Sir Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis (born 29 April 1957) is an English/Irish three-time Academy Award
-winner and legendarily intense method actor. He has starred in such acclaimed films as My Left Foot
, Age Of Innocence
, The Last of the Mohicans
, In The Name Of The Father
, Gangs of New York
, There Will Be Blood
, and Abraham Lincoln
in Steven Spielberg
His father was British Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis. He's married to Arthur Miller's
daughter Rebecca Miller, an accomplished writer in her own right, who he met while filming The Crucible
He is parodied in Irish RTÉ
series The Savage Eye
, which plays up his supposed devotion to his roles and has him lapsing into them during the sketches.
This actor provided examples of:
- Badass Moustache: Two of the most iconic as Bill the Butcher and Daniel Plainview.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Let's be honest, he'd have been committed to an asylum long ago if he wasn't such a brilliant actor.
- Call to Agriculture/Cincinnatus: After learning to make his own clothes in preparation for one film, he left film for six years to become a cobbler in Florence.
- Chewing the Scenery: When the time calls for him to yell, he will YELL.
- Death Glare: Check out the absolute crackers he gives to his nurse/ future wife when she tries to take his hidden bottle of whiskey off him in My Left Foot, to Eli Sunday during his "confirmation" in There Will Be Blood, and at several points during Gangs of New York.
- Doing It for the Art: As has been mentioned, Day-Lewis is one of the most well known method actors around, to the point where he's actually achieved a memetic status as the go to for insane dedication to acting, as during the filming process, he never gets out of character. While playing Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York, he famously refused to seek medical treatment for pneumonia until it became almost life threatening, as it was not in keeping with available medical treatment in the 1860's. He also ad libbed tapping on his glass eye with a knife to intimidate William Tweed. When playing a villain, he will accost other actors in character on and off the set, and get into fights in bars in preparation for a role. When playing any character, he will spend six months mastering an accent,note learning various crafts, and adopting disabilities.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His fame (or infamy) for this has cost him roles, including ones that he probably would have enjoyed doing and would have been very good in, simply because some directors (such as Peter Jackson) are unwilling to subject themselves and the other actors under their care to his behavior.
- Dyeing for Your Art: Trained as a boxer for three years and broke a knuckle for his role in The Boxer.
- Fake American: Several roles, such as Bill the Butcher, Daniel Plainview and Abraham Lincoln.
- Jerkass/Insufferable Genius: A bit more of a complicated example. He's not an unpleasant person per see, but his commitment to staying in character has made it difficult for some of his co-stars to deal with him.
- Knight Fever: He was knighted in 2014.
- Large Ham: See Chewing the Scenery for more details.
- Man of a Thousand Faces: He changes his appearance and behaviors radically in every film he acts in.
- Method Acting: To say the least.
- Nice Jewish Boy: Though by his own admission he's an agnostic.
- Parental Abandonment: His father died when he was fourteen. This became an issue years later when during a production of Hamlet, he had a nervous breakdown, specifically during the scene of confronting the father's ghost. Years later he admitted that he got so into the role, that he actually felt that he had seen his own father's ghost. It's his last theatrical role to date.
- Playing Against Type: He doesn't exactly have a type, per se, but he first drew attention in America for playing two incredibly different roles in movies that happened to premiere in the US on the same day: as the repressed, snobbish, upper-class, Edwardian-era Englishman Cecil in A Room With A View; and Johnny, the gay ex-skinhead thug in Thatcher's London engaged in a forbidden romance with a Pakistani boy in My Beautiful Laundrette. Many critics were impressed that he did both roles so convincingly.
- Serious Business: Notoriously takes acting very seriously. Luckily he's very good at it.