The Spotlight: Daniel Day-Lewis says not wanting to watch 'Phantom Thread' is connected to his decision to retire from acting
(image via Focus Features)
The way Daniel Day-Lewis talks about his new film Phantom Thread, it's not hard to see why he's hanging it up.
In an incredibly candid sit-down with W Magazine, Day-Lewis described his "creative life" as both a "blessing and a curse" that both "feeds you and eats away at you; gives you life and is killing you at the same time.”
Set in post-World War II London, Day-Lewis plays a renowned dressmaker struggling with his creative process while trying to balance a relationship with a new, young muse. Phantom Thread is director Paul Thomas Anderson's eighth film, his second starring Day-Lewis. The pair collaborated on 2007's There Will Be Blood, which earned Day-Lewis the Oscar nod for Best Actor.
"Before making the film, I didn’t know I was going to stop acting," says Day-Lewis. "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.”
Day-Lewis formerly announced his plans to retire from acting back in June following production and it doesn't sound like he's wavered. He's made similar threats before, but says something was different this time. Day-Lewis hasn't seen Phantom Thread and doesn't intend to.
“I haven’t figured it out,” he says. “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.”
"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.”
Don't lose hope completely. After his broken arm heals from his September motorcycle accident Day-Lewis says he hopes to find some insight in the ring.
“I’m going to hold all my grudges in until the doctor gives me the word, and then I’ll start swinging.” Day-Lewis smiled. “I’m looking forward to that time. Maybe if I hit the heavy bag, I’ll find some answers.”
Phantom Thread hits theaters Dec. 25.
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