Much to the collective relief of aspiring Best Actor Oscar nominees everywhere, Daniel Day-Lewis is preparing to mothball his movie career.
The 55-year-old made history last night (Feb. 24) by winning a third Best Actor Oscar for his dramatic lead role in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln."
"I really don't know how any of this happened," Day-Lewis said in accepting the award. "I do know that I have received so much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life, and I'm so grateful to the Academy for this beautiful honor."
According to The London Sunday Times, it could be a while before we see Day-Lewis' talents play out again on the silver screen. He's reportedly told friends that he will take a five-year sabbatical from filming to spend time with his family and enjoy life on his 50-acre farm in Co Wicklow, south of Dublin. The paper also quoted sources as saying the star is interested in learning "rural skills" such as stonemasonry.
While Day-Lewis hasn't revealed any of this to the media first-hand, there's certainly plenty of precedence in his career to make it all perfectly believable. Notoriously reclusive, he's known as one of the most selective actors in the industry, with only a handful of films since 1998 and a penchant for five-year gaps between roles. During one such stretch in the late '90s, Day-Lewis famously apprenticed as a shoemaker in Florence, Italy, studying under the late master cobbler Stefano Bemer.
"I was very happily out of the world of filmmaking," Day-Lewis said in a 2002 interview. "I was just happily working away at other things."
Day-Lewis has also admitted that his reluctance to talk about what he calls his "slothful periods" has created an "apparent rift between one world and the other." But he maintains that time off pursuing these personal interests and time with his family is what contributes to his transformative characters on screen.
"My life as it is away from the movie set is a life where I follow my curiosity just as avidly as when I am working," he told the U.K. Guardian in 2008. "It is with a very positive sense that I keep away from the work for a while. It has always seemed natural to me that that, in turn, should help me in the work that I do."
As for his rural lifestyle, far away from the glitz and lights of Hollywood — that too offers solace to help shape future roles.
"In a rural parish," he explains, "you become utterly unnoticeable. Or that's the impression I have. I couldn't work or get ready for a piece of work from a city base, from city life. I need deep, deep quiet and a landscape too that I can be absorbed into. So much of the work is in the process of aimless rumination in which things may or may not take seed."
So rest assured, while we may not see one of our generation's greatest actors for another five years, the foundation is already in place for his next acclaimed role. Let this stonemason get to work.
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