COMMITMENT- Daniel Day-Lewis Never Broke Character When Stealing Equipment And Props From Set

Daniel Day-Lewis was so dedicated to his roles that he would never break character during a production.  Not even when he was, as Paul Thomas Anderson put it, “looting the set of whatever he could get his damn filthy hands on.”

“Daniel broke two ribs as result from never leaving his wheelchair between takes.” recalled My Left Foot director Jim Sheridan. “So it blew my fucking mind he was able to make off with a dolly track, half of our audio, and on some days all of our lunches.”

Second Assistant Director Adam Lasko spoke of his experience on the set of 2012’s Lincoln.  “I heard someone behind me say in a raspy high pitched voice ‘Well this is an odd contraption!’ I turned around to see Mr. Day-Lewis in full makeup and wardrobe walking off with an entire Steadicam rig. “This oddity will go well in my collection of unusuals!” Lasko remembered Day-Lewis saying and added, “When I told Spielberg about it, he just said not to worry. That’s why we brought extra.”  

In a 2004 interview, director Martin Scorsese recalled Day-Lewis on the set of Gangs of New York.  “Daniel committed 100% to Bill The Butcher.  He became him,” expressed Scorsese. “And Bill made off with almost every damn set piece that wasn’t nailed down.  Prop knives, chairs, HMIs, slates, apple boxes. He even swiped a golf cart from security and painted the words ‘True American’ on the side in what he claimed was ‘immigrants blood’, but I know it was only paint.  Paint that he stole.”

“His dedication to acting and getting free stuff was unwavering,” Scorsese added. “Every time I sent an AD to fetch him for a scene we’d hear him yell ‘Don’t you never come to Five points-’, he called his trailer Five Points, ‘Don’t you never come to Five Points empty handed!  You tell that meat headed wop he’s got to pay for the pleasure of my company!’ So I’d send over a few rolls of gaff tape. He’d throw them on the pile, he’d walk over and we’d shoot the scene.”

Anderson estimated the intense method acting that awarded Day-Lewis numerous Oscars also awarded him roughly $50-100,000 of ill-gotten plunder per film.  “More than enough for most to retire,” stated Anderson. “But I’m sure he’ll burn through it pretty quick. He’ll be back.”