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Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis

Birthday: 29 April 1957, Greenwich, London, England, UK
Birth Name: Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis
Height: 188 cm

Born in London, England, Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is the second child of Cecil Day-Lewis (A.K.A. Nicholas Blake) (Poet Laureate of England) and his second wife, Jill Balcon. His maternal grandfa ...Show more

Daniel Day-Lewis
[on the "wisdom" of actors as public figures] Initially it was invigorating. People suddenly wanted Show more [on the "wisdom" of actors as public figures] Initially it was invigorating. People suddenly wanted to hear my views on all manner of social problems. I was up for it but it palled very soon afterwards. It was not like real conversation, where you listen and learn. It's hard to learn anything when you are talking about it. You only learn doing it. And if you are not learning, what's the point? Hide
[About Heath Ledger] As much as I was glad to have a chance to say something in that moment. There w Show more [About Heath Ledger] As much as I was glad to have a chance to say something in that moment. There was plenty more I could say but we're not just fueling a fire that's already out of control. His family, for instance, at this moment are trying to suffer that unimaginable grief in the full scrutiny of a fucking circus and anything that I say is probably going to contribute even more to that and keep the story running and running and running. There will come a time eventually when people just remember that he was a beautiful man who did some wonderful work and we would have seen great things from him. Right now I can't say that I'm too enthusiastic about just adding more fodder to what is already a horrendously, obscenely overblown machine that's gathered around his death. It's horrible. Hide
[while filming My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)] I needed--and I still need--to creat Show more [while filming My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)] I needed--and I still need--to create a particular environment. I need to find the right kind of silence or light or noise. Whatever is necessary--and it is always different. I know it sounds a little fussy and a little ridiculous, but finding your own rhythm is one of the most important things you can discover about yourself. And you have to observe it. As actors, we're all encouraged to feel that each job is the last job. They plant some little electrode in your head at an early stage and you think, "Be grateful, be grateful, be grateful". So it's not without a sense of gratitude that I work. But I couldn't do this work at all unless I did it in my own rhythm. It became a choice between stopping and taking the time I needed. Hide
[on events in America, 2012] I think a lot about what President [Barack Obama] is going through at t Show more [on events in America, 2012] I think a lot about what President [Barack Obama] is going through at this moment. I look to the extent to which he has aged visibly. I feel I aged visibly just playing [President Abraham Lincoln], so to actually have that responsibility is a burden that one can only explore in one's imagination. Anyone who has that position of authority must necessarily find themselves very, very alone at certain times. I'm not in any way comparing his work to the work that I do as an actor, but it's a common theme. Hide
[in a 1987 interview about the variety of his roles] I don't set out in search of something that is Show more [in a 1987 interview about the variety of his roles] I don't set out in search of something that is different, although I probably do go in search of things that involve traveling a certain distance away from my own life and away from the lives of characters I've already explored. But at the end of a job, there's always a sense of having failed to some extent in the exploration - of knowing that there are many, many other factors that might have been explored. Yet at the same time, I always feel it's time to move on, regardless of any dissatisfaction. Hide
I never, ever felt that depth of love for another human being that I never met. And that's, I think, Show more I never, ever felt that depth of love for another human being that I never met. And that's, I think, probably the effect that [Abraham Lincoln] has on most people that take the time to discover him . . . I wish he had stayed [with me] forever. Hide
I came from the educated middle class but I identified with the working classes. Those were the peop Show more I came from the educated middle class but I identified with the working classes. Those were the people I looked up to. The lads whose fathers worked on the docks or in shipping yards or were shopkeepers. I knew that I wasn't part of that world, but I was intrigued by it. They had a different way of communicating. People who delight in conversation are often using that as a means to not say what is on their minds. When I became interested in theater, the work I admired was being done by working-class writers. It was often about the inarticulate. I later saw that same thing in Robert De Niro's early work--it was the most sublime struggle of a man trying to express himself. There was such poetry in that for me. Hide
Where I come from, it was a heresy to say you wanted to be in movies, leave alone American movies. W Show more Where I come from, it was a heresy to say you wanted to be in movies, leave alone American movies. We were all encouraged to believe that the classics of the theater were the fiery hoops through which you'd have to pass if you were going to have any self-esteem as a performer. It never occurred to me that that was the case. One of the great privileges of having grown up in a middle-class literary English household, but having gone to school in the front lines in Southeast London, was that I became half-street-urchin and half-good-boy at home. I knew that dichotomy was possible. England is obsessed with where you came from, and they are determined to keep you in that place, be it in a drawing room or in the gutter. The great tradition of liberalism in England is essentially a sponge that absorbs all possibility of change. America looked different to me: the idea of America as a place of infinite possibilities was defined for me through the movies. I'm glad I did the classical work that I did, but it just wasn't for me. I'm a little bit perverse, and I just hate doing the thing that's the most obvious. Hide
Interviews are God's great joke on me. Interviews are God's great joke on me.
