When the name is uttered (“Hi, I’m Daniel Day-Lewis…”), a surge of emotions runs through one’s body. “Strange”, “intelligent” and “reclusive” are the most prominent descriptive words that arise from my literary heart. Since the late eighties, Mr. Lewis has been regarded as one of the finest talents around, following his portrayal of Christy Brown in My Left Foot.
Following that he has defined himself in such movies as Gangs of New York, There Will Be Blood and his latest release, Lincoln. His time really is the twenty-first century, whilst he had good roles and gave good performances in the eighties and nineties, this is his time. When the incredible Marlon Brando died in 2004, Day-Lewis moved to the top spot of greatest living actor, with Joaquin Phoenix and Bobby De Niro trailing behind him in second and third positions.
Monsieur Lewis is a method actor, that technique which has led to such amazing portrayals like De Niro as Travis in Taxi Driver, Phoenix in The Master, Brando in The Godfather and On the Waterfront. But his dedication to his craft goes far beyond any of these lads with role preparations we are, as film connoisseurs, all too familiar with. Much has been said about them but I ask you this, did they pay off? Hell, yes. What I am about to say in these five points has been said before, but it’s time to listen people.
So, then, let’s begin on 5 reasons Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest actor of all time…
5. His Absolute Dedication To His Craft
It all began when he learnt Czech and refused to break character on and off set for his role as a surgeon in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Since then he has starred in My Left Foot, where he portrays a man with cerebral palsy who can only move his left foot and you see where I’m going with this, don’t you?
Throughout shooting, Lewis did not break character; he remained confined to a wheelchair, much to the annoyance of his cast and fellow crew who were ordered to feed him. He becomes his characters, which is evident with Last of the Mohicans, when he learned how live like his character, off of the land. He skinned animals, hunted them and fished, the old fashioned way.
For Gangs of New York he lived and breathed that epoch, wearing their clothes and again never breaking character. He could’ve gone pro in boxing after his extensive training for The Boxer and for Lincoln; he lived Abe, read hundreds of books and again, never broke character. These practices have been received by warm and heated reviews, but in mine, they are received very warmly. Never have we seen one so dedicated to great acting whereby it fails to become acting, instead it becomes him living as someone else. He is Lincoln and Bill the Butcher.
This article was first posted on February 25, 2013