That bastard had better start melting down his awards, because Daniel Day Lewis owes me money. Two weeks ago an exciting opportunity for film writing arrived in my inbox. Would I, my editor wanted to know, be interested in attending a special advanced screening of There Will Be Blood, with a live (via satellite ) interview with its brilliant and press-shy star Daniel Day Lewis? The answer was unabashedly yes. Here was my chance to prove to a new audience that my film writing wasn’t just a one off speculative article in the Saturday supplement with a real assignment dealing with an exciting new release, already glittering with awards potential. Would I be interested in writing up a review of the film and juxtaposing it with quotes form Day Lewis, as I had heard them in the company of other film journalists? Would I let Johnny Depp take me away for a naughty weekend in
The first bad sign was when my editor emailed back and said that the event, initially thought to be press only, was a public one. Would I then book my own ticket and submit it as expenses? Yeah, okay, sure. Immediately, my fantasy health care was axed. I tried to stay positive. This was still a great opportunity! The public could then compare their experience of the screening and Q&A with what I had written. Essentially, really, I was going to appeal to a larger audience. If these people were anything like me, they always read about things they had already seen, if only to have their opinions confirmed. This was a good thing. Johnny Depp was back, and this time he wanted me for the whole week. I confidently dialed the press office, pre- imagining my insights and already choosing ecstatic yet carefully analytical phrases for my filmic experience at the hands of this enigmatic actor. Hoping to shirk the whole reimbursement phase of the transaction, I asked for a press ticket “for the Daniel Day Lewis event” to be told that Mr Day Lewis had cancelled due to “personal matters.”
Disaster. Poverty. Pride shanking. All of these things flashed through my whirring mind as the press agent chuckled his way through a variety of reasons for the cancellation. But it was nothing. Gone was my unique opportunity to prove myself brilliant, gone was the first film assignment I’d actually ever got, gone was my corner office, salary and benefits, gone gone gone.
The days went by in a blur of praise for There Will Be Blood. I attended a press screening under my own steam and found myself enthralled, loving Day Lewis' performance. But bitterness gnawed at my heart and poorness pissed on my wallet. I would never forgive him. He was famously elusive and unpredictable, maybe he was going through a mental breakdown in preparation for his next role, maybe somebody died and he shouting at heaven in his grief, maybe he abandoned his child and his remorse precluded any speaking engagements for the next few weeks. I comforted myself with that. Until tonight, I was almost sympathizing with Daniel Day Lewis for whatever misfortune had befallen him that he had to miss his satellite link Q&A. And then, benignly seated to watch the Baftas, I saw him. Sitting there, next to his very alive wife, smiling and clapping at some idiot who had won some damned award. Daniel Day Lewis. Interloper of intimate emergencies, faker of personal matters, happy healthy, and very much not in dire emotional distress. Outrageous. What, did he think the ticket holders of the Cameo Cinema in