Emily Watson recalls Daniel Day-Lewis’s response when she questioned method acting extremes

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Actor Emily Watson has recalled the response Daniel Day-Lewis gave her when she asked him about his method acting.

The pair co-starred in the 1997 IRA drama The Boxer together. Day-Lewis, who is now retired, was known for using method acting techniques when inhabiting roles.

In a new interview with The Guardian, Watson remembered questioning Day-Lewis on why he chose that approach.

“He said to me: ‘I’m not a good enough actor not to,” she said.

Watson herself does not method act, but spoke about the lengths she would go to prepare for a role.

“I need to immerse myself very fully for a role. It’s really about kidding your body that this is real,” she said. “You can find all sorts of different ways of tricking yourself.”

The 56-year-old actor was speaking ahead of her new film God’s Creatures, co-starring Paul Mescal, in which she plays a mother whose son has been accused of rape.

Watson went on to explain that her full-on approach to acting has at times cost her emotionally.

Daniel Day-Lewis (Getty Images for Academy of Moti)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Getty Images for Academy of Moti)

In one particularly intense period, she had to access therapy after playing Julie Nicholson in 2015’s A Song For Jenny.

Nicholson was the mother of Jenny, a 24-year-old woman who was killed in the London tube bombings on 7/7.

“Despite saying, ‘This didn’t happen to you, babe, you’re the actress, don’t be such an idiot,’ I found myself just very wobbly, very tearful and not able to cope with things,” Watson said.

God’s Creatures is released in Cinemas on 31 March.