Daniel Day-Lewis opens up about retiring from acting after Phantom Thread

As exciting as it will be to witness Daniel Day-Lewis' latest project with Paul Thomas Anderson, it will also be a little bittersweet as PHANTOM THREAD will serve as Daniel Day-Lewis' final acting role. The actor announced his retirement earlier this year, but in a recent interview with W Magazine, he's finally opened up about retiring from his craft. "Before making the film, 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," Day-Lewis said. "That took us by surprise: We didn’t realize what we had given birth to. It was hard to live with. And still is." As for why he's leaving the profession behind, Daniel Day-Lewis admits to not being entirely sure, but it does seem that he's lost some of the passion for the work.

“I haven’t figured it out,” he said. “But it’s settled on me, and it’s just there. Not wanting to see the film is connected to the decision I’ve made to stop working as an actor. But it’s not why the sadness came to stay. That happened during the telling of the story, and I don’t really know why.” He paused again. “One of my sons is interested in musical composition, so I showed him the film Tous Les Matins du Monde, about the French composer Sainte-Colombe. My son was deeply struck by the sobriety that it took to create that work, Sainte-Colombe’s refusal to accept less than what was extraordinary from himself or anyone else. I dread to use the overused word ‘artist,’ but there’s something of the responsibility of the artist that hung over me. I need to believe in the value of what I’m doing. The work can seem vital. Irresistible, even. And if an audience believes it, that should be good enough for me. But, lately, it isn’t.”

As with many of his roles, Daniel Day-Lewis went through extensive preparation to get into the mind-set of Reynolds Woodcock. The actor learned every aspect of the couturier's trade among other things, but also "meticulously invented every aspect of Woodcock’s personal wardrobe, from the wool and cashmere fabrics he selected from Savile Row tailor Anderson & Sheppard to the bishop purple socks he ordered from an ecclesiastical shop in Rome to the shoes he had custom made at George Cleverley, in London." Day-Lewis added that he "gave so much thought to every single detail. I was probably infuriating." I've no doubt that the final result will be stunning, but I'll be sure to savour PHANTOM THREAD all the more, knowing that it may very well be the final performance of Daniel Day-Lewis' career. The actor has considered leaving the acting world behind several times before, but this time around, he issued a public statement to make sure he followed through.

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.

The official synopsis for PHANTOM THREAD:

Set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

PHANTOM THREAD will hit theaters on December 25, 2017.

Source: W Magazine

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.