Friday, January 11, 2013

Daniel Day Lewis is a PHONY (Person Review)

Well everyone, the Oscars nominations were released yesterday and everyone is abuzz about some little girl and some movie from France or something and why Ben Affleck didn’t get a handjob for his incredible work in Fargo.

So much controversy and so many things to talk about!

I would like to address something that always seems to bother me and it’s name is Daniel Day Lewis. Lewis is generally considered by everyone to be Earth’s greatest actor because of his transformative properties and intoxicating dialect work, but as I grow older and more interested in the art of acting, I have a few problems with that.

For the sake of comparison, I will only be referencing other white actors, ages 40-60 years old in this article, so if you tuned in to hear me compare Lewis to Angela Basset, then come back another day.

Ultimately, what I am going to try to prove to you through comparisons is that Daniel Day Lewis is a PHONY that should never be nominated for an Oscar and should probably only be doing Children’s Television shows.

Ok, let’s start with a scene that most of us are familiar with. Tom Hanks as Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia. As his character explains the meaning of an opera song to Denzel Washington. In this scene, Tom has a little makeup on and his hair has been lightened. He looks a little sick, but through his own voice, and human facial expressions and script words, we were all brought to tears.

What if Daniel Day Lewis played Andrew Beckett?

Andrew Beckett would have a limp, a thick mustache, he would have lost 45 pounds, an earring and probably a very bad cough, maybe a cane AND the IV thing.

The script would have been the same, so he would be saying the same words, just putting more obstacles in his way and this is where Daniel Day Lewis has us all fooled.

What about Ray Liotta in Goodfellas? There is a very simple and very affective scene where the gig is up and Liotta’s character Henry Hill is driving and behind him, he can see the helicopters coming over the horizon to arrest him. He clears the coke off the dashboard and panics and the scene is incredible. Literally one of the most intense and impressive scenes in film because of it’s simplicity.

What if Daniel Day Lewis was Henry Hill?

Lewis would have gone undercover in the mafia for 2 years to get this scene just right. Hill would have an eye patch and a big mustache. He would be wearing lots of jewelry and they would have to model a special car seat to make him very uncomfortable in the car for this scene, and he would probably need to use real cocaine for the scene and have been addicted for a few months as to not “fake” the emotions he would be feeling in his specially modeled car. Living as Henry Hill would be very hard on Lewis and he would have to retreat to his cobbler shop in Ireland for 3 years after this film to recuperate from his exhaustive performance and all encompassing transformation.

In America, we reward people who overcome obstacles, but in acting this shouldn’t be the way. We look for performances that are true and powerful but we also love the grandeur of disguise and illusion.

So, if you have a scene where you need to walk up to somebody and say “I love you”, the trick is in making your feeling believable, not in making YOU believable. The more crutches you give your character, the more obstacles you are giving your scene mate as well.

So walk over and say “I love you”.

Don’t limp over and whisper it in a South African accent. 

Now, what makes DDL special is his ability to convey anything with all that shit on his face. He is good at it. I am simply saying that we put too much weight into an actor’s ability to go to a costume shop and  spend 3 months living like a Civil War General or whatever.

Do you think DDL could do a romantic comedy like Paul Rudd or Bradley Cooper?

No. But I bet you that Bradley Cooper can put on a bunch of scars and a mustache and take a few voice lessons and be some dirty Irish hillbilly.

Because all actors can play a pirate or a Navajo Warrior for the right amount of money and time, but DDL can’t play a normal dude.

So basically, don’t fall for it. You are as good of an actor as Daniel Day Lewis. You just don’t have the money to get as weird.


-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach

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