Academy Winner: Best Actor. Three times. That is a feat that no one has achieved, except for Daniel Day-Lewis. The moody-looking, son of Poet Laureate, Cecil Day-Lewis, took his first Oscar gong for Best Actor in My Left Foot (1990), his second in 2008 for There Will Be Blood, and just this week took the third for his role in Spielberg's Lincoln.
So what makes Daniel Day-Lewis special? Is he just lucky? Or was any of the three awards a mistake, you know, may be someone else deserved it more?
In any case, whatever you think of him, many people who have worked with him says he takes his art seriously and has a unique way to work.
As a writer, I am curious to learn Daniel Day-Lewis' approach to work. I want to know how he became one of the best around. As I read more about him, I discovered three things that makes him unique.
1. Fussy Bunny
Day-Lewis is reported to be very choosy of the roles he takes in the movie business. He is said to always agonised over the roles to accept and which ones to drop. Take this – he has starred in just six films over the past fifteen years.
2. Long Preparation Ritual
This point is an explanation of the above point. I learnt that the reason Day-Lewis is fussy about taking roles is because of the huge amount of preparation he puts into his characters. He was reported to have prepared for a year for his role in Lincoln. When he emerged from his preparation to the set, it was said that his voice had become quite close to Abe Lincoln’s actual tenor-ish, reedy voice.
I am not talking about water baptism. Actually, this is name of the style Day-Lewis is reported to use to get to know his characters. Basically, he studies everything he needs to know about them and try and stay in the character almost every time and everywhere he is. Even when off the set, it is known that Day-Lewis still sometimes stay in character. He once said, "What would drain me much more, in my case, is jumping in and out of that world that we've gone to such an inordinate length to create for ourselves."In January, 2013, he told the BBC that his acting method made "complete sense" to him. "All you're trying to do is lay the groundwork, which might allow the imagination to free itself," he said.
Having gone through the above points, it is clear to see some of the price Daniel Day-Lewis pays to be what he is today.
My Left Foot [DVD]: Film & TV