Stephen Frears was the first film director to see the true potential in Daniel Day-Lewis. The English filmmaker cast the then 25-year-old in his 1985 comedy drama "My Beautiful Laundrette," which catapulted Day-Lewis to a stardom that has included three Academy Awards for Best Actor.
Because he is the only male actor to have ever won three gongs in this category, Day-Lewis is roundly regarded as one of the greatest thespians to have ever stood in front of a camera. Which is why the Daniel Day-Lewis retirement announcement earlier this summer was such a shock, as the actor insisted that his upcoming film "Phantom Thread" would be his last.
But Frears has already figured out how to get Day-Lewis back out of retirement, and it’s rather obvious, really. During my recent discussion with Frears regarding "Victoria & Abdul," I asked the director for his thoughts on Day-Lewis’s retirement. His response was particularly magnificent, as he admitted, “I have very, very disrespectful thoughts.”
Frears then outlined how to get Day Lewis to reverse his decision, insisting, “He just hasn’t got a good script. If you gave him a good script he’d come out of retirement.”
While Stephen Frears’ comments were a little tongue in cheek, there’s also some truth to them. If Daniel Day-Lewis was provided with a role and a script that truly spoke to him, surely the actor inside him would pine to take a hold of that character and bring him to life. We can only hope that’s the case because it feels like a huge waste for Day-Lewis does retire at the tender age of 60.
Watching Day-Lewis inhabit a role is one of the greatest thrills in cinema, and the thought of him never doing it again is enough to reduce the magic of the medium as a whole. Fingers crossed that Frears, or someone of his ilk, can quickly help to change Day-Lewis' mind.