Day–Lewis, Daniel 1957–
DAY–LEWIS, Daniel 1957–
Full name, Daniel Michael Blake Day–Lewis; born April 20 (some sources cite April 29), 1957, in London, England; son of Cecil (a poet) and Jill (an actress; maiden name, Balcon) Day–Lewis; grandson of Sir Michael Balcon (a film studio executive); son–in–law of Arthur Miller (a playwright); brother of Lydia Tamasin Day–Lewis (a filmmaker and writer); married Rebecca Miller (an actress, writer, and director), November 13, 1996; children: Ronan Cal, Cashel Blake; (with actress Isabelle Adjani) Gabriel–Kane. Education: Studied at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, London, and at Bristol Arts Centre, Bristol, England. Avocational Interests: Soccer, motorcycling, cabinet making.
Addresses: Agent— Julian Belfrage Associates, 46 Albemarle St., London W1S 4DF, England. Manager— Gene Parseghian, Parseghian/Planco Management, 23 East 22nd St., Suite 3, New York, NY 10010.
Career: Actor and artist.
Awards, Honors: New York Film Critics Circle Award and National Board of Review Award, both best supporting actor, 1986, for My Beautiful Laundrette and A Room with a View; Montreal World Film Festival Award and special mention for Prize of the Ecumenical Jury (with Jim Sheridan), both Montreal World Film Festival, New York Film Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, all 1989, Academy Award, Golden Globe Award nomination, National Society of Film Critics Award, Film Award from British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Los Angeles Film Critics Award, and Evening Standard British Film Award, all 1990, all best actor, for My Left Foot; Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, London Critics Circle Film Award, British actor of the year, and Evening Standard British Film Award, best actor, all 1993, for The Last of the Mohicans; Boston Society of Film Critics Award, best actor, 1993, and Academy Award nomination, Golden Globe Award nomination, and Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, all best motion picture actor, 1994, all for In the Name of the Father; Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a motion picture drama, 1998, for The Boxer; Actor Award, New York Film Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, San Diego Film Critics Society Award, Seattle Film Critics Award, Southeastern Film Critics Association Award, and Boston Society of Film Critics Award nomination, all best actor, 2002, Academy Award nomination, Film Award, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Golden Globe Award nomination, Screen Actors Guild Award, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, Florida Film Critics Circle Award, Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award, Sierra Award from Las Vegas Film Critics Society, Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, and Online Film Critics Society Award, all best actor in a motion picture, 2003, Critics Award, best foreign actor, Russian Guild of Film Critics, 2003, MTV Movie Award nomination, best villain, 2003, and Golden Satellite Award, best actor in a motion picture drama, International Press Academy, 2003, all for Gangs of New York.
(Uncredited) Child vandal, Sunday Bloody Sunday, United Artists, 1971.
Colin, Gandhi (also known as Richard Attenborough's Film: Gandhi ), Columbia, 1982.
John Fryer, The Bounty, Orion, 1984.
Cecil Vyse, A Room with a View, Cinecom, 1986.
Johnny, My Beautiful Laundrette, Orion, 1986.
Max, Nanou, Umbrella/Arion, 1986.
Tomas, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Orion, 1988.
Henderson Dores, Stars and Bars, Columbia, 1988.
Christy Brown, My Left Foot (also known as My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown ), Granada/Miramax, 1989.
Nathaniel Poe (Hawkeye), The Last of the Mohicans, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1992.
Gerald "Gerry" Conlon, In the Name of the Father, Universal, 1993.
Newland Archer, The Age of Innocence, Columbia, 1993.
John Proctor, The Crucible, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1996.
Danny Flynn, The Boxer, Universal, 1997.
William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting (some sources cite name as Bill Poole), Gangs of New York, Miramax, 2002.
Himself, Abby Singer, Wembly Hall Theatre Company, 2003.
Jack, Rose and the Snake, IFC Films, 2004.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Alex, How Many Miles to Babylon?, BBC (England), 1981.
The Making of "The Bounty, " 1984.
Host, Red, Hot, and Blue, ABC, 1990.
1993: A Year at the Movies, CNBC, 1993.
Hamlet, "The History of Hamlet," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1995.
Narrator, Forever Ealing, TCM, 2002.
The 100 Greatest Movie Stars, Channel 4 (England), 2003.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Disc jockey, "The Farmer Had a Wife," Shoestring, BBC1 (England), 1980.
Himself, "I Love 1985," I Love 1980's, BBC2 (England), 2001.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
The 47th Annual Golden Globe Awards, TBS, 1990.
The 62nd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1991.
Presenter, The 63rd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1991.
The Orange British Academy Film Awards, 2003.
The 75th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2003.
Television Appearances; Movies:
Exhibitioner, Artemis 81, BBC (England), 1981.
