Fund-raiser returns for premiere

Charity and cinema brought an exceptional actor to Athens over the weekend. A guest at the Opening Nights Athens International Film Festival, Daniel Day-Lewis accepted the organizers’ invitation on the condition that proceeds from the (rapidly sold out) premiere of «The Ballad of Jack and Rose,» his latest film, go to Cerebral Palsy Greece. The film was written and directed by Rebecca Miller, Day-Lewis’s wife and the daughter of the late Arthur Miller. It is the fourth time the actor has visited this country in aid of Cerebral Palsy Greece. In 1990, the actor was present for the Greek opening of «My Left Foot,» returning for the premieres of «The Crucible» and «Gangs of New York.» In «The Ballad of Jack and Rose,» the actor plays a man living with his teenage daughter in isolated existence in New England. Suffering from an incurable disease, Jack wishes to introduce Rose to the world he has kept her away from and invites his mistress and her two teenage sons to join them. How does the actor choose his roles? «There is some kind of self-delusion in that it’s not so much that I choose something, but I feel that in some sense it has chosen me,» said Day-Lewis during a press conference at the French Institute, prior to last Saturday’s premiere at the Attikon cinema. The great interest, however, surrounds the actor’s methods when preparing for each part. «So much has been said but none has been said by me, or very little,» offered Day-Lewis. «I always feel astonished by the fascination people seem to have. For me, it’s my job, I go to work and that’s the way I do it. Especially in England, there’s some kind of suspicion, as if there is some kind of dark magic involved, perhaps some satanic rites! It’s still evolving and I think that if it weren’t it would be a pretty uninteresting adventure.» The «method,» according to the actor, is closely associated with a teacher of his, who based his teaching on Konstantin Stanislavsky. For Day-Lewis, it provides fertile ground for unleashing his imagination. In the end, however, how can any system apply to something so elusive? «As much as my approach remains very similar in some respects to my work, each piece of work demands different things, so you have to adapt,» said the actor. «And I suppose the reason I avoid talking about it is because as much as it is in some sense a kind of practical work, essentially it is a mystery, there’s nothing to talk about.» At the press conference, the actor also spoke about the current state of affairs in Northern Ireland – an Irish citizen since the early 1990s, Day-Lewis, Miller and their two sons live in County Wicklow, Ireland. The situation seems to be reversed, said Day-Lewis, with the Northern Irish Protestants now feeling abandoned when, ironically, it was the Catholics who so far had been oppressed. Asked about whether he would ever consider acting in Greek drama, the actor recalled visiting and being fascinated by the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus at the age of 14. «I don’t think I have ever considered it,» he said. «I’d have to learn how to speak Greek.» Meanwhile, Day-Lewis will continue being selective of his roles and taking long breaks between films. «Life in cinema and outside it is one and the same,» he said. «The time I spend away from the cinema is what allows me to be part of it.»

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