Friday 22 June 2018

'I don't fully understand it, but it came to me with a sense of conviction' - Daniel Day Lewis on quitting acting

Daniel Day-Lewis retires
Daniel Day-Lewis retires

Karolina Tagaris

Three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis says he has come to accept his decision to quit acting - even if he does not quite understand it.

"If I knew the answer I'd probably avoid trying to answer it anyway," the actor said in Athens ahead of the screening of his final film, Phantom Thread.

"But as it happens, I can't answer the question."

Wicklow-based Day-Lewis (60) - the only man who has won three lead actor Oscars - shocked the film world in June when he announced he was retiring from acting.

Tailor-made for role: Daniel Day-Lewis learned how to sew and make dresses for his portrayal of Reynolds Woodstock in Phantom Thread
Tailor-made for role: Daniel Day-Lewis learned how to sew and make dresses for his portrayal of Reynolds Woodstock in Phantom Thread

His decision came after he finished filming Phantom Thread, the dark romance set in 1950s post-war London that took director Paul Thomas Anderson two years to research and write.

"I don't fully understand it, but it came to me with a sense of conviction and so I chose to move forward in acceptance of that rather than struggling with it," he said.

The Englishman has won best actor Oscars for his roles as paraplegic Irish writer Christy Brown in My Left Foot (1989), a greedy early 20th century oil baron in There Will Be Blood (2007) and US president Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln (2013).

He said acting was a sanctuary that "saved me from myself when I was a kid".

"But I just feel it's time to explore the world in a different way now," he added.

In Phantom Thread, Day-Lewis plays a fashion designer whose world is turned upside down when his muse falls in love with him.

"I'm only learning by speaking to people that apparently I've been playing an absolute p***k in this film," he said.

"I'm really sorry to hear that because, who thinks of themselves in that way?"

Phantom Thread has been nominated for six Oscars, including best actor.

Competing against Day-Lewis is Gary Oldman, who has been nominated for best actor for Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, a role that earned him a Golden Globe.

Does thinking about winning take up much of Day-Lewis' time?

"I'm perfectly happy to do the rounds and applaud Gary at every event I go to," he said. "He has done fine work for many years and he's been recognised for it now so I'm delighted for him.

Herald

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