It’s odd to see Daniel Day-Lewis so chatty during awards season to promote Lincoln because he isn’t known for doing many interviews in his career. But Day-Lewis has also been participating in various revealing Q&A sessions, including the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to receive the festival’s Montecito Award for his career achievements.
During the Q&A, Day-Lewis said that he believes that his breakthrough were the double shot of My Beautiful Laundrette and A Room with a View, which were released simultaneously in New York City. He explains, “I think things changed without me being full aware of it. And therefore as a result of that, I think people started to take an interest.”
He also recognizes that most of his films are period pieces, and he joked about hoping that he will someday have the opportunity to make a movie set in contemporary times. He explained, “It certainly was never my intention to kind of claw my way through one century after another. I hope that I might eventually emerge in the 21st century. I’ve still got a long way to go. I’ve no idea how that happened. It wouldn’t have been my intention. In fact, most of the performances that have influenced me have been contemporary performances, so I can’t account for that except I think it has something to do with my nose.”
When asked about his nose, he elaborated by saying, “Until I got it broke doing The Boxer, it was just a nose that people like to throw a cloak over. But that accounts for most of my mistaken forays into Shakespeare. I have the look of someone who ought to really exist in another time.”
Of course, one of the major questions about Day-Lewis’ career is why he takes so much time between projects. He said, “There’s no thought process behind it, but there’s a very strong sense, which I think I’ve been blessed with from an early age, of my own rhythm… But from my point of view, these two things are mutually dependent on each other. I cannot do the work I love to do unless I take time away from it. In the time taken away from it when – god forbid – I reengage with life, it allows me to do the work in hopes that I might bring something to that work.”
Still, as choosey Day-Lewis is he says he doesn’t expect filmmakers to come to him to try and “sell” him on a role. He said, “Anyone that’s ever had something of value, doesn’t have to sell it. I’d say it’s true of everything I’ve ever done. These directors that have given me these incredible opportunities, they’ve never tried to sell them to me; they didn’t need to.”