So I saw a commercial just now for the new “Lincoln” movie by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role. I love this guy as an actor. There are some actors that have become so iconic that you never forget, “Wow, Anthony Hopkins is really good in this!” or nudging the person next to you and saying, “See, that’s why I love Ian McKellen…” From the opening lines of There Will Be Blood, on the other hand, Mr. Day-Lewis was simply gone, replaced by an oil man for the next two hours’ traffic of my television screen.
So I saw him doing Lincoln – where, again, he looks and sounds like no other role he’s yet taken – and all I can think is, “We gotta get this guy to do some Shakespeare.”
Some of you may know where I’m going with this. 🙂 What I did NOT know is that he did play in Hamlet back in 1989, and famously had a nervous breakdown on stage, claiming to see the ghost of his own dead father. It has been theorized (I can not find confirmation) that a major plot point of the television show Slings & Arrows, where director Geoffrey Tennant has a nervous breakdown during a production of Hamlet, was inspired by this episode.
From what I understand, Daniel Day-Lewis has never performed a live stage role again.