Belfast Telegraph

Daniel Day-Lewis reveals reason he quit acting

Daniel Day-Lewis has spoken for the first time about his decision to quit acting.

During an interview with W magazine, the Co Wicklow-based star said he no longer “believes in the value” of the profession.

The three-time Oscar winner released a statement earlier this year announcing his decision to retire after 40 years in the industry.

Speaking ahead of the release of his final film Phantom Thread next month, Day-Lewis told the publication he would rather use his time to “explore the world in a different way”.

He said: "Before making the film, I didn’t know I was going to stop acting. I do know that Paul (Thomas Anderson) and I laughed a lot before we made the movie. And then we stopped laughing because we were both overwhelmed by a sense of sadness.

"That took us by surprise: We didn’t realize what we had given birth to. It was hard to live with. And still is."

Day-Lewis, 60, admitted he didn't quite know why he is walking away from acting, but added that making Phantom Thread and vowing not to watch the film played a part in his decision

"I haven’t figured it out. But it’s settled on me, and it’s just there," he said.

"Not wanting to see the film is connected to the decision I’ve made to stop working as an actor. But it’s not why the sadness came to stay. That happened during the telling of the story, and I don’t really know why.

"I dread to use the overused word 'artist', but there’s something of the responsibility of the artist that hung over me," he said.

"I need to believe in the value of what I’m doing. The work can seem vital. Irresistible, even. And if an audience believes it, that should be good enough for me. But, lately, it isn’t."

Speaking about releasing a statement on his decision to quit, he said: "I knew it was uncharacteristic (of me) but I did want to draw a line.

"I didn’t want to get sucked back into another project. All my life, I’ve mouthed off about how I should stop acting, and I don’t know why it was different this time, but the impulse to quit took root in me, and that became a compulsion. It was something I had to do."

The statement was delivered via his spokeswoman.

It read: "Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor. He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject.”

The actor's final movie Phantom Thread is set to be released in December.

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