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Thoughts on my way out of town…

Just saw The Phantom Thread (keep thinking Phantom Menace in my head) loved it, see it, you’ll enjoy it. But bigger than the film for me, unfortunately — because this is excellent filmmaking that stands apart from any personal stories about the creative team — is Daniel Day Lewis‘ comments about leaving acting.  As I make my preparations to leave NYC this week for some career building opportunities in Los Angeles, I can’t stop myself from lamenting how wonderful it would be to have substantial work as an actor… the opportunity to spend countless, exhausting hours immersing oneself into the world of a character… that one might actually end up unable to do it any longer… I can’t imagine it (the last part).  Daniel Day Lewis was quoted a few months back in a W Magazine interview, “I need to believe in the value of what I’m doing. The work can seem vital. Irresistible, even. And if an audience believes it, that should be good enough for me. But, lately, it isn’t.”  I understand the anxiety and fear of falling short… not telling the story you have been enlisted to share via the character you are responsible to create (ask anybody who’s ever worked with me).  But it is in that crazy creative space that I feel most alive…  I hope my acting career takes me to a place where I can understand what Mr. Lewis is talking about.  How do you shut off the need to tell stories that start conversations?  Maybe the work takes it’s toll, but how do you make such a declarative statement about the unknown future to say you are unequivocally done? A creative artist, like so many other professionals who do something long enough, likely changes their perspective about their work over time… and Mr. Lewis’ decision does come after a very robust career full of many artistic accomplishments.  For the rest of us dreaming and plotting sods, toiling in obscurity, looking on with envy, may the next job get us to the point where our success makes us too insecure to go on.  See you in LA!

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