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And the result'.’ How did Christy’s family react when they saw the finished film‘.’ ‘I was more nervous about their reaction to the film than about anyone else‘s. And so it mattered to me very very much that they approved of the result.‘
Coincidentally. Dustin Hoffman‘s Rain Man, about an autistic savant. was made at about the same time as My Left Foot. ‘With these two films one could be tempted to say: “Well, at last the disabled person is being represented." But the great danger is that you‘re at the very same time forcing a whole area of society back into a ghetto in which they simply don‘t belong. You‘re actually accentuating the fact oftheir disability. And the whole point about people who are in that unenviable position (and most of them should speak for themselves and be allowed to speak for themselves) is that they will say that the problem is very much in our
MY BEAUTIFUl CAREER
The List surveys the highs and highs ofDaniel Day Lewis’ sparkling professional history.
Daniel Michael Blake Day Lewis was born on April 291957. As one observer happily put it: ‘He was fairly formed and he thrived.‘ His second birth — a longer process which gradually
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Room With A View. A hop and a skip took him sweetly into serious cinema as the devilish Tomas in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. A best-forgotten film version of William Boyd's Stars and Bars tided him over until My Left Foot, yet another book-turned-film script, received the Day Lewis stamp.
Screen success has not kept him out of the theatre. Laundrette may have cleaned up on the publicity front, but Day Lewis had already laid more solid foundations with the HSC. Consistently resistent to vacuous stardom, the fine-featured heart-throb has been remarkably successful in selling himself as a serious actor— largely because he takes acting so damn seriously. The effort he puts into his chameleon craft is typified by the eight weeks spent in a cerebral palsy clinic as preparation forthe role of Christy Brown.
Recently, the picture of Day Lewis filtering through the odd combination of media hype and his own increasing
attitudes rather than in their disability. as it's described. Very often. our desire is to make it seem OK. What we want them to be able to do is either be out ofsight or be presented to us in a way which is more palatable.‘
Well. Daniel Day-Lewis‘s Christy Brown is by no means out of sight, and is certainly presented warts and all. But he makes you love him, and respect him. and admire a performance in which ‘acting‘ has become — incarnation.
My Left Foot opens at the OFT on Thursday 21 September and at the
, exposed him to the public gaze as l Daniel Day Lewis, actor—was completed in 1985 with the unexpected success of a small-budget film intended for Channel 4. Having begged l his way into the film, My Beautiful Laundrette propelled the handsome youngest son of D. Day Lewis into the sphere of pin-up stardom. Interviews of the time suggest a youthful enthusiasm, a zest for his craft, a foot firmly planted on the Iadderto the top. Since then, Day Lewis has moved from low-budget beginnings to big-time movie-making in three apparently effortless steps. Dealing a Edinburgh Fitmhouse on Sunday 24 body-blow to drooling fans, his next
September. See Film Listings for appearance was as the oﬂnuﬂinc Cecil details. in Merchant lvory's pretty picture, A
taciturnity, is that of an obsessional. It is easy to be wise with hindsight, and his recent breakdown onstage at the National Theatre while performing Hamlet leaves him wide open to " » amateurpsychologising. Nevertheless, the remarks are there: of I Hamlet, ‘You have to deal with all the ‘ demons it conjures up in you‘; of the need for actors to observe themselves, ‘I remember one of my teachers, a very very good teacher, always said to us, 'You have to watch yourselves. It'll drive you mad, but you have to do it."; of his private life ‘lam alone. Sometimes too much so. but I just prefer it that way. ldon't go in search of new people.‘
Day Lewls' great strength ls his versatl|~ lty: top Johnny In My Beautiful
Laundrette, middle as Thomas In The Unbear- ' able Lightness of Belng and bottom his latest role In My Left Foot.
The List 15 — 28 September 19893