I was very influenced by Ken Loach's work from the moment I saw Kes (1969) when I was a kid. It stil Show more I was very influenced by Ken Loach's work from the moment I saw Kes (1969) when I was a kid. It still remains for me one of the most powerful pieces of work ever. Before that, there was Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), This Sporting Life (1963) and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), which all expressed a new British social realism. Undoubtedly, they opened up the possibility of examining British life in a new way. That was probably the most important film experience I had. Hide
[replying to a compliment on his articulation] I am more greatly moved by people who struggle to exp Show more [replying to a compliment on his articulation] I am more greatly moved by people who struggle to express themselves. Maybe it's a middle-class British hang-up, but I prefer the abstract concept of incoherence in the face of great feeling to beautiful, full sentences that convey little emotion. Hide
[on acting] If I weren't allowed this outlet, there wouldn't be a place for me in society. [on acting] If I weren't allowed this outlet, there wouldn't be a place for me in society.
[after filming The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)] I was hopelessly at sea. I was extremely un Show more [after filming The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)] I was hopelessly at sea. I was extremely unhappy most of the time. I think I probably felt I'd made a fundamental error in agreeing to do that movie even though it was the part and the film that everyone wanted to do. And God help us, that is, in itself, a reason not to do something. Hide
[on the United States] I probably do have a greater fascination for the history of this country than Show more [on the United States] I probably do have a greater fascination for the history of this country than I do for my own. I date that back to the moment that Michael Mann invited me to do The Last of the Mohicans (1992)]. I hedged my bets for a long time because I thought, "Why? Why would he want to do that?". Eventually I thought, "Well, if he's willing to take that chance, who am I to say no?". Hide
"I know as an Englishman, it's absolutely none of my business, but I'm so very grateful it was you." Show more "I know as an Englishman, it's absolutely none of my business, but I'm so very grateful it was you." [On Barack Obama's re-election, November 2012] Hide
Playing the part of Christy Brown [in My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)] left me with Show more Playing the part of Christy Brown [in My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)] left me with a sense of setting myself on a course, of trying to achieve something that was utterly out of reach. Hide
I became conflicted in my late teens. I imagined an alternative life as a furniture maker. For about Show more I became conflicted in my late teens. I imagined an alternative life as a furniture maker. For about a year I just didn't know what to do. I did laboring jobs-- working in the docks, construction sites. When I did make the decision to focus on acting, I think my mother was just relieved for me that I had finally started to focus. She probably feared for me much more than she ever let on, because all I got from her, no matter what I was doing was encouragement--so much so that I think I became quite a harsh judge of myself to try to restore some kind of balance. Hide
[on disengaging from a character after filming] There's a terrible sadness. The last day of shooting Show more [on disengaging from a character after filming] There's a terrible sadness. The last day of shooting is surreal. Your mind, your body, your spirit are not in any way prepared to accept that this experience is coming to an end. In the months that follow the finish of a film, you feel profound emptiness. You've devoted so much of your time to unleashing, in an unconscious way, some sort of spiritual turmoil, and even if it's uncomfortable, no part of you wishes to leave that character behind. The sense of bereavement is such that it can take years before you can put it to rest. Hide
[on the passing of Pete Postlethwaite] "Pos" was the one. As students, it was him we went to see on Show more [on the passing of Pete Postlethwaite] "Pos" was the one. As students, it was him we went to see on stage time and time again. It was him we wanted to be like: wild and true, lion-hearted, unselfconscious, irreverent. He was on our side. He watched out for us. We loved him and followed him like happy children, never a breath away from laughter. He shouldn't have gone. I wish so much that he hadn't. There's a tendency to make lists at this time of the year. When we get to the Best of British, if Pete isn't at the top of that list, he shouldn't be far from it. Hide
