Sir Daniel Day-Lewis is regarded by many as one the greatest living actors of his generation, having won a record three Best Actor Oscars. The 65-year-old is now retired, which he announced following the release of his final movie, Phantom Thread – a film that reunited him with his There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson. The 2017 film had the star play a 1950s dressmaker opposite a young waitress he takes on as his muse, played by Vicky Krieps. Now in a new interview, the actress has blasted the acting legend for his insufferable behaviour on set.
Day-Lewis is well known for staying totally in character on set, requiring everyone working on his films to address him by the name of his role. In My Left Foot his character had cerebral palsy, so the star stayed in a wheelchair throughout filming and the crew had to spoon-feed him.
Ahead of filming The Last of the Mohicans, the triple Oscar winner lived for a month in the North Carolina wilderness. And in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, he would text his co-star Sally Field as the Civil War president and sign them off “Yours, A.”
As for his method acting in Phantom Thread, Krieps highlighted her frustration with the special treatment he received and hit back through her own part.
Speaking with The Telegraph, Krieps said: “After half the movie, I was just really tired of it. Like: OK, I get it. It’s a game. I’ve played it. But can we just talk normally now, please?”
The actress from Luxembourg was unaware of Day-Lewis’ method acting prior to filming Phantom Thread and found all the tiptoeing around the “great thespian” on set with cast and crew whispering “He’s here! My God! It’s him” to be totally baffling.
She said: “I am a person who thinks we are all equal. We all sit on the toilet. I could see it all like a circus. I just didn’t get afraid.”
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In the end, Krieps said the line “You and your people and your walls and your rules” in Phantom Thread as her way of expressing her annoyance to Day-Lewis. She said: “That was really me talking to a famous actor, saying, ‘Do you really need everyone around you to behave so strangely and talk in a whisper?’ I decided I wasn’t going to look at him in a special way just because he’s Daniel Day-Lewis. He reacted to my feeling and played with that well.”
The actress added that the Phantom Thread production gave her “insane” media training on promoting the film, telling her to only talk about the costumes and landscape but never her own set experience.