Daniel Day-Lewis Explains Why He’s Quitting Acting

Daniel Day Lewis W Magazine cover
Daniel Day Lewis on the cover of W Magazine. Tim Walker

Daniel Day-Lewis has revealed his reason for quitting acting – and why he went public with the announcement.

The Oscar-winning actor, 60, broke his silence on his decision to retire from show business in the holiday issue of W magazine. “I knew it was uncharacteristic to put out a statement, but I did want to draw a line. I didn’t want to get sucked back into another project,” he said of his June 20 statement to Variety.

He continued, “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.”

Day-Lewis went on to tell the magazine that his former fascination with his craft – which he’s been working at since he was 12 – is now replaced with his want “to explore the world in a different way.”
“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,” he added.

As previously reported, The British star’s final role will be in the upcoming film Phantom Thread, in which he plays renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock. He explained that the part played a pivotal role in his decision to step away from acting. “Before making the film, I didn’t know I was going to stop acting,” he said of his experience shooting the movie with director Paul Thomas Anderson. “I do know that Paul 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.”

The movie, which revolves around a dressmaker in the 1950s in London who is commissioned to design for members of high society and the royal family, is set to hit theaters on Monday, December 25.

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