Daniel Day-Lewis Was So Committed to His ‘Gangs of New York’ Role That He Didn’t Speak To Leonardo DiCaprio For 9 Months of Filming — ‘There’s Commitment, and Then There’s Daniel’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis is understood for his sturdy character portrayals and dedication to delivering genuine performances. His tireless work ethic has earned him quite a few distinctions, together with a number of Academy Awards.

Day-Lewis has an attention-grabbing course of for delivering his performances, which may partly be credited to him staying in character always. Leonardo DiCaprio discovered this firsthand when the 2 labored on Gangs of New York. Apparently, Day-Lewis didn’t converse to him the whole time they filmed the film. 

Leonardo DiCaprio needed to persuade Daniel Day-Lewis to star in ‘Gangs of New York’

Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis, director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio | Toni Anne Barson Archive/WireImage

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After DiCaprio signed on to star in Gangs of New York, the function of ‘Bill the Butcher’ was nonetheless open. Scorsese thought Day-Lewis could be a terrific match for the function, however everybody knew Day-Lewis had retired from appearing. Scorsese tasked DiCaprio with speaking Day-Lewis into becoming a member of the manufacturing. 

“Scorsese had actually said to me, ‘I’m not sure how Daniel feels, if he’s ready to work or not. … You should have a conversation with him and suss it out.’ …”

After a number of meetups and a few motivational phrases from Tobey Maguire, Day-Lewis agreed to star in Gangs of New York.

“Eventually, thank God, he said yes, and I got to work with somebody who was another huge influence on myself as an actor. I mean, there’s commitment, and then there’s Daniel Day-Lewis.” 

Daniel Day-Lewis didn’t converse to Leonardo DiCaprio on set

Day-Lewis is infamous for his strict dedication to his characters. He totally immerses himself in each function, actually turning into whoever he’s enjoying on the time. DiCaprio discovered this firsthand a couple of days earlier than they started taking pictures scenes for Gangs of New York

“It was like two days before we started shooting, and you know, we’d been saying, ‘Hi Daniel,’ ‘Hi Marty,’ ‘Good morning,’ stuff like that,” DiCaprio mentioned. “… I said, ‘Morning Daniel,’ and he went, [grunts]. I said, ‘Oh s—,’ game on. …’”

Day-Lewis was so dedicated to staying in character that he refused to talk to DiCaprio for the whole time they labored on the movie.

“I don’t think I said another word to him the nine months that we were there. It was just—he was ‘Bill the Butcher,’ and that was it,” DiCaprio added. “It was only until the last day of reshoots that we kind of looked at each other and laughed, you know, and like, cracked a smile.”

Leonardo DiCaprio admires Daniel Day-Lewis’ dedication to his roles

Although DiCaprio himself has gone deep into character for roles, it’s by no means been to the extent of Day-Lewis.

“I’ve done that to a certain degree, myself, but I think, ‘To each his own,’” DiCaprio mentioned. “And I think that his level of commitment is just so absolute, and he goes home in character. … To a certain degree, I’m sure he has to kiss his child and his wife and go to bed, but that kind of level of commitment was inspiring again for me. …”

Day-Lewis’ dedication did extra than simply encourage DiCaprio; he additionally discovered a terrific deal from Day-Lewis’ approach. 

“I think as an actor, being able to witness that, and seeing the sort of heights of commitment like that was another stage of learning for me,” DiCaprio added. 

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