Ten Things You Don't Know About Daniel Day-Lewis

The 'Lincoln' Star Almost Became a Carpenter

Ten Things You Don't Know About Daniel Day-Lewis
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Daniel Day-Lewis is known for his method acting.

On November 16, 2012, the film "Lincoln" starring Daniel Day-Lewis hits theaters. While his work is highly regarded, most fans are unfamiliar with the notoriously private actor. Here are ten things you may not know about Daniel Day-Lewis.

1. Day-Lewis Was 14 in His First Film

Day-Lewis was just 14 years old when he made his feature film debut in 1971's "Sunday Bloody Sunday." He played a very small role as a child vandal in the British film starring Peter Finch and Glenda Jackson. It would be another decade before more movie work came his way.

2. Day-Lewis' Dad Was a Poet Laureate

His dad, Cecil Day-Lewis was the U.K. poet laureate from 1968 to his death in 1972. The actor recently donated all of his father's papers to Oxford University. Included in the 54 boxes were drafts of Cecil's works, letters from John Gielgud and numerous literary figures.

3. Day-Lewis Could Have Been a Carpenter

As a student, Day-Lewis had two main interests - carpentry and acting. He applied for an apprenticeship with cabinetmaker John Makepeace. But when he was accepted into the theatre program at the Bristol Old Vic, he decided to become a thespian instead of a craftsman.

4. Day-Lewis Works as a Cobbler in his Downtime

Although he chose acting as a career he never lost his interest in artistry and craftsmanship and between movies is known to work as a cobbler in Italy. He oftentimes, puts so much energy into a role that after filming, he sometimes retires for several years in a stretch and works repairing and building shoes in seclusion.

5. Day-Lewis Is Married to Arthur Miller's Daughter

Although known to have dated several of his famous co-stars including Juliette Binoche, Saffron Burrows and Julia Roberts, Day-Lewis settled down in November of 1996. He married Rebecca Miller, the daughter of famed playwright Arthur Miller. The couple have two children.

6. Day-Lewis Often Lives the Life of His Characters

Day-Lewis notoriously takes "method acting" to a whole new level. He oftentimes immerses himself in a role to the point of on occasion bringing physical harm to himself. It has been said that on the set of "Gangs of New York" he got sick because he refused to wear clothes other than his threadbare costume because the warmer overcoats would not have existed in the 19th century. When filming "My Left Foot" he spent the entire production period in a wheelchair and was also spoon-fed and given sponge baths to learn what it would be like to have cerebral palsy. And while filming "Last of the Mohicans" he didn't go anywhere, including to a Christmas dinner, without his 12-pound flintlock gun.

7. Day-Lewis Has Turned Down Dozens of Famous Roles

While many marvel at the roles Day-Lewis has taken on with mastery, some wonder what it would have been like had he taken some of the parts he was in the running for. Through the years he was considered for Aragorn in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Andrew Beckett in "Philadelphia," Jesus Christ in "The Passion of the Christ," Chris Kelvin in "Solaris", Sid Vicious in "Sid and Nancy," Jor-El" in "Superman: Man of Steel," Count Laszlo de Almásy in "The English Patient" and Simon Templar in "The Saint."

8. Day-Lewis Lost an Oscar to Tom Hanks

One of the roles Day-Lewis turned down was that of Andrew Beckett in "Philadelphia" because he chose instead to play Gerry Cohen in "In the Name of the Father." Both actors were nominated for Best Actor Oscars for their portrayals, but Hanks took the big prize that year leaving some ton wonder if Day-Lewis had chosen the wrong part.

9. Day-Lewis Has Won Only Two Oscars

In his illustrious career he has shockingly only been nominated for only four Academy Awards and has one for only two ("My Left Foot" and "There Will Be Blood." In doing so, however, he is the first non-American to take home two of the golden statues.

10. Day-Lewis Says Lincoln Was a Tenor

Director Steven Spielberg reluctantly delayed filming for the Day-Lewis' exploration into Abraham Lincoln. He took a year to research the President including the timber of voice. Rather than the boom of an orator, which most expect from the 16th president, Day-Lewis discovered Honest Abe's voice was most likely much more high-pitched and nasally.

More From This Contributor:

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