Why Daniel Day-Lewis Is Calling It Quits


Focus Features

Daniel Day-Lewis shocked the world in June when he announced his intentions to quit acting for good. His spokesperson said:

“Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor. He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject.”

In a recent interview with W Magazine, Day-Lewis did comment further, saying that his decision to retire was spurred after he was “overwhelmed by a sense of sadness” while shooting Phantom Thread, his forthcoming collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson that’s set for release on Christmas day. In the film Day-Lewis plays “renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock,” who “finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.”

Said Day-Lewis:

“Before making [Phantom Thread], I didn’t know I was going to stop acting. I do know that Paul and I laughed a lot before we made the movie. And then we stopped laughing because we were both overwhelmed by a sense of sadness. That took us by surprise: We didn’t realize what we had given birth to. It was hard to live with. And still is.”

The sadness seems to still overcome him. While the actor said he has seen many of his other films, he does not plan on viewing Phantom Thread.

He continued:

“I knew it was uncharacteristic to put out a statement. But I did want to draw a line. I didn’t want to get sucked back into another project. All my life, I’ve mouthed off about how I should stop acting, and I don’t know why it was different this time, but the impulse to quit took root in me, and that became a compulsion. It was something I had to do.”

When asked to reflect on his feelings about his acting retirement, he said:

“Do I feel better? Not yet. I have great sadness. And that’s the right way to feel. How strange would it be if this was just a gleeful step into a brand-new life. I’ve been interested in acting since I was 12 years old, and back then, everything other than the theater—that box of light—was cast in shadow. When I began, it was a question of salvation. Now, I want to explore the world in a different way.”

Here’s the trailer for the film that has taken one of the world’s greatest actors from us. (Thanks a lot, Anderson!)


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