As promised, here are those three Daniel Day Lewis clips — #1, clip #2, clip #3 — from last night’s WGA discussion following a screening of There Will Be Blood. Newsweek‘s David Ansen moderated; costar Paul Dano and director-writer Paul Thomas Anderson also participated.
Lewis, Paul Thomas Anderson
I love the gentle British inflections in Lewis’s natural speaking voice. When was the last time he used them in a film? Not recently. And not The Age of Innocence, not The Crucible, not In The Name of the Father. Was it A Room With a View? The Boxer?
I was struck by how tall and gangly Lewis is when he first walked into the WGA theatre lobby while the film was still running. I’ve never sensed his being this Abraham Lincoln-ish — rain-thin and about 6′ 3″ — from his appearances on film. There’s also the matter of his big head. Almost all big stars have them. I thought of this as Lewis sat next to Ansen during the q & a. Lewis’s face is a good 35% to 40% larger than Ansen’s, and that’s a conservative estimate. (It was about the same ratio as indicated in the above photo of Lewis and Anderson.)
In clip #1, Lewis explains the attitude of his Blood character, Daniel Plainview, toward Paul Dano‘s Eli, an evangelical huckster, to a woman in the audience.
There Will Be Blood star Daniel Day Lewis — Monday, 11.12.07, 10:25 pm
In clip #2, he’s explaining to another female questioner how Plainview comes to suspect that Kevin J. O’Connor‘s Henry character may not be his actual brother, as has been claimed. It’s not a very smart question, but Lewis has fun with her and shows good humor. (At one point he says, “I’m so confused!”) As I said to Ansen later, sometimes the dumber questions get the better answers.
And in clip #3 — the best — Lewis responds to that question that young actors refuse to stop asking in situations like this, which is “what advice would you have for an actor just starting out today?” Lewis’s response, which mainly offers a warning and an urge to come to grips, is quite good. Gets a round of applause.