ISSUE DATE: Nov. 5, 2012
“It didn’t occur to me that it was possible to breathe life into Abraham Lincoln,” says Day-Lewis in an interview with Time at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York City a few weeks before the film’s release. “I felt so shy around him.” Day-Lewis is a bit shy and soft-spoken in person too—-endearingly so—but warm and affable and exquisitely courteous. Shorn of his Lincoln beard, his hair chopped short into a silvery brush, the actor cuts a lean, youthful figure in his peacoat and khakis; at 55, he could easily be 10 years younger. The main quality he shares with his onscreen Lincoln is a thoughtful charisma.
Day-Lewis’ initial misgivings fell away once he began to research the part, finding his way toward Lincoln as a scholar would. “The minute you begin to approach him—and there are vast corridors that have been carved that lead you to an understanding of that man’s life, both through the great riches of his own writing and all the contemporary accounts and biographies—he feels immediately and surprisingly accessible. He draws you closer to him.”
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