Great. Now I gotta think about Daniel Plainview's underpants?
SCHWARTZ: One aspect of your filmmaking process that I’ve read that you’re very involved in (and it’s similar to Robert De Niro, who’s another actor who really works a lot with the costume designer) deals a lot with costume as a way of finding character. Is that true? Is that an important part of the process, the choices? It seems like the choices of the hat you wear, every little thing seems to be expressive here.
DAY-LEWIS: Well, it is important, but it can only be important in the right way, if it happens at the right time. In other words, if you have begun to understand the world—or at least to believe that you understand that world that you’re creating through the eyes of this other life—then you begin to look at clothes in a different way. You try and imagine the vanity; you try and feel the vanity of that particular man.
We all present ourselves. We choose. Look at people in the street. You know, you see fellows with a certain amount of dignity walking down the street with shopping bags, which slightly reduces that dignity. (Laughter) You can’t quite pinpoint why, but you sort of imagine the man who commands the attention of millions and has a checkbook the size of the telephone directory at his disposal, and you imagine him standing in front of a mirror deciding between this pair of underpants or that pair of underpants, and the hat, and the coat. Every single one amongst us makes these decisions about the way in which we choose to present ourselves. In that context, yes, the clothes then become very important. Why would I choose this pair of boots, as opposed to that? So yes, then it becomes interesting; yes.
Wow, way to verge on Molly Bloom territory toward the end there.
Where was I? Ah, yes. [And there's that word again.] This excerpt comes from the Pinewood Dialogues with Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson at the Museum of the Moving Image on December 11, 2007, moderated by chief curator David Schwartz. [The cinetrix loves the parends in the transcription, incidentally.] You can read the rest or download Daniel's dreamy, dulcet tones here.
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