Phantom Thread star: I could only talk to Daniel Day-Lewis in character
The actress also said she was told her acting career was over when she fell pregnant at 26.
Phantom Thread star Vicky Krieps has admitted she found it “difficult” to work with Daniel Day-Lewis on the film because he remains in character, even when not shooting.
The Luxembourg-born actress plays Alma Elson in the Oscar-nominated film, the love interest of Day-Lewis’s character Reynolds Woodcock, a fastidious fashion designer.
Krieps told the Evening Standard’s ES Magazine that, because of his unwavering devotion to method acting, she ended up interacting with him while they were both in character, away from the cameras.
She said: “He stays in character always, and between takes he retreats to his green room.
“And I found this difficult. All I got was a screen of whispers and footsteps and closed doors. I was thinking, ‘I cannot make a movie like this’.
“One day, between takes, I left my green room and said: ‘I want to see Reynolds’.”
Krieps said she was told by several crew members not to go to see him, but she “kept walking” because she had “had it up to here”.
She said: “Finally, I got to the door of his green room and knocked. I didn’t know what would happen. Would I be screamed at?
“He opened the door and said, ‘Alma!’. And we had tea together and a lovely conversation about music and Virginia Woolf.
“From then on, it became a regular thing; we would meet between takes, in character, and just… talk.”
The 34-year-old actress, who lives in Berlin and whose roles so far have been in predominantly German productions, said she was told her acting career was over when she fell pregnant at 26, with her first of her two children.
“It was a surprise. In my family, people become pregnant at 33 or something, not 26,” she said.
“And I had not been with the father long at the time. But I really thought, ‘This is another adventure’.
“And as soon as people found out, they said, ‘Well, I guess the acting’s over’. And I was so determined I would not let this happen.”
Krieps, who is no longer with the father of her eldest child, said balancing her career and being a mother is “difficult” and that “I’ve no idea how you deal with it, because I’m still in it”.
“Tomorrow, I will go home, and then we’ll see. But I remember, recently, we walked past a poster (for Phantom Thread) with my son, and he pointed at it and said, ‘Mummy! Mummy!’
“And then suddenly, very seriously, he said, ‘My mummy’. And that said it all to me: he understands what I’m doing, but at some point it’s like, ‘Please come home now. You’re my mum’.
“That’s the most important thing.”
Phantom Thread is nominated for six Oscars, including best picture, best actor for Day-Lewis and best director for Paul Thomas Anderson.
ES Magazine is available from Thursday.