Daniel Day-Lewis is known not only for his exceptional performances, but for the meticulous method he employs to achieve them. He’s also rather meticulous in selecting his roles; hardly surprising, given the time he devotes to each one. While Day-Lewis’ approach has yielded some of the finest acting in contemporary cinema history, it’s also led him to eschew quantity in favor of quality. In recent years, the acclaimed actor’s work has become more infrequent, and as he confirms in a new interview, it’s coming to an end with Phantom Thread.
Even dating back to the beginning of his career, Paul Thomas Anderson has always liked working with musicians. In 1997, while putting the finishing touches on Boogie Nights, Anderson and several of his cast members snuck in an iconic music video for Michael Penn’s Try (and yes, Michael is the older brother of actor-writer-director Sean). Over the next two decades, Anderson would lend his talents to the music videos of a diverse group of artists, including — but not limited to — Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Radiohead, and Joanna Newsom. Anderson’s most recent music video, released just this April, was for the song ‘Right Now’ by the band Haim, proving that his film schedule won’t keep him from shooting more music videos going forward.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies have always had a distinct look. That’s partly due to him using the same cinematographer for a number of his movies — Robert Elswit (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood) — but mostly due to Anderson’s own sense of style. You only have to look at something like The Town, which Elswit also shot, to see that Anderson knows what he prefers his films to look like. Which is why it should come as no surprise that he’s acting as his own cinematographer for his newest film, currently being referred to as Phantom Thread.
Daniel Day-Lewis is primarily known for his method acting: it can take him years to fully prepare for a role, and he’s the kind of actor who really likes to immerse himself in the material. Remember when he had the Lincoln cast and crew and Steven Spielberg calling him Mr. President? Up until now, he’s never gone so method that he can’t get back out again, but if the rumors are true, his latest role might have inspired a career change.