Sir Daniel Day-Lewis surprised everyone yesterday (June 20) by announcing that Phantom Thread, his next collaboration with There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson, would be his final film.
The 60-year-old actor made the statement through his agent Leslee Dart, who told Variety that as of now Daniel “will no longer be working as an actor.”
Wait, what? Is this just like that time in the 1990s, when he quit acting to become a shoe maker in Italy? He was eventually lured back to acting by Martin Scorsese, who wanted him to play Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York. Sir Daniel went on to give an unforgettable performance, though he lost out at the Oscars the following year to Adrien Brody for The Pianist.
Since then he’s not exactly been what you’d call prolific, averaging a film every five years, though the consideration he gives to every role means a DDL film is always an event.
This time, however, it does sound like his break from acting is for good (say it ain’t so!):
“He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years,” the statement went on to say. “This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject.”
Whoa. Needless to say, movie fans responded to the announcement with surprise and disappointment:
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS IS RETIRING???? NOOOOO
— B e l l a t r i x (@TheAlienBella) June 20, 2017
Daniel Day-Lewis was our era's Marlon Brando. Top 10 actor of all time.
— Alex Marquez (@sEnOrRoBoT_) June 20, 2017
Sir Daniel certainly has a reputation for towering performances, with many considering him to be unrivalled in his generation.
As it currently stands, he is the only recipient of three Best Actor Oscars, for his roles in My Left Foot (1989), There Will Be Blood (2007), and Lincoln (2012), while his other credits represent a litany of stand-out films, including The Last of the Mohicans (1992), In the Name of The Father (1993), The Boxer (1997) and Gangs of New York (2002).
That didn’t stop some actors from drawing rather tongue-in-cheek comparisons with themselves, however:
Good. To be honest, there wasn't room for both of us. https://t.co/kjLsqqB9Qg
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) June 20, 2017
Hellboy star Ron Perlman drew on his own experiences to wonder if “quitting” from acting might mean something else:
I quit once for 7 years and didn't know about it til my phone finally rang. https://t.co/18y7bjVEXC
— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) June 20, 2017
While British playwright Lucy Prebble quipped:
It's fine, Mark Rylance has announced he will now play Daniel Day-Lewis.
— Lucy Prebble (@lucyprebblish) June 20, 2017
After shock came denial, with some even suggesting conspiracy theories based on the enormous amount of preparation Sir Daniel puts into every role:
What if Daniel Day-Lewis announced that he is retiring from acting as research for a role where he plays an actor who retires from acting. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/r9JJsUCGEv
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) June 20, 2017
In fifteen years there'll be a film about a retired actor with Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role.
— James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) June 21, 2017
Although others had different ideas on why Sir Daniel chose to retire:
Daniel Day-Lewis saw Anthony Hopkins in the new Transformers movie and said “nah, I’m good"
— Jordan Zakarin (@jordanzakarin) June 20, 2017
Sir Daniel’s final performance will now be in Phantom Thread, a film set in the fashion world of 1950s London that recently wrapped production. It’s due to open in theaters on December 25, 2017 — slap bang in the middle of awards season — so it’s not impossible that a fourth, record-breaking Oscar for Sir Daniel could be in the cards.
Good luck to his fellow nominees, is all we can say.
How did you react to the news that Sir Daniel is retiring?