Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis (born 29 April 1957) is an English/Irish two-time Academy Award-winner and legendarily intense method actor. He has starred in such acclaimed films as My Left Foot, Age Of Innocence, The Last of the Mohicans, In the Name of the Father, Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood. Will next be seen playing Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's long-gestating biopic.
This actor provided examples of:
- Badass Moustache: Two of the most iconic as Bill the Butcher and Daniel Plainview.
- Call to Agriculture/Cincinnatus: After learning to make his own clothes in preparation for one film, he left film for six years to become a cobbler in Venice.
- Death Glare: Check out the absolute crackers he gives to his nurse/ future wife when she tries to take his hidden bottle of whiskey off him in My Left Foot, to Eli Sunday during his "confirmation" in There Will Be Blood, and at several points during Gangs of New York.
- Doing It for the Art: As has been mentioned, Day-Lewis is one of the most well known method actors around, to the point where he's actually achieved a memetic status as the go to for insane dedication to acting, as during the filming process, he never gets out of character. While playing Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York, he famously refused to seek medical treatment for pneumonia until it became almost life threatening, as it was not in keeping with available medical treatment in the 1860's. He also ad libbed tapping on his glass eye with a knife to intimidate William Tweed. When playing a villain, he will accost other actors in character on and off the set, and get into fights in bars in preparation for a role. When playing any character, he will spend six months mastering an accent, learning various crafts, and adopting disabilities.
- Dyeing for Your Art: Trained as a boxer for three years and broke a knuckle for his role in The Boxer
- Enforced Method Acting: Self-enforced.
- Fake American: Several roles but see especially Bill the Butcher and Daniel Plainview.
- Large Ham: See Chewing the Scenery for more details.
- Method Acting
- Playing Against Type: He doesn't exactly have a type, per se, but he first drew attention in America for playing two incredibly different roles in movies that happened to premiere in the US on the same day: as the repressed, snobbish, upper-class, Edwardian-era Englishman Cecil in A Room With A View; and Johnny, the gay ex-skinhead thug in Thatcher's London engaged in a forbidden romance with a Pakistani boy, in My Beautiful Laundrette. Many critics were impressed that he did both roles so convincingly.
- Retroactive Recognition: He had a very small part in Gandhi and was an extra in Sunday Bloody Sunday.
- Serious Business: Notoriously takes acting very seriously. Luckily he's very good at it.
- What Could Have Been: He actively campaigned for the part of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, but was turned down by Quentin Tarantino.