Daniel Day-Lewis’ 1 Weakness as an Actor Was Comedy According to This Director


Actor Daniel Day-Lewis has shown his versatility as a performer in projects like My Left Foot and Phantom Thread. But one filmmaker noted there was one genre of film he didn’t think Day-Lewis was capable of mastering.

Daniel Day-Lewis couldn’t provide audiences with laughter according to this director

Daniel Day-Lewis attending the
Daniel Day-Lewis | Jim Spellman/WireImage

Day-Lewis is often known for playing tortured or traumatized characters in his movies. But he’s never really been seen in a more wholesome, positive light on the big screen. Filmmaker Pedro Almodovar noticed the lack of comedy features in the Oscar-winner’s filmography. Because of this, Almodovar put Day-Lewis in the same category as other veteran stars with very little humor in their film resumes like Marlon Brando.

“Brando, a comedy actor? No. And he tried it. He even sang and danced in Guys and Dolls, stiff as a board, but Brando was too self-aware. I don’t know if Montgomery Cliff ever actually tried it but I can’t imagine him. Or James Dean. Or Daniel Day-Lewis,” Almodovar once told The Yorkshire Post (via IndieWire).

Almodovar went on to add that he still held a high opinion of Day-Lewis’ abilities, but maintained that the Lincoln actor couldn’t bring joy to audiences.

“I don’t debate his greatness but no matter how thin he is, Daniel Day-Lewis can’t manage to give the slightest sensation of lightness,” he said.

Why Daniel Day-Lewis always put a question mark over his acting

As passionate as Day-Lewis is about his craft, he didn’t completely tie his life down to acting. He once famously took a five-year hiatus from the film industry to explore other interests.

“I didn’t really want to be involved with films,” Day-Lewis said in a 2002 interview with The Guardian. “I just wanted some time away from it all. I need that quite often. And I have felt like that ever since I got into acting. When I was younger, I made some decisions that I shouldn’t have. And, in hindsight, I’ve almost always been wrong when I haven’t listened to myself. I have quite a strong feeling about when I should work and when I shouldn’t.”

He later came out of his hiatus to film the Martin Scorsese movie Gangs of New York. But in an interview with The Independent, Day-Lewis confided he was never completely sure about his commitment to acting. His stance on his craft left some to question if he hated the profession.

“Not hate, no, never that,” Day-Lewis clarified. “But I’ve come to believe that it is absolutely imperative for me to maintain a constant question mark over it. It’s essential to continually question the rightness of what one is doing in life, and the place one occupies within it. Films exhaust me, they do, and I often want nothing more to do with them, but I’m continually surprised at the resurgence of the impulse to come back and do it all over again.”

His statements seemed to foreshadow his 2017 retirement from acting, where he said his goodbyes to the film industry for good.

Daniel Day-Lewis wasn’t sure he considered himself an actor

Day-Lewis has been very candid about his unique takes on the art of acting. Even as he’d gotten older, the revered method actor asserted that his feelings on the craft hadn’t changed much from his younger years.

“Probably one of the reasons why I stay away from it, for long periods of time, is because I am still idealistic about acting – even though I have seen all the filth and the trash around it. I sometimes think it’s potentially noble. But the truth is most things can be noble if you want them to be. After a while, you can pretty much convince yourself of anything,” he said.

Still, Day-Lewis always had trouble coming to terms with being labeled an actor. It was a word that always bothered him since he started his journey to superstardom.

“Actor? I don’t know if I ever was one,” he said. ‘I have always had a problem with that word. I’ve always asked myself that question, ever since I went to college. There was a time when I was quite proud of the tag. It gave a sense of identity. But I was young then. And then there was another time when I thought it was quite pejorative.”

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