Archie Hughes–Forret, A Frost in May, BBC, 1982.
Franz Kafka, The Insurance Man, BBC, 1985.
Television Appearances; Miniseries:
Jonathan Dakers, My Brother Jonathan, BBC (England), 1985.
Guy Bennett, Another Country, Queen's Theatre, London, 1982.
Dracula, Little Theatre Company, 1984.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky, Futurists, National Theatre Company, Cottesloe Theatre, London, 1986.
Title role, Hamlet, National Theatre Company, Olivier Theatre, London, 1989.
Appeared in a British production of Look Back in Anger; appeared in productions at Bristol Old Vic Theatre, London, including Class Enemy and Funny Peculiar; also appeared with National Youth Theatre.
Toured with Royal Shakespeare Company, including appearances in Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream, c. 1983–1984.
Contributor of art work to the book The Irish: A Treasury of Art and Literature, edited by Leslie Conron Carola, Hugh Lauter Levin, 1993.
Jackson, Laura, Daniel Day–Lewis: The Biography, Smith Gryphon, 1995.
Jenkins, Garry, Daniel Day–Lewis: The Fire Within, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1994.
Cosmopolitan, December, 1996, p. 146.
Empire, Issue 57, 1994, pp. 68–69; October, 1997, p. 192.
Entertainment Weekly, January 28, 1994, p. 16; April 12, 1996, p. 19.
New Yorker, October 12, 1992, p. 46.
People Weekly, February 22, 1988; December 15, 1997, p. 174.
Premiere, February, 1988; Volume 5, number 2, 1997, pp. 66–72; January, 1998, pp. 86–89, 101; September, 2002, pp. 60–63, 86.
Prevue, February, 1993, pp. 50–51.
Sunday Times (London), April 1, 1990.
Time, March 21, 1994, p. 66.
Times Magazine, February 21, 1998, pp. 16–19, 21.
(Sometimes Day Lewis). Nationality: British. Born: London, England, 29 April 1957; son of the poet laureate Cecil Day Lewis and the actress Jill Balcon. Family: Son with the actress Isabelle Adjani. Education: Attended Bedales School and at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Career: 1971—film debut as teenager in Sunday, Bloody Sunday; stage work includes Another Country, 1982, Romeo and Juliet for the Royal Shakespeare Company, 1983–84, and Hamlet at the National Theatre, 1989; TV work includes The Insurance Man, 1985. Awards: Best Supporting Actor Award, New York Film Critics, for My Beautiful Laundrette and A Room with a View; Oscar for Best Actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Best Actor Award, and Best Actor Award, New York Film Critics and Los Angeles Film Critics, for My Left Foot, 1989. Agent: c/o William Morris, 151 El Camino Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, U.S.A.
Films as Actor:
Sunday, Bloody Sunday (Schlesinger)
Gandhi (Attenborough) (as Colin)
The Bounty (Donaldson) (as Fryer)
My Beautiful Laundrette (Frears) (as Johnny); The Insurance Man (Eyre—for TV) (as Mr. Kafka)
A Room with a View (Ivory) (as Cecil Vyse); Nanou (Templeman) (as Max)
Stars and Bars (O'Connor) (as Henderson Dores); The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Kaufman) (as Tomas)
My Left Foot (Sheridan) (as Christy Brown); Eversmile, New Jersey (Sorin) (as Dr. Fergus O'Connell)
The Last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann) (as Nathaniel Poe/Hawkeye)
In the Name of the Father (Sheridan) (as Gerald Conlon); The Age of Innocence (Scorsese) (as Newland Archer)
The Crucible (Hytner) (as John Proctor)
The Boxer (Sheridan) (as Danny Flynn)
By DAY-LEWIS: articles—
Interviews in City Limits (London), 10 April and 13 November 1986, and 7 April 1988.
Interview with Graham Fuller, in American Film (New York), January/February 1988.
Interview in Interview (New York), April 1988.
Interview with Allan Hunter, in Films and Filming (London), April 1988.
Interview in American Film (Los Angeles), December 1989.
Interview with Brian Case, in Time Out (UK), 4 November 1992.
Interview with Steve Grant, in Time Out (UK), 2 February 1994.
Interview with Brian Case, in Time Out (UK), 5 February 1997.
On DAY-LEWIS: books—
Jenkins, Garry, Daniel Day-Lewis: The Fire Within, London, 1994.
Jackson, Laura, Daniel Day-Lewis: Biography, 1995.
On DAY-LEWIS: articles—
McGillivray, David, "Daniel Day Lewis," in Films and Filming (London), August 1986.
Kennedy, Harlan, "Brit Pack," in Film Comment (New York), January/February 1988.
Mayne, Richard, "Framed: Daniel Day Lewis," in Sight and Sound (London), Autumn 1989.
