Daniel Day-Lewis Definitively Announces He’s Quitting Acting


Record-setting, shape-shifting three-time Best Actor Oscar Winner Daniel Day-Lewis has released a definitive statement (via a spokesperson) about quitting acting — leaving accents around the globe orphaned and desperate.

As The Hollywood Reporter notes, in the ’90s he went into “semi-retirement” in order to focus on woodworking and shoemaking. (Legend has it he can make a shoe look and speak exactly like any other shoe.) His spokesperson, Leslee Dart, however, does not make clear the reasons for his newly announced total retirement. In fact, she made it staunchly unclear. The statement in THR reads:

Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor. He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject.

I want to say that this will perhaps be the same type of “retirement” as someone like Steven Soderbergh’s (as in, not really a retirement at all), but Day-Lewis has always seemed to move to the disciplined beat of his own drum. The statement sounds very final.

Lewis is known, particularly since that “semi-retirement” phase predating Gangs of New York, for his hyper-selectivity: since the mid-90s, there were at least two to three year gaps between most of his movies. This also happens to do with the fact that he can take years, and various fascinating approaches, to prepare a role; he said he spent three years honing his There Will Be Blood character.

And, speaking of There Will Be Blood, the silver lining is that there’s one new DDL performance we’ll still be seeing following this declaration: he’s the star of Paul Thomas Anderson’s next film, Phantom Thread. It’s out December 25, and is a drama about the London fashion industry in the 1950s.

Read Flavorwire’s analysis of one of his best, most layered performances to date — in a Japanese commercial for water.