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The Daniel Day-Lewis Bio

The Daniel Day-Lewis Review –

by Nate Lee


Daniel Day-Lewis

You could put up virtually any of the award-winning films as contenders, and certainly "A Room with a View" is brilliant, too. But the epic quality of "Gangs" is indistinguishable from the gigantic, benevolent, bloody monster at its core. Day-Lewis embodies Civil-War-era New York and is verily the progenitor of its eight-million stories.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
A Room with a View (Helena Bonham Carter's unbearable fiancé)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (A Czech doctor and womanizer)
The Age of Innocence (turn-of-the-century aristocrat in love with his fiancée's cousin, Michell Pfeiffer)
Award-Winning Performances:
There Will Be Blood (Oscar, SAG and Golden Globe-winning performance as a ruthless oilman)
Gangs of New York (SAG-winning and Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as an even more ruthless gang lord in nineteenth-century New York)
My Left Foot (Oscar-winning and Golden Globe-nominated performance as Christy Brown, an Irish writer and painter born with cerebral palsy)
In the Name of the Father (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as Gerry Conlon, wrongly imprisoned for IRA bombings)
The Boxer (Golden Globe-nominated performance as an ex-member of the IRA returning home)
Last of the Mohicans (Hawkeye, a frontiersman during the French and Indian War)
The Crucible
The Bounty
The Real Daniel Day-Lewis:
In the Name of the Father

Though he comes from private-school British stock, Daniel seems to have always fancied the working class and the downtrodden, which often, in England, means the Irish. Causing trouble in school, Day-Lewis has lamented the fact that he wasn't closer to his father, though his dad did live to see him perform on the West End stage.
Acting Style:
Complex. Daniel often plays real people – often hyper-real – and plays them completely. Known for deep mining of his characters, he refuses to break out of his characters during filming, even when it means staying in a wheelchair. For him, it seems that it is more living the part than acting the part.
Bits and Quirks:
Day-Lewis takes the crown for immersing himself in his roles. Playing a prisoner, he spent days in a cell; for "Mohicans," he learned how to track and skin animals, throw a tomahawk, and other frontier skills. With all that, though, he still exhibits many of the traits of a tall, skinny fellow: a prominent slouch, a sauntering, long-legged gait, and a bird-like use of his hands and arms, when they aren't tucked behind his back. Also, he leads with his voice. He seems to find an unusual accent and vocal style and often lets that do the work for him. Maybe it's a result of his early brilliant success with "My Left Foot," where he couldn't move, but Daniel is still comfortable delivering an entire monologue without moving a muscle.
Great Scenes:
My Left Foot

> Playing soccer in the street, kicking a goal
> Stealing the coal
> Screaming out his love for his therapist, Fiona Shaw, in the restaurant
> The reception and reading of his work

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

> Burying the dog
> The invasion of Czechoslavakia by the Russians
> Meeting with the Russian officer in his medical office and blowing him off

In the Name of the Father

> Being chased by the British soldiers at the beginning
> The heart-to-heart with his dad in jail
> The torture
> Both of the courtroom scenes

A Room With a View

> Calling off the wedding
> Reading the book during the tennis match
> Reading the passage about his fiancée without realizing it

Gangs of New York

> The battle at the beginning, especially his speech
> Facing DiCaprio at the end in the smoke
> The fire brigade scenes
> Throwing knives at Cameron Diaz
> Sitting in a rocking chair, wrapped in a flag, talking to DiCaprio who is in bed
> Showing DiCaprio the parts of a pig and lecturing him on stabbing

There Will Be Blood

> Being baptized
> Final showdown with the preacher, Eli
> His sales pitch to the townspeople
> The gusher and corresponding deafness of his son