Gurewitsch, Matthew, "Risk Taker Supreme: Is Daniel Day Lewis Too Good to Be a Movie Star?," in Connoisseur, December 1989.
Current Biography 1990, New York, 1990.
De Vries, Hilary, "Acting Up," in Rolling Stone (New York), 8 February 1990.
Woodward, Richard B., "The Intensely Imagined Life of Daniel Day-Lewis," in New York Times Magazine, 5 July 1992.
Buck, Joan Juliet, "Actor from the Shadows," in New Yorker, 12 October 1992.
Radio Times (UK), 12 February 1994.
Corliss, Richard, "Dashing Daniel," in Time (New York), 21 March 1994.
Douin, Jean-Luc, "L'impossible Monsieur Lewis," in Télérama (France), 19 January 1994.
* * *
Daniel Day-Lewis's instinctive, fiery power is unusual for a stage-trained British actor (something Gary Oldman and David Thewlis can only fake). Day-Lewis's repertory theater skills allow him to play men of disparate eras, nationalities, and tendencies with more surface fidelity than, say, De Niro. But at the same time he will go passionately freestyle in voice and movement in order to get at his character's motivation, a deliberate expense of effort that would have seemed superfluous to Olivier.
Day-Lewis came to moviegoers' attention with his smashing performance as Johnny in Stephen Frears's My Beautiful Laundrette, based on Hanif Kureishi's script. As a fascistic punk tired of his violent, pointless life, Day-Lewis brings fresh comic impulses to the naturalistic view of hopeless English kids and immigrant Pakistanis in depressed South London. When the Pakistani Omar recognizes his old schoolfriend Johnny in a threatening street gang, Johnny does not attack Omar, he falls for him (and for the economic advantage of associating with Omar's enterprising family). Like Sunday, Bloody Sunday, Laundrette does not load its gay characters with the pathos of unrecognized nobility; but unlike Peter Finch, Day-Lewis is movie-star sexy. His foxy eyes and quiet-confident body language help make Johnny one of the few characters in movie history with sexual imagination. When Johnny spits champagne from his mouth into Omar's, Day-Lewis creates a gay character more to be envied than censured.
Playing the Irish painter and writer Christy Brown, afflicted from childhood with cerebral palsy, in My Left Foot made Day-Lewis an international star. In such roles actors usually cannot help begging for sympathy. The playwright-director Jim Sheridan enabled Day-Lewis to shoot past pity to get at primal emotions about mother-son love and the rage for expression. Without coordinated movements and barely speaking comprehensibly Day-Lewis gave a performance about not swallowing nature's insults, about living fully with severe limitations, that had the vulcanized intensity of Robert De Niro's in Taxi Driver.
Day-Lewis scored again with Sheridan in In the Name of the Father, as Gerry Conlon, a Northern Irishman in London whose false imprisonment on charges of IRA terrorism tears his family apart. The English zealously fabricate evidence of a terror network within Gerry's family; this adolescent, semicriminal dork, living out a parody of his own futurelessness, ends up sharing a prison cell with his father. In My Left Foot Christy Brown scrawls the word "Mother" on the floor with chalk clenched in his toes. In the Name of the Father is about a young man face-to-face with an unassuming father who never impressed him. The movie comes from headlines, but Sheridan and Day-Lewis push it to a symbolic level: Gerry's being locked up with his father is a metaphor for how all young men feel locked in the prison upstairs with their dads. In Day-Lewis's finest speeches he relives his frustration over his father's weakness. But Gerry comes to appreciate the older man's nonviolent forbearance; he grows up by witnessing the virtues of the "model" he has been trying to reject.
Before working with Sheridan, Day-Lewis had starred impressively in Philip Kaufman's adaptation of Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, making Tomas's skirt-chasing seem an existential defiance of a politically dead culture. Day-Lewis played opposite two very different leading ladies, the almost impersonally provocative Lena Olin and Juliette Binoche with her needy hot-baby flesh. Working for Kaufman they brought an experienced tragicomic sensibility to a novel that was a trifle oversketched.
Day-Lewis was also a fine athletic lead in Michael Mann's handsome, large-scale Harlequinized The Last of the Mohicans. But it did not call on his special skills—he was not inauthentic as Tom Cruise would have been, but there was not anything to be authentic about. He was less interesting in Martin Scorsese's too well-mannered adaptation of Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence, but the fault lies with the source. We never understand what makes Newland Archer superior to his surroundings, and when he does nothing to avoid marriage to a woman he does not love, it is hard to share the movie's concern for him. Thin roles can expose the calculations behind Day-Lewis's acting, most notably in his stiff performance as Cecil Vyse in A Room with a View. But he has a hot-spring of inspiration that usually keeps him running high, despite or perhaps because of the hiatuses between pictures. We await his new releases the way we looked forward to De Niro's in the 1970s.