Daniel Day-Lewis, the actor haunted by the ghost of his father

If this time the charm and if you are a staunch fan of Daniel Day-Lewis (born in London in 1957, but of dual British and Irish nationality), as soon as the new film of Paul Thomas Anderson, The invisible threadHe must rush to the nearest movie theater to make sure he sees his idol one last time on the big screen. Because if this time he delivers on his promise, his portrayal of a fictional Balenciaga-inspired fashion designer will be his farewell on camera.

It is true that in 1999 he already did something similar and retired to work as a shoemaker in Italy (which, apparently, he was not bad at all and with which he could have perfectly earned a living), until Scorsese managed to get him out of there to roll Gangs of New York (2002). But this time there is a disturbing fact: in the beginning, Day-Lewis was one of the best-rated theatrical actors, but everything changed when, during a performance of Hamlet in 1989, he gave the fright and left the stage never to step on it again.

With Vicky Krieps in The invisible thread.


The reason? That the ominous sensation struck him that he was speaking to the ghost of his father. And now he has stated that, during the filming of his new movie, one day he realized that he had built a character that was exactly like his father. It was to end his participation in the film and launch the statement announcing his retirement.

Whether it’s true or not, even if Day-Lewis didn’t shoot another single frame, he’s left it behind in the score of movies shot since he debuted without being credited in Sunday, damn Sunday (John Schlesinger, 1971) is of impressive solidity. Not only quantitatively, for being the only one to win the Oscar for Best Actor three times: for My left Foot (Jim Sheridan, 1989); Wells of Ambition (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007) and Lincoln (Steven Spielbgerg, 2012). Also for his ability to construct interpretations that have captivated audiences, such as Hawkeye by The last Mohican (Michael Mann, 1992), el Newland Archer de The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese, 1993) or Gerry Conlon of In the name of the Father (Jim Sheridan, 1993).

As if that were not enough, he has managed to build an aura of rarity that also gives him the status that only stars like Brando have managed to achieve: there is, for example, his legendary method of getting into roles that, for example, made him learn to building canoes or skinning animals for Mann’s movie, or being about to become seriously ill because, during the filming of Gangs of New York, he refused to take antibiotics to cure a lung infection or to wear appropriate warm clothing, simply because at the time of the film his character would not have had access to either. Thus, it is not surprising that for him the process of detaching himself from his characters is especially painful, because he lives them 24 hours a day for even a year before starting filming. In fact, he has stated that leaving Lincoln behind, someone who at first did not appeal to him, filled him with anxiety: he would have liked to continue being him.

In The invisible thread.

In The invisible thread.


There is speculation that the fact that he leaves acting does not mean that he is leaving the cinema, and that he would be interested in trying his luck as a director or producer. Be that as it may, his breaks of up to five years between film and film show that, in fact, he can live perfectly and peacefully without the cinema in the quiet Irish county of Wicklow, where he resides with his wife, the writer, director and actress. Rebecca Miller, and the two children he has had with her (before he was the father of Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis, the result of his relationship with Isabelle Adjani, who has recently uncovered himself as a model and singer). A place, by the way, where John Boorman is a neighbor, who located there his Excalibur (1981).

There, this admirer of Gary Cooper on Only in the face of danger (Fred Zinnemann, 1952) will have all the time in the world to think about what he is going to do from now on if he fulfills his announcement. Whatever it is, it will be a conscientious thing that he will go deeper and deeper into … until perhaps the ghost of his father reappears.