Already thinking about the 85th annual Academy Awards? Well first, that is just sad; and second, let me sum the coming awards onslaught up in a single word: Lincoln!
Best picture: Lincoln; best director: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln; best actor: Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln.
Only two people in history have had more written about them than our 16th president: Jesus Christ and William Shakespeare. I cannot think of a film that has had more written about it than this year’s Abraham Lincoln biopic. Likewise, Daniel Day-Lewis has seen more press and acclaim for his short body of work than any actor in recent history. He inhabits a role often spending a full year getting into character. Day-Lewis is 55 and has only a handful of starring roles because of his intense approach to preparation.
In honor of Day-Lewis’ coming pile of trophies for Lincoln, I give you five roles I wish he would play:
5. Roy Orbison
I am a huge fan of Orbison’s work. His vocals are unmatched in the pop rock music pantheon. Few people bother to develop the range that he possessed.
Orbison was also a dark, reclusive person, always hidden just below the surface or behind his ever present dark sunglasses. Roy Orbison has yet to receive the biopic treatment; many of his Sun Records cohorts already have. Though Day-Lewis is already two years older than Orbison was when he died in 1988, I think he could pull it off.
4. The Saint/Simon Templar
Please, if you have not already, try to forget Val Kilmer and the 1997 flop of an action romance that was The Saint.
The Saint was a master of disguise and a quick thinking con man who could create an identity out of thin air. He walked the line between hero, spy, sleuth, and criminal.
3. The Shadow/Lamont Cranston
A very flawed Shadow feature film was made in 1994 starring Alec Baldwin. The character of the Shadow reaches all the way back to 1931 and has been said to have helped influence the character background of Batman. The Shadow has the power to cloud men’s minds; he can make them see things that aren’t there, and he can make himself appear invisible.
Think of this as the opportunity to see an understated superhero flick; less explosions and more cerebral warfare. Day-Lewis could do for the superhero genre what Gary Oldman did for the secret agent.
2. Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer was played most notably by Stacy Keach in the TV series of same name. Micky Spillane’s private investigator has seen no shortage of screen time. Hammer is a tough, sarcastic lady killer.
Film noir is in need of a savior, and I can think of none better than Day-Lewis to rescue it…along with any damsels in distress that show up along the way. Adding depth to this forgotten genre is certain to bring about more Oscar gold.
1. Fighting Jack Churchill
Probably the best forgotten hero of WW2 is the eccentric Jack Churchill. The British soldier was known to charge into battle carrying a claymore (Scottish broad sword) and was the only person in that conflict to kill an enemy combatant with a bow and arrows. Churchill, who was no relation to the Prime Minister, often played a song on the bagpipes before charging into battle.
If Day-Lewis were ever to make a WW2 picture, he would need the outsider perspective of a character like Jack Churchill. This could be the one action film that would make sense for such a fine actor.