I used to go to all-night screenings of [Clint Eastwood] movies. I'd stagger out at 5 in the morning Show more I used to go to all-night screenings of [Clint Eastwood] movies. I'd stagger out at 5 in the morning, trying to be loose-limbed and mean and taciturn. Hide
The West has always been the epicenter of possibility. One of the ways we forge against mortality is Show more The West has always been the epicenter of possibility. One of the ways we forge against mortality is to head west. It's to do with catching the sun before it slips behind the horizon. We all keep moving toward the sun, wishing to get the last ray of hope before it sets. Hide
Since we got married 16 years ago, my wife [Rebecca Miller] has lived with some very strange men. Bu Show more Since we got married 16 years ago, my wife [Rebecca Miller] has lived with some very strange men. But luckily, she's the versatile one in the family and she's been the perfect companion to all of them. Hide
[on creating a characterization] The intention is always the same. To try to discover life in its en Show more [on creating a characterization] The intention is always the same. To try to discover life in its entirety, or at least create for yourself the illusion that you have, which might give you some chance of convincing other people of it. It's the same thing each time, but it requires totally different work in the process of achieving that. You are set on a path that's strewn with obstacles, but getting over them is the joy of the work. So it's impossible to think in terms of difficulty: it all seems utterly impossible, but the pleasure is in trying to forge ahead anyway. Hide
[on accepting the best actor Oscar for There Will Be Blood (2007)] This sprang like a sapling out of Show more [on accepting the best actor Oscar for There Will Be Blood (2007)] This sprang like a sapling out of the mad, beautiful head of Paul Thomas Anderson. Hide
[on the rumors surrounding his acting process]: Certainly in England I think they prefer to believe Show more [on the rumors surrounding his acting process]: Certainly in England I think they prefer to believe that I'm stone mad. That's how they account for all my eccentric behavior. But I always feel as if that has been largely misrepresented, the details that have been singled out...People are fascinated by the peripheral details. But that's not where the principal work takes place, obviously. That takes place either inside you, or it doesn't happen at all. It's your own life that breathes itself into and through the character. But people prefer to dwell on the stuff that appears on the face of it to be some form of self-flagellation. And for me, everything is part of the joy of discovering this life - that one is trying to inform as well as satisfying an irresistible curiosity. So it's the pleasure in learning that has always been the prevailing feeling for me. And yet consistently it's represented as this tortured thing. Hide
[on seeing his face on posters for The Last of the Mohicans (1992)] That was, and will always be, di Show more [on seeing his face on posters for The Last of the Mohicans (1992)] That was, and will always be, difficult for me. 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. I have never had a positive reaction to all the stuff that supposedly promotes the film. The thought of it will make me hesitate to do any films at all. Hide
I like to take a long time over things, and I believe that it's the time spent away from the work th Show more I like to take a long time over things, and I believe that it's the time spent away from the work that allows me to do the work itself. If you're lurching from from one film set or one theater to the other, I'm not sure what your resources would be as a human being. Hide
[on being presented the 2013 Best Actor Oscar by Meryl Streep] It's strange because three years ago, Show more [on being presented the 2013 Best Actor Oscar by Meryl Streep] It's strange because three years ago, before we decided to do a straight swap, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher and Meryl was Steven Spielberg's first choice for Lincoln (2012). I'd have liked to see that version. Hide
[on researching his role as Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007)] I read a lot of correspondence Show more [on researching his role as Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007)] I read a lot of correspondence dating from that period. Decent middle-class lives with wives and children were abandoned to pursue this elusive possibility. They were bank clerks and shipping agents and teachers. They all fled West for a sniff of cheap money. And they made it up as they went along. No one knew how to drill for oil. Initially, they scooped it out of the ground in saucepans. It was man at his most animalistic, sifting through filth to find bright, sparkly things. Hide
