Daniel Day-Lewis “retires”

'Maggie's Plan' film premiere, New York, America - 05 May 2016I guess, in acting terms, 60 is the new 85.

Because Daniel Day-Lewis, just a couple of months past that milestone birthday, has announced he’s giving up a profession he seemingly mastered.

Acting will join a long list of many other professions, such as butchering (which he learned for “Gangs of New York,” for instance) that DDL took on, mastered and moved on from over the course of an Oscar winning/theater icon career that started when he was but a child of Britain’s academic/intellectual nobility (Dad Cecil DL was poet laureate).

His spokesperson announced the news to Variety.

Another Paul Thomas Anderson (“There Will be Blood”) film will be his last, “Phantom Thread” — a period piece/drama set in the 1950s world of Euro-high fashion. It’s due out at Christmas. So, one more scene in a vintage Italian sports car (“Nine”), one more shot at one more Oscar, and that’s it?

Some people are mocking the decision, or at least paying tribute to his famously thorough reputation for preparation and staying in character all during a shoot, by suggesting that oh, he’s prepping to play an actor who announces his retirement from acting.

The wags.

I’ve interviewed him a few times, and he comes off as a serious man who delightfully refuses to take himself that seriously.

But what else has the man to prove? Like Streep, he commands Oscar-bait roles every time one in the appropriate age-range comes up. He gives, if we are to believe his myth, his all to each and every performance.

So unless the guy wants to Olivier/Hopkins/Kingsley himself with one great bit superhero movie paycheck, or more, why work for work’s sake?

I love Sir Ben, and to a lesser extent Sir Tony. But I can’t see them giving up greasepaint. They just work and work and work.

A lot of people do that, and it’s basically cultural brain-washing. If you’re not bored away from work, drained by the work itself and not really in need of the cash, why pile up more?

So he’s not Hopkins, Jimmy Buffett, Cher, KISS, et al. That’s worth admiring, not ridiculing. Living your life as if the acclaim, the distraction, the attention and the money is “never enough” is nothing to be proud of.

 

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