Daniel Day Lewis is cashing out. He’s announced that he’s retiring from acting after his last movie, “Phantom Thread,” is released this fall. That’s it, he’s done. He’s released a statement to Variety saying goodbye, adios amigos.
Is he ill? Who knows? I guess we’ll see when he resurfaces, if he resurfaces. DDL has Oscars for “There Will Be Blood,” “My Left Foot,” and “Lincoln.” He’s made tons of good films.
But he’s also always had a strange relationship with fame. He really doesn’t like it. Promoting films has always been a challenge. He doesn’t give interviews. He’s probably the most enigmatic actor around. He’s also the best, frankly. His work, I guess he feels, speaks for itself.
DDL has been married for years to director-writer Rebecca Miller, daughter of the late legendary playwright Arthur Miller. They have two sons, and he has another son, Gabriel, by actress Isabelle Adjani. The Millers divide their time between Connecticut, New York, and Mars, probably. They are very private.
The actor has had some odd chapters in his life. Years ago he went to work in a shoe cobbler’s shop in Florence, helping to make very expensive shoes. This was after he’d won his first Oscar. He also had a nervous breakdown playing Hamlet on stage in London in 1989. Judi Dench once told me he just came to her at the intermission and said he couldn’t go back on stage. He’d been in 65 performances, and received mixed reviews.
Let’s hope this is just a break, and nothing is wrong. It would be a shame if DDL never worked again. Maybe this has something to do with the character he plays in the movie. DDL is famous for staying in character until well after a production wraps.
In the meantime, we’ll have to savor the Paul Thomas Anderson movie “Phantom Thread” until he changes his mind.
I wrote this back on July 15, 2003:
Last week in sunny Florence, Italy, I had the pleasure of finally meeting Stefano Bemer — the custom shoemaker for whom Oscar winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis worked a couple of years ago.
Bemer’s very small shop is not in a fashionable area of Florence, but sort of hidden away and extremely discreet. It consists of a tiny waiting area with a counter, adjoined by a similar workspace. There, a couple of workers bang on nails and try not to inhale glue as they make one of a kind pairs of men’s shoes.
The shoes all carry the same price tag: $1,500 for the actual product, plus $250 for the three required fittings. I tried on a pair of suede desert boots which Bemer had in my size. The price tag for these was $730. They were lovely, but I declined in several languages.
Bemer had nothing but praise for Day-Lewis, whom he called a hard worker. “I used to say to him, ‘Daniel, no one is perfect,'” said Bemer, noting that Day-Lewis would often become disturbed when a stitch was not exactly right.
Day-Lewis worked for Bemer for an astounding 11 months in 1999. The shoe man would definitely take him back. In the meantime, Bemer makes shoes for the likes of Sting — who has a villa in Tuscany.
I, however, have returned to the Timberland outlet shop.