Before I start a film, there is always a period where I think, "I'm not sure I can do this again". I Show more Before I start a film, there is always a period where I think, "I'm not sure I can do this again". I remember that before I was going to start There Will Be Blood (2007), I wondered why I had said yes. When Martin Scorsese told me about Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York (2002), I wanted to change places with that man. But even then, I did not say yes right away. I kept thinking, "I'm not sure I can do this again". Hide
I miss playing [Abraham Lincoln]. Very much. I miss the proximity to his character. There was a time Show more I miss playing [Abraham Lincoln]. Very much. I miss the proximity to his character. There was a time in my life when it wasn't clear whether or not I would amount to anything. I was fearful about my future. In England, people were hell-bent on certifying me--to them, the way I work as an actor is the system of someone who is unhinged. As a young man, when I saw the early movies by Martin Scorsese, I saw a way to be, a kind of liberation. In those movies, America seemed like a place of infinite opportunities. In Lincoln (2012), we tried to show that sense of grand democratic possibility. We created a world I didn't want to leave. Hide
I am rather surprised that I haven't made more stories about my own country but it is a mistake to s Show more I am rather surprised that I haven't made more stories about my own country but it is a mistake to suggest that the biggest influence on my life in terms of movies has been America. It was and remains Ken Loach and his whole body of work, not that I have ever worked with him. There is something unique and pure about the way he works, without a taint on it. His beliefs have remained unwavering since he made Hide
[on photos of Abraham Lincoln by Alexander Gardner] I looked at them the way you sometimes look at y Show more [on photos of Abraham Lincoln by Alexander Gardner] I looked at them the way you sometimes look at your own reflection in a mirror and wonder who that person is looking back at you. Hide
My love for American movies was like a secret that I carried around with me. I always knew I could s Show more My love for American movies was like a secret that I carried around with me. I always knew I could straddle different worlds. I'd grown up in two different worlds and if you can grow up in two different worlds, you can occupy four. Or six. Why put a limit on it? Hide
Laurence Olivier might have been a much better actor on film if he hadn't had that flippant attitude Show more Laurence Olivier might have been a much better actor on film if he hadn't had that flippant attitude. [He] was a remarkable actor, but he was entirely missing the point consistently. He felt that film was an inferior form. Hide
[on why he takes long breaks between films] For my sense of continuity, I suppose I work in a certai Show more [on why he takes long breaks between films] For my sense of continuity, I suppose I work in a certain way. But it goes beyond that. It's really about the sense of joy you have in having worked hard to imagine and discover and--one hopes--to create a world, an illusion of a world that other people might believe in because you believe in it yourself, a form of self-delusion. After achieving that, it seems far crazier to jump in and out of that world that you've gone to such pains to create. And it wouldn't be my wish to do that, because I enjoy being in there. Hide
There's no point in making social comments badly. That is really dangerous... I don't like things th Show more There's no point in making social comments badly. That is really dangerous... I don't like things that just gripe. Hide
[His acceptance speech for Best Actor In A Leading Role SAG award for There Will Be Blood (2007)] Th Show more [His acceptance speech for Best Actor In A Leading Role SAG award for There Will Be Blood (2007)] Thank you. I'm very, very proud of this. Thank you so much for giving it to me. And I'm very proud to be included in that group of wonderful actors this year. You know, for as long as I can remember, the thing that gave me a sense of wonderment, of renewal, the thing that teased me with the question, "How is such a thing possible?", and then dare you to go back into the arena one more time, with longing and self-doubt, jostling in the balance. It's always been the work of other actors, and there are many actors in this room tonight, including my fellow nominees, who have given that sense of regeneration and Heath Ledger gave it to me. In Monster's Ball (2001), that character that he created, it seemed to be almost like an unformed being, retreating from themselves, retreating from his father, from his life, even retreating from us, and yet we wanted to follow him, and yet we're scared to follow him almost. It was unique. And then, of course, in Brokeback Mountain (2005), he was unique, he was perfect. And that scene in the trailer at the end of the film is as moving as anything that I think I've ever seen. And I'd like to dedicate this to Heath Ledger. So, thank you very much. Thank you so much. Hide
