and
planned a five-year sabbatical from acting after Lincoln. He told The Guardian, “I just wanted some
time away from it all. I need that quite often … I have quite a
strong feeling about when I should work and when I shouldn’t.” Evidently, Day-Lewis is still going with his
gut—and walking away from the spotlight at last. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
YouTube channel. Plus check out all this cool stuff we know
you’ll love, too!

100 Comments

  1. Luke Author

    Because he became the greatest of all time after There Will Be Blood. I have seen snippets of Lincoln, I do not need to see it. There Will Be Blood is DDL's masterpiece. I always thought Brando was the best but not now, DDL is the Goat of acting.

    Reply
  2. Chicken Draws Dogs Author

    I can see some similarities between Daniel Day-Lewis and Robin Williams' approaches to their craft. Tremendously talented people like them live for the moment, in front of the camera and on stage, and once that's done – they don't know what to do with themselves. Perhaps it's best that Day-Lewis got out and find himself a new form of fulfillment…because we all know how Robin Williams died.

    Reply
  3. redflamered Author

    And Brando won two academy awards and did not memorize one word of dialog. Didn't even rehearse. Read lines off lamps, chairs, actor's chests. Brando would probably think this guy is nuts. Acting is easy. Completely over-rated. Just making believe you are somebody else. Little kids do it  on TV. Make believe wrestlers do it in the ring and in the movies. Drunks do it, druggies do it. They should make a movie about this guy getting ready for a movie. It would be a great comedy.

    Reply
  4. lee v Author

    such talents yet so humble. that's a true actor deserve to be recognized for generations to come, unlike most of these horrible whores of so called celebrities nowadays that relied on scandal and controversy social media posts to stay relevance either for attention or works

    Reply
  5. Ermac97 Author

    Alright, I admit that DDL is a great actor and I've enjoyed all of his movies, but come on. Could he be more pretentious and have his head any farther up his own ass? Seriously, you're an entertainer, get over yourself. If he were a lawyer taking high profile cases or a surgeon performing heart transplants on a daily basis, I could understand these quirks of his, but he's not. At the end of the day, his job can be stripped down to playing pretend; he pretends to be someone he's not, in his characters.

    Reply
  6. 165Dash Author

    Interesting guy. One of the few truly great film actors whom I would not automatically consider a movie “star”.
    Would have probably had a very rough time under the old studio system.

    Reply
  7. Duan Torruellas Author

    One of the best , we become great by knowing the level of excellence we want to achieve, and then finding teachers or examples of that art to study.
    For me Lewis, Fiennes, and Hopkins are those forms of excellence.

    Reply
  8. Diane Blumenthal Author

    The Academy should give DDL an open invitation to announce the Best Picture winner at any Oscar ceremony. The crowd and viewers would go crazy !!!

    Reply
  9. Bub Huynh Author

    Idk anyone thought of this, but seem like his condition very dangerous, may lead to suicide.

    Remind me of Heath Ledge, the can't get over the character and use drug as a cure, as a result. He gone

    Reply
  10. Lastly More Author

    I don't know if he can completely retire from what you love. Like what is he going to do for the rest of his life? The guy can play so many different roles even at his age or older.

    Reply
  11. Alan Tindell Author

    It's his life, he is entitled to live it by his own wishes, not those of others. Without question he's the greatest living actor even if never makes another minute of movies or appears on the stage again. He's in the top four or five of greatest actors in modern history—Laurence Olivier, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Daniel Day-Lewis (not in that particular order, mind you). He's kept his family life intensely private and wants to keep it that way. One can assume he's also been very careful with his money and no longer has to work to support himself or his family. Good luck to him. Watching him in movies is one of the great experiences of my life.

    Reply
  12. flight doc 094502-75 Author

    I never forget there will be blood the Eli character reminds me of joel olsteen and all televangelist pos.
    DD LEWIS is just an eternal legend.

    Reply
  13. ASSANE NDJAYE Author

    One of the best actor of all time, if u haven’t see the last of the Mohicans go ahead and find the time to watch, I saw the movie in 1993 and is one of the best movie ever made.

    Reply
  14. Random Author

    One of the greatest actors this world has ever known. Up there with marlin Brando. Robert deniro, al Pacino, etc. unreal actor. Wish there was more out there

    Reply
  15. Stinky Whizzletooth Author

    I really like that he stays out of the spotlight. It just goes to show that if you're good enough of an actor then you don't need to appear on the fucking Ellen DeGeneres show every other week to be relevant.

    Reply
  16. Brian Mclaughlin Author

    I liked “Bill Cutting.”
    Dan,sure do miss your acting,but I hope you’re enjoying your retirement to the max!👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *