Daniel Day-Lewis

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Post  katha on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:49 am

Since he's nominated for an Oscar again and I've always been a big fan...

I think DDL is a ridiculously brilliant actor and that a large part of this brilliance is his versatility. Most don't deny that he's a very good actor, but I often hear criticism labeled at him a la "only does serious/intense, always chews the scenery". I don't agree. I think Bill the Butcher was a genius comic performance, a genius comic performance of an evil character, but still. His turn in Room With A View brought out the ridiculousness of the character. His Abraham Lincoln is supposedly a warm, humorous presence. He plays larger than life if the part demands it, but can be beautifully subtle and understated when it's needed (see his work in The Age of Innocence, The Boxer or In the Name of the Father). He always plays in a way that is appropriate for the context of the film, like not going all tortured hero in The Last of the Mohicans, since that is about the music video aesthetic and the action and trying to make his character too complex would have broken the movie.

So I guess I don't really see the "Look at me I'm acting!" mannerism that his critics level at him, his judgement when it comes to his performances and how they fit into any given film seems mostly impeccable to me (yes, he did Nine. No, it wasn't a good idea.). Well, that was a lot of gushing to start the thread. (-:

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Post  blixie on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:16 am

I agree about his acting to me he always finds the relateable and human in whoever he's playing even if sometimes their humanity is just 20 times bigger than anyone elses. I do think that in his career it's interesting how few *contemporary* characters he's played. Basically My Beautiful Laundrette, Ballad of Jack and Rose, and Nine and maybe The Boxer I never saw that and I'm not sure when it was set.

On side note I almost fell over when I saw him at the Incredibly Budget Broadcast Critics Choice Awards last. I don't believe I have ever seen him look hotter and dressed better in life. I liked his speech because it seems as if this role, even amongst the really interesting real life people he has played, meant a tremendous amount to him, and it showed. Then he cracked me up by commenting on how Budget the proceedings were.

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Post  Agent Sculder on Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:04 am

I think because he's taken long breaks between films, I think people have forgotten that earlier in his career he's given subtler and even humorous performances when the part calls for it. And his performance in Lincoln is very much in that vein. His Abraham Lincoln is very serious (given the fact he's dealing with the Civil War and family issues it makes sense), but he's also very much a man of the people, a man who makes sure he stays in touch with "common" Americans, and is able to connect with them. It's a really warm performance, and DDL just disappears into the role.

I think what bothers his detractors most is his very strict adherence to "the Method". If he's such a great actor, why does he HAVE to stay in character the WHOLE time. Can't he just pretend? I'm sure it can be a pain in the ass to work with him for that reason. I know I wouldn't have wanted to call him "Mr. President" no matter how much he looked the part. But I can't really argue that what he does obviously works. There's a reason why he's being nominated a fifth time, and is pretty much a lock to win his third Oscar. I don't think anyone has a record like that in the Best Actor category.

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Post  katha on Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:52 am

Oh, I think the criticism about the consequences of his Method acting is totally warranted. Not that he stays in character all the time, that's craftship and I don't think it's inferior to other techniques. As long as the results are convincing I don't care what methods actors use for themselves to get there. But as soon as it starts affecting other people on the set and their work IMO criticism or openly talking about the repercussions of that is fair game. To me that's not attacking DDL but simple acknowledgement that certain allowances for his way of acting need to be made (Or not. At this point everyone should know how he works and if they want to put up with it).

It probably also depends on what sort of character he is playing. Him staying in character as Lincoln all the time might have been annoying, but having to deal with him when he was playing psychotic mass murderer Bill the Butcher must have been challenging. Gangs of New York was I think also the movie where you heard the most grumblings/stories/gossip emerging about difficulties, other actors complaining etc. The performance was phenomenal, but it probably meant a lot of stress for the people working with him there. He seems friendly and low-key outside of his roles, him not being a diva otherwise might make people in the industry more "forgiving" towards his way of working during shooting. And of course that he usually gets them prestige, good reviews and awards.

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Post  Morning Angel on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:10 am

katha wrote:It probably also depends on what sort of character he is playing. Him staying in character as Lincoln all the time might have been annoying, but having to deal with him when he was playing psychotic mass murderer Bill the Butcher must have been challenging. Gangs of New York was I think also the movie where you heard the most grumblings/stories/gossip emerging about difficulties, other actors complaining etc. The performance was phenomenal, but it probably meant a lot of stress for the people working with him there. He seems friendly and low-key outside of his roles, him not being a diva otherwise might make people in the industry more "forgiving" towards his way of working during shooting. And of course that he usually gets them prestige, good reviews and awards.

Exactly. If you play a nice enough character, being so immersed doesn't seem so bad. But if you have to play a really dark character, it seems like it could really mess you up, and make you pretty difficult to interact with during that period.

It's not a wonder he makes so few movies if he has to make himself disappear so completely into a role for that whole period of time. Must be difficult not only for a crew, but for his family and friends. I remember reading that when he filmed "The Ballad of Jack and Rose", which is his wife wrote and directed, he lived away from her and their children during shooting.

But truly, he was brilliant as Lincoln. He's a really impressive actor.
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Post  Paris, Texas on Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:14 am

I am insanely jealous of his Rebecca Miller. I love all of her books and movies, plus she's beautiful and has born DDL's babies.

As for him, he's fantastic, though I thought his Daniel Plainview totally overrated (as was Paul Dano, and the film overall, really) and his American accents are weird. On the other hand I loved Gangs of New York (Scorsese's only good film of the decade) and him in it; the only thing I disliked about it was miscast Cameron Diaz.

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Post  katha on Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:04 pm

I admire his work in There Will Be Blood, but yeah, he made a couple of performance choices there that worked for me but I can totally see where others might have been bothered by it. Agree on Gangs of New York, one of my favourite performances ever, one of my favourite movie characters ever. And yes, Diaz was totally miscast and out of her depth, IMO DiCaprio and his accent were uneven as well.

What cracked me up last night at the Golden Globes is that they tried to play him off and he was just totally unfazed. Then he used the music as some sort of heroic soundtrack for his Spielberg tribute, he even started talking slower and in sync with the score! Heh, I thought that was awesome.

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Post  whatthedeuce on Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:27 pm

DDL is too badass to care about people trying to play him off the stage. That, or he's in character for his next film in which a hapless actor can't understand other people's social cues and just rambles regardless of what's going on around him.

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Post  Miss Moneypenny on Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:01 pm

katha wrote:What cracked me up last night at the Golden Globes is that they tried to play him off and he was just totally unfazed. Then he used the music as some sort of heroic soundtrack for his Spielberg tribute, he even started talking slower and in sync with the score! Heh, I thought that was awesome.

I could almost see him thinking, "Oh, how lovely. They've given me some added gravitas with this music."
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Post  biakbiak on Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:02 am

Did he get new people? New perspective on life? Both he and Rebecca Miller seemed so less dour/pretentious/stick up their asses than they have been in the past doing the awards show circuit.
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Post  katha on Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:38 am

IMO he's always been humble, funny and interesting in interviews (of course I'm a biased fangirl...), it was only in awards stuff where the pretentiousness came out. Perhaps a mixture of being uncomfortable and trying to cover that up and thinking that being all "serious actor" was expected of him? I can well imagine that getting older has given him more perspective and mellowed him out to the point where he isn't stressed out by that circus anymore and doesn't take it (and himself) so seriously.

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Post  blixie on Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:36 am

He's been looking amazing too on the awards circuit too. No wackadoo outfits/hair (though I found even that a bit endearing).

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Post  wenchsenior on Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:27 pm

Blixie, you really should see The Boxer. He was just fantastic in it. Also sexy, which is very role dependent for him (I find, anyway). I loved it, and I don't even like boxing.

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Post  queenofdenile on Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:43 pm

He's very handsome in addition to being the best living actor. My mom's friend credits The Last of the Mohicans as responsible for the conception of her first child.
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