In an unexpected shocker for fans, British-Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis has announced his retirement post the completion of his now-last film, Phantom Thread.
The reclusive triple-Oscar awardee had, on a previous occasion, taken a hiatus from acting until his appearance in Gangs of New York (2002). This time though, a return seems unlikely. Over the years, the acclaimed method actor has delivered a plethora of characters, each so convincing that one would be hard-pressed to find a trace of Day-Lewis in them.
Now that the Paul Thomas Anderson movie will not release till Christmas this year, here are some of Day-Lewis' memorable performances to fill the void, in no particular order:
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
Day-Lewis plays Tomas, a Czech surgeon in this adaptation of the eponymous Milan Kundera novel. As the womanizer who is conflicted in his emotional attachment with his wife, Day-Lewis delivers a decidedly grey character with conviction.
A Room With A View (1985)
While the film is dominated by Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy and Julian Sands as George, Daniel Day-Lewis earns your attention as the uppity Cecil Vyse, Lucy's fiance. His Edwardian-era snobbishness and pretentious demeanour is- as is always the case with Day-Lewis- so convincing that you feel instant hate towards the character, and instense awe for the actor.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Another in the series of compelling portrayals, Day-Lewis plays oil prospector Daniel Plainview with spine-chilling finesse. Hailed as a quintessential American masterpiece, the Paul Thomas Anderson film follows the rise of the unscrupulous businessman during the Texas oil boom, and Day-Lewis embodies the capitalist, exploitative spirit, like no one else. His performance won him his second Oscar after My Left Foot.
The Last Of The Mohicans (1992)
To say that Daniel Day-Lewis has taken 'stepping into the character's shoes' very seriously would be an understatement. His dedication is evident in the Michael Mann-directed The Last of the Mohicans where he plays Hawkeye/Nathaniel Poe- the white warrior in a Native American clan with the ease of a seasoned soldier.
My Left Foot (1989)
Arguably Day-Lewis' finest performance, if one could find any common reference to compare his performances to. His incredibly accurate portrayal as Christy Brown, the Irish artist who suffered from cerebral palsy redefined method acting, and also won Day-Lewis his first Oscar.
Gangs of New York (2002)
Menacing, is the only way to describe Day-Lewis in character as Bill "the Butcher" Cutting, a gang leader spearheading the "natives" against the immigrant Irish Catholics. Daniel Day-Lewis actually apprenticed with a butcher to learn the skills that get the goon his nickname. While the Scorcese movie is an average East Coast-gunslinger, Day-Lewis shines with his on-point accent and maniacal persona.
While the Oscar nod to Daniel Day-Lewis' turn as the iconic American president was not a surprise, it is the unsettling resemblance between the two that holds you spellbound. And while makeup artists are to be credited for the physical appearance, the actor deserves to be lauded for convincingly portraying a well-loved legend without much reference regarding his persona, demeanour and even voice.
No list does justice to describe the overwhelming, albeit infrequent, roles that Daniel Day-Lewis has essayed. His preparation for his roles are the stuff of urban legends, and the man- who will regrettably appear before audiences for the last time this December- an institution in himself.