In every actor's life, there is a moment when they ask themselves, "Is it really seemly for me to st Show more In every actor's life, there is a moment when they ask themselves, "Is it really seemly for me to still be doing this?". Hide
[on researching his role as Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007)] I like to learn about things. I Show more [on researching his role as Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007)] I like to learn about things. It was just a great time trying to conceive of the impossibility of that thing. I didn't know anything about mining at the turn of the century in America. My boarding school in Kent didn't exactly teach that. Hide
[on obtaining Irish citizenship] I dare say it was still considered to be an abandonment of England! Show more [on obtaining Irish citizenship] I dare say it was still considered to be an abandonment of England! A betrayal! A heresy! It is not expected that someone from my background will leave England. But I've committed so many heresies that there's no sense in not making the final gesture. Hide
I saw Taxi Driver (1976) five or six times in the first week, and I was astonished by its sheer visc Show more I saw Taxi Driver (1976) five or six times in the first week, and I was astonished by its sheer visceral beauty. I just kept going back--I didn't know America, but that was a glimpse of what America might be, and I realized that, contrary to expectation, I wanted to tell American stories. Hide
[on applying to theater school, the Bristol Old Vic] I picked just one because then it would be a si Show more [on applying to theater school, the Bristol Old Vic] I picked just one because then it would be a sign from the gods if it was not meant to be. Hide
I don't particularly like westerns as a genre, but I do love certain westerns. High Noon (1952) mean Show more I don't particularly like westerns as a genre, but I do love certain westerns. High Noon (1952) means a lot to me--I love the purity and the honesty, I love Gary Cooper in that film, the idea of the last man standing. I do not like John Wayne--I find it hard to watch him. I just never took to him. And I don't like James Stewart as a cowboy. I love him, but just not as a cowboy; Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) is one of my favorite films. I love Frank Capra. I love Preston Sturges. But we're talking about westerns . . . I have always admired Clint Eastwood's westerns. The spaghetti westerns were a great discovery. And Pale Rider (1985). As a child, the John Ford film Cheyenne Autumn (1964) made a big impression on me. And Five Easy Pieces (1970). It's not really a western, but it is about the possibilities that can be found in the West. Jack Nicholson is sublime in that film, just sublime. It's the most stultifying portrait of middle-class life. You want to flee from that world and head anywhere less civilized. Which is, of course, the appeal of the West: It's not tamed yet. Hide
I suppose I have a highly developed capacity for self-delusion, so it's no problem for me to believe Show more I suppose I have a highly developed capacity for self-delusion, so it's no problem for me to believe I'm somebody else. Hide
[T]here's a quality of wildness that exists in Ireland that coincides with utter solitude. [T]here's a quality of wildness that exists in Ireland that coincides with utter solitude.
[on playing Jack Slevin in The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005)] I was, as always, wary of taking on t Show more [on playing Jack Slevin in The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005)] I was, as always, wary of taking on the role. This was a man whose soul was torn, and once you've adopted that kind of internal conflict, it's difficult to quiet. Hide
[on 'Martin Scorsese' (Fqv)] Martin doesn't have to convince me about anything. I can only say that Show more [on 'Martin Scorsese' (Fqv)] Martin doesn't have to convince me about anything. I can only say that I would wish for any one of my colleagues to have the experience of working with Marty once in their lifetime. If you get it twice, it's a privilege that you don't necessarily look for but you certainly don't try to avoid. Hide
Life comes first. What I see in the characters, I first try to see in life. Life comes first. What I see in the characters, I first try to see in life.
