Hollywood comes to town: Stars out for Lincoln’s European premiere in Dublin
LAST night turned into one of the biggest red carpet events Dublin has ever seen with Hollywood director Steven Spielberg rubbing shoulders with Bono and The Edge, Hollywood actress Sally Field, and President Michael D Higgins.
The setting was the European premiere of Oscar-tipped film 'Lincoln', whose lead actor Day-Lewis brought the stars to Dublin as a fundraiser to build a hospice in Co Wicklow.
And it all started with a birthday card addressed simply to 'Daniel Day-Lewis, Wicklow'.
"What's happening tonight is beyond our wildest dreams, and it's all down to Daniel," said Evanne Cahill, the Arklow-based fundraiser who contacted Day-Lewis four years ago to ask if he would lend his support to the building of a hospice in his adopted home county.
But the 55-year-old star admitted last night that he had doubts about whether they would be able to sell tickets for the fundraiser in the gloomy economic climate.
"We weren't sure that it was possible to have an event like this in Ireland because it's hard to ask people to spend money at this time," Day-Lewis told the Irish Independent.
"But having explored the idea of it, it seemed like it might just work and Steven (Spielberg) didn't take much persuasion to come.
"He was very very generous to come and Sally (Field) as well. I didn't have to ask twice."
Spielberg revealed some of the groundwork for the movie, which charts US President Abraham Lincoln's struggle to pass the amendment to abolish slavery, was done in Wicklow.
"I came to Ireland three years ago to try and convince Daniel to be in the film, so it's a sweet circle to be back here," he said.
"Daniel hardly even had to convince me. He just threw it out there as a possibility and and I said: 'Let's just do it.'
"There were no negotiations, there was no second choices. Daniel accommodated me agreeing to play Abraham Lincoln, the least I could do was have the premiere here."
Having experienced method actor Day-Lewis playing the stern-faced 16th US president, co-star Sally Field admitted she was surprised by his reaction when they had touched down in Dublin the previous night.
"Daniel's been like a child. When we landed, he kept jumping up and down and dancing. We were feeling that way anyway but he is so, so excited to be here and we're absolutely thrilled to be here with him," she said.
Spielberg personally introduced the film at The Savoy with Day-Lewis and Field, who plays the president's wife Mary Todd Lincoln, coming on-stage after the screening to take a bow.
The VIP guest list, which included Bono, The Edge, Katie Taylor and Ray D'Arcy, were then bussed in 10 double-deckers supplied by Dublin Bus to a €1,600-a-table ball at the Burlington Hotel where they dined in style.
Starters included tian of crab and champ potato tian with parmesan crisp.
A main course of roast sirloin of beef or seared fillet of sea bass was followed by a dessert of mixed berry tear drop or chocolate teardrop, filled with vanilla cream with a berry compote.
Guests were entertained by performances by Shane MacGowan, Sinead O'Connor and Chris De Burgh before a fundraising auction of memorabilia from the movie.
Items included a pair of Lincoln's replica white gloves, worn on the set; two leather-bound copies of the script signed by Tony Kushner – the screenwriter – Spielberg and Day-Lewis; and a handcrafted replica of Abraham Lincoln's sixbladed pocket knife, and an 1885 biography of Lincoln, donated by Bank Of America.
Ms Cahill said she hoped that the first sod of turf would be turned on the Wicklow Hospice this June as a result of the hundreds of thousands of euros raised last night by the screening, reception and auction.
"We couldn't have done it without Daniel. He has really put us over the line," she said.
Day-Lewis said his decision to become a patron of Wicklow Hospice was in gratitude for the care his late mother, actress Jill Balcon, had been given at a cottage hospice in England before she died in 2009.