I sat down, ordered coffee and he rambled on about emancipation and battle tactics. I played along as you have to when he’s fully absorbed in his character. I remember on the set of ‘In The Name of the Father’ I spent an entire week with him planning an assassination attempt on the British Royal Family. We even went as far as procuring a pound of Semtex and making a replica model of Buckingham Palace before he finally snapped out of it.”
HOLLYWOOD – On a breakfast visit to the set of Lincoln and Daniel Day-Lewis is sat in the corner in full costume eating biscuits and gravy with a side order of cornbread. I was about to go over and say hello when Spielberg pulled me to one side. “ I’m worried about Daniel “ he said. “ He hasn’t spoke to anybody for the last three days he just comes into the cafeteria, orders the same meal and sits there reading the bible until it’s time to clock off and we’re way behind schedule”.
I told Steven I’d have a quiet word with him and so I sauntered over to his table and offered him a handshake. “ Mr Lincoln” I said. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Day-Lewis looked up at me, put down his knife and fork and shook my hand “And it’s a pleasure to meet you Sir. Won’t you join me for breakfast?”
I could tell he’d got a lot worse since back then though. P.T. Anderson had told me that during the filming of ‘There Will be Blood’ Lewis had drank half a pint of crude oil every morning.
I used to a have a lot of time for method actors. When De Niro said he wanted to go to Italy and eat 10 pizza’s a day to bulk up to play Jake LaMotta I said no problem. When Mick Rourke asked me if I could get him some Virgins to sacrifice to prepare for his role in ‘Angel Heart’ I didn’t even raise an eyebrow but the older I’ve got, the less tolerant I’ve become. Not only that but I like to keep Spielberg sweet just in case I ever require the services of a Mossad hit man.
I listened to Day-Lewis for another 20 minutes or so but halfway through his recital of the Gettysburg address I grabbed his fork and stabbed him right through his hand into the wooden table.
“ Listen you stupid bastard “ I said as he cried out in pain. “ You’re costing us a hundred thousand a day with this bullshit and I don’t give a rats ass how many Oscars you’ve won. If you don’t get in front of that camera and do you job within the next hour. The next time you see yourself on screen you’ll be playing Seth Rogans submissive gay partner in a Judd Apatow re-imaging of ‘The 120 days of Sodom’.”
I got up and went to take a piss leaving Day Lewis weeping at the table like a stood up school girl on prom night. When I returned he was laughing and joking with the crew and talking over the next scene with Spielberg. I was going to go over and apologise but I didn’t want to ruin their flow so I snook out the back door and climbed into the waiting limo.
The next day I got a 40 year old bottle of scotch delivered to me with a note from Steven that simply said “I owe you one”. He didn’t. I was just doing my job but it’s good to know that if you ever require the services of an Israeli assassination squad; As you do in this business from time to time. One is but a short phone call away.
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