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Academy Award-winning English actor Daniel Day-Lewis is known for going to extreme lengths to prepare for a role. He has starred in several films, including Sunday, Bloody Sunday; My Beautiful Laundrette; My Left Foot; and Lincoln.
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Day-Lewis took his role so seriously that he actually injured two ribs due to hunching over in the wheelchair. His hard work paid off when he took home an Oscar and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Best Actor Award, among a slew of other accolades.
Following this success, Day-Lewis took a break from Hollywood and returned to the stage for several years. Due to exhaustion and a scare related to seeing the specter of his father while playing Hamlet onstage,
Day-Lewis has not returned to the theater since 1989.
Hollywood took Daniel Day-Lewis back with open arms, and in 1992 he returned to the silver screen with a starring role in Last of the Mohicans. His second Academy Award nomination was for his performance in the popular In the Name of the Father (1993). Day-Lewis's next two movies were commercially successful period pieces, The Age of Innocence (1993) and The Crucible (1996). It was on the set of The Crucible that Day-Lewis met Rebecca Miller, the daughter of writer Arthur Miller. The two began a romance that would result in their marriage on November 13, 1996. The couple has two children, Ronan Cal Day-Lewis and Cashel Blake Day-Lewis. The actor has one older son, Gabriel Cane Adjani, from a previous relationship with Isabelle Adjani.
After shooting the film The Boxer in 1997, Day-Lewis unexpectedly moved to Italy to become an apprentice to a shoemaker, effectively cutting himself off from the rest of the world. Day-Lewis has been reluctant to talk about his time out of the public eye, saying, "it was a period of my life that I had a right to without any intervention of that kind." In 2002, though, he was back in front of the camera for a much-lauded performance as Bill the Butcher in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York. Day-Lewis rounded up another batch of awards nominations for his role as the knife-wielding gangster and won another BAFTA for best actor.
Day-Lewis gave another stunning performance in the 2007 film There Will Be Blood. An extended period of time was needed to raise funds for the film, which gave the actor two whole years in which to prepare for a role and a time period that he knew nothing about. "I like to learn about things," Day-Lewis said. "It was just a great time trying to conceive of the impossibility of that thing. I didn't know anything about mining at the turn of the century in America. My boarding school in Kent didn't exactly teach that."
Day-Lewis landed a starring role in the 2009 film Nine, by director Guido Contini. Once again, Day-Lewis's performance was met with critical acclaim and award nominations. The actor is known for taking long hiatuses between films, breaking the mold of a leading man who churns out a hit every year. Critics and fans alike may want to see more of Day-Lewis, but the BAFTA darling clearly knows how to cultivate his genius and deliver epic performances. Researching his roles, taking time for his family, and striking out for new adventures seems to be part and parcel of the actor's recipe for success.
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