3-time Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis is known for his intensely focused, meticulously researched performances that mark him as one of the few actors of his generation who can truly claim to fully transform themselves from role to role, movie to movie. There is no doubt that he is a dramatic powerhouse, whether he’s earnestly arguing for the abolition of slavery in “Lincoln,” threatening to slice up whoever gets in his way in “Gangs Of New York” or embodying someone stricken with cerebral palsy in “My Left Foot.” His talent can’t be denied, but can he tell a joke on the big screen? At least one major director doesn’t think so.
Currently doing the press rounds overseas for “I’m So Excited,” Pedro Almodovar told The Yorkshire Post that while he admires Method actors, they don’t have the chops to be funny. “To me ‘Saturday Night Live‘ seems like cabaret, the cradle for decades of the best American comics. The Actor’s Studio, however, with all the respect and admiration it deserves, seems just the opposite to me,” he explained. “Brando, a comedy actor? No. And he tried it. He even sang and danced in ‘Guys and Dolls,’ stiff as a board, but Brando was too self-aware. I don’t know if Montgomery Clift ever actually tried it but I can’t imagine him. Or James Dean. Or Daniel Day-Lewis.”
“I don’t debate his greatness but no matter how thin he is, Daniel Day-Lewis can’t manage to give the slightest sensation of lightness,” Almodovar candidly stated. But surely, there must be someone who bucks the rule? Someone who managed to get the highest dramatic training, yet could still be effortlessly light and funny? Well, there is: “Marilyn Monroe is still the exception. Adopted by the Strasbergs, she managed to overcome the weight of the Method.”
So what do you think? Is Almodovar being too harsh on DDL, or does the actor have a big comedy up his sleeve? We’ll say this — he did get some genuine laughs with his acceptance speech this year. Weigh in below.