[on visiting the west of Ireland every year since childhood] From the day we arrived here, my sense Show more [on visiting the west of Ireland every year since childhood] From the day we arrived here, my sense of Ireland's importance has never diminished. Everything here seemed exotic to us. Just the sound of the west of Ireland in a person's voice can affect me deeply. Hide
It was always assumed that the classics were a good line of work for me because I had a decent voice Show more It was always assumed that the classics were a good line of work for me because I had a decent voice and the right nose. But anybody who comes from an essentially cynical European society is going to be bewitched by the sheer enthusiasm of the New World. And in America, the articulate use of language is often regarded with suspicion. Especially in the West. Look at the president. He could talk like an educated New Englander if he chose to. Instead, he holds his hands like a man who swings an ax. George W. Bush understands, very astutely, that many of the people who are going to vote for him would regard him less highly if he knew how to put words together. He would no longer be one of them. In Europe, the tradition is one of oratory. But in America, a man's man is never spendthrift with words. This, of course, is much more appealing in the movies than it is in politics. Hide
[on whether or not he will act in films more often in the future] Nothing happened over the course o Show more [on whether or not he will act in films more often in the future] Nothing happened over the course of making Gangs of New York (2002) that made me think, "Why don't I do this more often?". Hide
[on learning to box for The Boxer (1997)] I wanted to see if I loved the sport, because if I didn't Show more [on learning to box for The Boxer (1997)] I wanted to see if I loved the sport, because if I didn't love the sport, I wouldn't want to tell the story. At its best, boxing is very pure. It requires resilience and heart and self-belief even after it's been knocked out of you. It's a certain kind of a test. And it's hard: the training alone will kill you. And that's before people start giving you a dig. Hide
[on playing Abraham Lincoln] The minute you begin to approach him--and there are vast corridors that Show more [on playing Abraham Lincoln] The minute you begin to approach him--and there are vast corridors that have been carved that lead you to an understanding of that man's life, both through the great riches of his own writing and all the contemporary accounts and biographies--he feels immediately and surprisingly accessible. He draws you closer to him. Hide
[on his reluctance to expose the mechanics of his acting process] It's not that I want to pull the s Show more [on his reluctance to expose the mechanics of his acting process] It's not that I want to pull the shutters down. It's just that people have such a misconception about what it is I do. They think the character comes from staying in the wheelchair or being locked in the jail or whatever extravagant thing they choose to focus their fantasies on. Somehow, it always seems to have a self-flagellatory aspect to it. But that's just the superficial stuff. Most of the movies that I do are leading me toward a life that is utterly mysterious to me. My chief goal is to find a way to make that life meaningful to other people. Hide
I was deeply unsettled by the script [of There Will Be Blood (2007)]. For me, that is a sure sign. I Show more I was deeply unsettled by the script [of There Will Be Blood (2007)]. For me, that is a sure sign. If you remain unsettled by a piece of writing, it means you are not watching the story from the outside; you've already taken a step toward it. When I'm drawn to something, I take a resolute step backward, and I ask myself if I can really serve this story as well as it needs to be served. If I don't think I can do that, no matter how appealing, I will decline. What finally takes over, what took over with this movie, is an illusion of inevitability. I think, "Can this really be true? Is this happening to me again? Is there no way to avoid this?". Hide
Why would I want to play middle-aged, middle-class Englishmen? Why would I want to play middle-aged, middle-class Englishmen?
[on playing Abraham Lincoln] I thought this is a very, very bad idea. But by that time it was too la Show more [on playing Abraham Lincoln] I thought this is a very, very bad idea. But by that time it was too late. I had already been drawn into Lincoln's orbit. He has a very powerful orbit, which is interesting because we tend to hold him at such a distance. He's been mythologized almost to the point of dehumanization. But when you begin to approach him, he almost instantly becomes welcoming and accessible, the way he was in life. Hide
I'm woefully one-track-minded. Without sounding unhinged, I know I'm not Abraham Lincoln. I'm aware Show more I'm woefully one-track-minded. Without sounding unhinged, I know I'm not Abraham Lincoln. I'm aware of that. But the truth is the entire game is about creating an illusion, and for whatever reason, and mad as it may sound, some part of me can allow myself to believe for a period for time without questioning, and that's the trick. Maybe it's a terrible revelation about myself that one does feel able to do that. Hide
Whenever we reach what we think are the boundaries of our endurance, you know ten minutes later you' Show more Whenever we reach what we think are the boundaries of our endurance, you know ten minutes later you're thinking: "I could have done that"--like in any athletic pursuit--"I could have gone further than that; I could have jumped higher". Hide
