Day-Lewis is one of us

Daniel Day-Lewis as Plainview
Day-Lewis: uncompromising

Hollywood’s most reluctant – and increasingly strange � star, Daniel Day-Lewis, insisted on living off-grid during filming There Will Be Blood.

For the past ten years, the London-born actor has led a resolutely reclusive existence, locked away on a remote 50-acre estate in the mountains of County Wicklow, Eire.

He has emerged to make just four films including his latest role as a violent oil prospector in There Will Be Blood, which just won him a Golden Globe, has been nominated for a Bafta, and is tipped to earn him a second Best Actor Oscar.

Visitors to his home – which can be reached only via a narrow track – have revealed how he spends his time obsessively practicing his twin hobbies of shoe-making and woodwork, as well as riding for hours at a time alone through the mountains on his push bike o rone of his collection of motor bikes.

At the same time, the actor is said to insist on living the role of his latest characters for up to two years before beginning a new movie.

For the part of Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood, he refused to speak to his co-stars off the set, and insisted on living in a tent on a deserted Texas oilfield when the cameras stopped rolling, in order to remain in character (in the film, Plainview is seen to be perfectly happy living in a tent).

In his previous movie, The Ballad Of Jack And Rose, in which he played a reclusive hippy, he built his own shack on the beach of a remote Canadian island, where he would spend the nights after shooting had finished, while his family stayed in a nearby hotel.

But those who know the 50-year-old Day-Lewis well have long since ceased to be surprised by his eccentric lifestyle.

This spring, he will return to a movie studio – but instead of acting, he will join the carpentry crew, building the sets on The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee, which is to be directed by his wife Rebecca Miller, author of the book on which the film is based.

So obsessed is Day-Lewis with practising his new skills as a carpenter that he admitted, in a rare interview this week, that his nine-year-old son Ronan (the couple also have another boy, five-year-old Cashel) thought, until recently, that his father was not an actor but worked on a building site.

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