Regarded as possibly the greatest living actor, one thing is for certain, nobody works as hard in preparation for a role as DANIEL DAY LEWIS.
The term ‘Method Acting’ has somewhat been diluted in recent years as what was once what thought of as an avant-garde, ‘out-there‘, even extreme approach to acting has become the norm. Pretty much every actor, be it stage or screen, will adopt some of the basic principals of The Method whether it be spending some time with a local police unit ready for a cop role, or visiting a drug rehabilitation centre to uncover the deeper side of life as a heroin addict. But none take it to the level of Daniel Day lewis who is well known for staying in character for months at a time, sleeping rough on the streets, and not even conversing normally with his wife during filming.
So why go to such lengths? Is it really necessary? As Sir Lawrence Olivier famously said to his exhausted and tortured method co-star Dustin Hoffman during filming for Marathon Man:
“My dear boy, why don’t you try acting it’s so much easier?”
DAY LEWIS explains:
“With respect to Lawrence…he’s missing the point.”
“I follow my curiosity and it takes me into all kinds of strange places…I do it for the simple reason that there are things I need to know and understand for my own sake”
“I feel that I owe it to that person, that being, to try and understand them”
As the saying goes…whatever works for you.