Meditations on Daniel Day Lewis

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Daniel Day Lewis...Three greatest words in the world of acting. Need I say anymore?

Submitted: November 10, 2011

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Submitted: November 10, 2011

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Meditation on Daniel Day Lewis & The Craft of Acting

When one looks at the diversity of his performances and total commitment to these

characters and then see him interviews or his Sag Award for There Will be Blood, it's

unfathomable to think this is the same person. Only going from an Interview I just

watched he speaks with a knowing and simplicity of the craft of acting and with great

availabiltiy. The way he speaks about his doubt and even fear of failing to play the

moment to moment truth of the scene or character. He speaks about the process before

and during filming that though he strives as we all do for perfection and that he's always

swimming in a sea of imperfection. The vulnerability and honesty that while we see the

performance and what performances, what is significant is the process and the courage,

commitment, and tenacity, to fight through the unknown, self doubt, and great

uncertainty to do the character justice. He speaks about this frankly even though we

would never think after watching him that he goes through the same shit actors in class or

doing student films go through. Regardless of what is probably a god given talent I think

maybe what was refreshing was the vulnerability, graciousness, and that he is and even in

the beginning, his sense of truth. He said something to the effect that when one is" doing

the work, if you think you know then something's quite not right. You cannot tell. And

the further out on a limb you are the greater the sense of precariousness there is. And you

better get used to it. Because if you don't feel it then there's something missing. But it's

hard to live with it for 8 months." That feeling after a five minute scene in class is always

prevalent. And you go home and kick yourself for a week, because the result wasn't what

was expected. Of course Lewis's playing field is higher, but it goes to show that no matter

it's all about the craft and the process of acting and search; not for the result. His

interview was a real eye opener. Inspiring to know that Daniel Day Lewis, that regardless

of talent, and through the all the great performances, he still recognizes but most of all

accepts, the great power of doubt, uncertainty, and egoless curiosity of acting. And as my

teacher and mentor Mr. Modica puts quite simply:" Life is short. Art is long. Be a great

actor, but strive to be an even better human being."


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