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Movies & TV

09th Nov 2023

Leonardo DiCaprio tells great story about Daniel Day-Lewis on Gangs of New York set

Ryan Grace

“I don’t think I said another word to him for the nine months we were there.”

Martin Scorsese’s gripping drama Gangs of New York starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day Lewis, and Cameron Diaz, celebrated its 21st birthday at the start of this year.

Released in January 2002, the film follows Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio), a young Irish immigrant who is released from prison.

Upon his release, he returns to the Five Points seeking revenge against his father’s killer, William Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis).

Naturally the pair were ready to be sworn enemies onscreen.

However Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t quite so prepared for Day-Lewis’ frosty reception offscreen…

Daniel Day-Lewis, director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio (Photo by Toni Anne Barson Archive/WireImage)

DiCaprio shocked by Day-Lewis’ method acting

Daniel Day-Lewis is perhaps the most high profile modern day method actor.

Over the course of his career he’s been known to become fully immersed in the characters he plays, and is keen to stay in that mindset even when the cameras have stopped rolling.

DiCaprio recalls experiencing this first hand on the Gangs of New York set:

“I said ‘Morning, Danny!’, and he went ‘Umph!’

“And I said oh s**t, game on.

“I don’t think I said another word to him through the nine months that we were there.

“You know, he was Bill the Butcher and that was it.

“He was just phenomenal and in character all the time. It was another stage of learning for me”

DiCaprio, who would have been in his late twenties at the time of filming hastened to add how inspired his felt by Day Lewis’ professional demeanour on set.

“There’s commitment and then there’s Daniel Day Lewis.”

You can watch DiCaprio tell the full story here.

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