Method acting allows performers to delve deeply into the minds of certain characters. They abandon their own personalties and preferences and truly become the personas they've been cast to play. This technique is fairly popular, but actor Daniel Day-Lewis takes method acting a step further. Generally regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time, Day-Lewis is as famous for his role preparation as he is for his mind-blowing performances.
Several actors and filmmakers have discussed what it's like to work with Day-Lewis. Their accounts suggest that he's obsessively dedicated to his craft and determined to make his characters tangible. To put it simply, Day-Lewis can be intense; the guy is committed. Even if his level of focus is somewhat intimidating, he's clearly devoted to and passionate about his craft.
He Made Everyone Call Him Mr. President While Filming 'Lincoln'Photo: Lincoln/Walt Disney Studios
Daniel Day-Lewis remains in character during production for all of his movies. He speaks, moves, eats, breathes, and lives as his character, regardless of how long a film might take to shoot. In Lincoln, for example, Day-Lewis remained totally in character for three months without breaking once. "You could only address him as Mr. President," costar Lukas Haas said. "Even Spielberg had to."442Full method?
He Lived Off Of The Land For Six Months In Preparation For 'The Last Of The Mohicans'
Daniel Day-Lewis played legendary 18th century American survivalist Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans. The actor approached the role with his unique dedication. He lived off the land for an astounding six months. During that time, Day-Lewis built his own canoes, learned to use a tomahawk, tracked, hunted, and skinned animals for food, and brought a 12 pound flintlock wherever he went, even to Christmas dinner.
In describing his character and preparations, Day-Lewis told The New York Times, "I liked the idea of a man who had not been touched by 20th century neurosis. A life that isn't drawn inwards."444Full method?
He Lived Like A 17th Century Salem Villager For 'The Crucible'
Daniel Day-Lewis's portrayal of John Proctor in The Crucible is one of his less-discussed roles, but it is, nonetheless, one of his finest. To accurately depict a 17th century Salem villager, Day-Lewis lived on the set for the whole movie. He also built his character's house from the ground up and lived with no electricity or running water. And, most insanely, the actor bathed like a villager would have. Which is to say, that he did not bathe at all, not once.402Full method?
He Wanted To Be Abused During Filming Of 'In The Name Of The Father'
Daniel Day-Lewis portrayed Irishman Gerry Conlon during In the Name of the Father. Day-Lewis's character is wrongly convicted of a terrorist bombing. So to prepare for the role, the actor followed his usual intense methods. He lived in a prison cell for a period of time with neither food nor water, and he lost 50 pounds for the role. Day-Lewis also insisted that crew members abuse him. He asked to be verbally assaulted and drenched in water.372Full method?