A Minute With: Daniel Day Lewis on "Nine"

Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:45pm EST
 
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Daniel Day-Lewis has not appeared on a live theater's stage in decades, but he takes on a uniquely theatrical role for new movie musical, "Nine," which begins its broad U.S. release Christmas day.

The two-time Oscar winner more often than not plays driven men in movie dramas, as with Bill "The Butcher" Cutting for director Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" and oil baron Daniel Plainview in "There Will be Blood."

But for "Nine," he shook off all that drama and tuned up his voice to play Italian film director Guido Contini, who is struggling to find his creativity. The movie is loosely based on director Federico Fellini's 1963 film "8-1/2."

Day-Lewis, 52, sat down with Reuters to talk his love of movies and acting, why he takes so few roles and whether, after "Nine," he might return to the stage.

Q. Was singing in a film anything like going back to the start of your career where, perhaps, you didn't really know what you were doing?

A: You need to find some way of expressing something through music that you can't do with the spoken word, and I just wasn't sure how you did that. So yes, it became hard all over again ... and then you record it in a studio which is a completely sterile environment. You don't have any of the stimuli that you normally draw on to help you.

Q: What could you possibly do next after a role like this?

A: I do not think about it in finite terms like that. Yeah, I am not working now and I have no plans to. But I don't feel that's a conflict. To me, it seems more of a positive thing rather than a negative thing of not knowing what I am going to do, not being able to find anything, not having the energy.   Continued...

 
<p>Actor Daniel Day Lewis poses for a portrait in New York, November 15, 2009. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri</p>