Focus Features’ new film “Phantom Thread” serves as a reunion 10 years in the making, as director Paul Thomas Anderson and actor Daniel Day-Lewis collaborate for the first time since “There Will Be Blood.” Following a screening of “Phantom Thread” for guild members and the press at Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills, Anderson discussed reuniting with Day-Lewis for would could be Day-Lewis’ final performance. Above, watch a select portion of the Q&A with Anderson and actresses Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville, moderated by Mark Olsen of the LA Times.
“It was nice to see Daniel play an Englishman,” Anderson said in a clear nod to “There Will Be Blood,” in which Day-Lewis won an Oscar for playing American oil tycoon Daniel Plainview. As for why he set “Phantom Thread” in 1950s London, Anderson explained, “I’ve always wanted to make a film in London. I’ve always wanted the opportunity to work with English actors on their own turf. Learning more about the world, it just sort of lends itself [to London].”
In originating the character of Reynolds Woodcock, a fictitious dressmaker whose heart could use some mending, Anderson confessed that Day-Lewis was very much involved in the creative process. “I told him a little bit about the story I was cooking up, and we agreed that I would share the writing with him as I went along. Because it also required investigating this world — this was couture — we did research together … but I would be doing more writing.”
“Every couple weeks or every 10-30 pages I would share things with him,” Anderson revealed. “And cause I don’t speak English, I speak American, he helped me with that as it was going along. So it was a real collaboration in that way. Obviously everybody wants to work with Daniel and I got kind of nudged to the front of the line because we’d done it before.”
Throughout his career Paul Thomas Anderson has been nominated for six Oscars: Best Original Screenplay for “Boogie Nights” (1997); Best Original Screenplay for “Magnolia” (1999); Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for “There Will Be Blood” (2007); and Best Adapted Screenplay for “Inherent Vice” (2014). Can he finally prevail this year? See Gold Derby’s 2018 Oscar odds for Best Director.
Meanwhile, Daniel Day-Lewis is a three-time Oscar winner for “My Left Foot” (1989), “There Will Be Blood” (2007) and “Lincoln” (2012). A fourth victory for “Phantom Thread” would tie him for the all-time acting record that’s currently held by Katharine Hepburn. See Gold Derby’s 2018 Oscar odds for Best Actor.
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