[on researching his role as Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007)] Back then men would get the fev Show more [on researching his role as Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007)] Back then men would get the fever. They would keep digging, always with the idea that next time they'll throw the dice and the money will fall out of the sky. It killed a lot of men, it broke others, still more were reduced to despair and poverty, but they still believed in the promise of the West. Hide
[on stage vs. film acting in a 1987 interview] I'm greedy. I prefer both. By that I mean I feel that Show more [on stage vs. film acting in a 1987 interview] I'm greedy. I prefer both. By that I mean I feel that I'd be missing out if I were to do only one or the other. Hide
[on acting school] For a few years at school I tried to play the roles they wanted me to play, but i Show more [on acting school] For a few years at school I tried to play the roles they wanted me to play, but it became less and less interesting to ponce around the place. Even now, when I sometimes think of doing a play, I think of rehearsal rooms and people hugging and everyone talking over cups of coffee because they are nervous. It's both very touching and it makes me a little nauseous and claustrophobic. Too much talk. I don't rehearse at all in film if I can help it. In talking a character through, you define it. And if you define it, you kill it dead. Hide
The thing that Konstantin Stanislavski lays out is how you do the thing the first time every time - Show more The thing that Konstantin Stanislavski lays out is how you do the thing the first time every time - 1,000 times. That's the idea you're always searching for. Hide
I do have dual citizenship, but I think of England as my country. I miss London very much but I coul Show more I do have dual citizenship, but I think of England as my country. I miss London very much but I couldn't live there because there came a time when I needed to be private and was forced to be public by the press. I couldn't deal with it. Hide
Theatre invites a nuts-and-bolts process to rehearsing in which all the actors are transparent to ea Show more Theatre invites a nuts-and-bolts process to rehearsing in which all the actors are transparent to each other. For me, even if the truth I am looking for might be a specious one, I still need to believe in a kernel of truth. And I find it hard to do in a rehearsal situation where everyone is saying, "Are you going to do it like that?" It is distracting and deadly in the end to any discovery you might make. I'm never far away from a sense of potential absurdity of what I am doing, and maybe as I get older I have to work harder and harder to obliterate it. That's maybe why I seem to take it far too seriously. Hide
My ambition for many years was to be involved in work that was utterly compelling to me, regardless Show more My ambition for many years was to be involved in work that was utterly compelling to me, regardless of the consequences. But I worried a lot as a young man about where such and such a thing might take me; you're encouraged to think that way. You're supposed to build a career for yourself. But there's no part of me that was able to do that. And thank God I was able to recognize it before I sort of went grey with anxiety. Hide
[on choosing film roles] I begin with a sense of mystery. In other words, I am intrigued by a life t Show more [on choosing film roles] I begin with a sense of mystery. In other words, I am intrigued by a life that seems very far removed from my own. And I have a sense of curiosity to discover that life and maybe change places with it for a while. Hide
[accepting the Best Actor award at SAG, 2013] It occurred to me--it was an actor that murdered Abrah Show more [accepting the Best Actor award at SAG, 2013] It occurred to me--it was an actor that murdered Abraham Lincoln. And therefore, somehow it is only so fitting that every now and then an actor tries to bring him back to life again. Hide
I have no illusion about the fact that I'm an Englishman living in Ireland. Even though I do straddl Show more I have no illusion about the fact that I'm an Englishman living in Ireland. Even though I do straddle both worlds and I'm very proud to be able to carry both passports. But I do know where I come from. I particularly miss southeast London--the front-lines of Deptford and Lewisham and New Cross and Charlton--because that's my patch. Hide
[on working when he was a teenager as an extra in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)] I was just a local ki Show more [on working when he was a teenager as an extra in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)] I was just a local kid. I got to come out of the church, the same church where I sang in the choir, and scratch up a row of cars--a Jag, a Bentley--parked in front. I thought, "I get paid for this!". Years later I saw the director, John Schlesinger, at the Edinburgh festival, where we were showing My Beautiful Laundrette (1985). I play a hooligan punk in that, too. I said to Schlesinger, "I guess I haven't progressed much". Hide
I've managed to create a sense of banishment in so many different areas of my life. I live in Irelan Show more I've managed to create a sense of banishment in so many different areas of my life. I live in Ireland, not England. I make films in America. And now I'm banished from the theater because I've slagged it off so much. And I did the unspeakable thing of fleeing from "Hamlet". Hide
Daniel Day-Lewis's FILMOGRAPHY
as Actor (18)
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