After Lincoln opens in theaters tomorrow (in limited release) following its premiere tonight at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles, audiences are bound to marvel at what EW’s Owen Gleiberman calls the “beautiful gravitas” of Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance as the 16th president of the United States. In truth, Day-Lewis’ singular dedication to his roles has long been a major part of his allure as an actor — and that’s as true for other actors as it is for audiences.
When Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in the midst of landing the part of Lincoln’s son Robert in the spring of 2011, he got a message from Day-Lewis confiding that the two-time Oscar winner had been hoping director Steven Spielberg would cast Gordon-Levitt in the role. ”He sent me a really sweet, generous text,” Gordon-Levitt says. “[It] was just an enormous honor for me because he’s kind of in a league of his own.” What Gordon-Levitt didn’t quite realize at the time, however, was that would be the last interaction he would have with Day-Lewis in the 21st century for several months.