DANIEL DAY-LEWIS FEATURE
ofno use at all. There’s nearly always a moment when you’re ﬁlming . when you’re still compulsively involved but you know that you need it to ﬁnish as well. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t still paradoxically hold onto it when it is ﬁnished. I don’t know why that’s true. but it’s just hard to push it away. You never know how things affect you because there are parts of each piece of work which presumably
and Gerry Conian in The Name of the Father.
become assimilated into your life in a way that you‘re entirely unconscious of.‘
The most famous example of part of his work intruding into his private life was when Day- Lewis had something akin to a nervous breakdown on stage during a National Theatre production of Hamlet. believing that the ghost of Hamlet’s father was in fact his own dead father. An imposing ﬁgure and former poet
‘Very often it seems as ifone is plunged into a mud-bath looking for gems of some kind, and there’s no guarantee that they’re there. And when you find them, there’s no guarantee that they’re going to be in any way useful to you.’
laureate. Cecil Day-Lewis had been 54 when his son was born in April 1957. He sent the boy ﬁrst to the local state school. then to a strict boarding establishment. but after a period at a progressive private school. Daniel opted for an acting career. working with the National Youth Theatre and Bristol Old Vic. Indeed. his earliest successes were on stage, in the West End production of Another Country and as an RSC Romeo.
His latest ﬁlm release sees him surrounded by the sumptuous period detail of New York during the 1870s. As Newland Archer in Martin Scorsese‘s The Age (Ifltzrt()eerz(:e. Day- Lewis brings his on—screen sex appeal to a character deﬁned by internalised emotional turmoil. Archer comes from a family in the upper echelons of New York society. and is happily engaged to the daughter of another respectable family. May Welland (Winona Ryder). until May’s cousin. Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer) returns from a (I?
With The Age of Innocence, Martin Scorsese bites into another side of the Big Apple.
With A ge oflnnoeenee, Martin Scorsese has come in off the streets and immersed himself in the intrigues of a more mannered nature. He talked to Alan Morrison about swapping bullets for ballgowns.
ike most of Martin Scorsese’s greatest ﬁlms. The Age Of Innocence is submerged in a New York social stratum with its own precise rules, codes and methods oi'justice. These are not. however. the blood-soaked gangland ties of Mean Streets. Taxi Driver and Gomifellas. but the repressed emotions and cruel hypocrisies of the city‘s upper-class gentry in the 1870s.
‘The challenge was for me to direct a ﬁlm where the people behaved. on the surface. very differently from the type of people and the societies I usually work with.‘ explains the ﬁlmmaker. ‘where conversations were codiﬁed. where one character would say something but they actually meant something else. 1 was interested in the manner in which they acted out strong emotional violence by very subtle strategies. so that people’s lives and hearts are torn out although they do it so politely. I’m interested in the civilised nature of this barbarity.’
The ﬁlm marks a distinct change in setting and style for Scorsese. who is not. perhaps. the ﬁrst name that comes to mind for a restrained costume drama. But this doesn’t take into consideration his fanatical love of movies from every comer of the world. Unlike many of his American peers, Scorsese is quick to cite. It?
The List 28 January—l0 February 1994 7