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Daniel Day-Lewis either still uses a flip phone or is researching a character from 2006

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images)

Those of you keeping track of obscure trivia regarding probably-former actor Daniel Day-Lewis need to jot down a few more notes next to your bullet points about his apparent love of reality TV. It turns out the beloved star of 2017's Actual Best Picture, Phantom Thread, immerses himself in bygone eras not just while preparing for film roles, but when using a phone, too.

In a welcome news flash from writer Karen Han, Day-Lewis was seen riding the subway, man of the people that he is, and T9-ing away on a flip phone like a Norman Rockwell painting of mid-2000s city living made flesh.


While it may be fun to speculate what Day-Lewis was talking about with a friend (probably sharing Borat clips), we should remember that this is not the first time the world has learned that the very successful, presumably wealthy celebrity is still rocking technology that hasn’t been cutting edge since the last years of the Bush Jr. presidency.

In an interview with Time Out, Phantom Thread director Paul Thomas Anderson spoke about discussing story ideas with Day-Lewis over text before filming began. When asked if the actor used emojis during this process, Anderson responded, “no, he’s got a fucking flip phone” and that, delightfully, “he’s still going ‘J-K-L’, typing three letters to get to the ‘L’.”

Daniel Day-Lewis’s phone may look outdated, but his continued use of the relic suggests there may be something the rest of us are missing in our blind allegiance to tech trends. Obviously a man of refined aesthetics, Day-Lewis undoubtedly knows that there are things we’ve lost in our rush toward the future of mobile communication—the slow, considered composition involved with spending five minutes texting “OK, see u at 9,” the greater news article absorption that comes from scrolling down tiny squares of text on a one-inch screen, and, most of all, the immense satisfaction that comes from ending a call with the snap of plastic keyboard meeting plastic screen. In reminding us of these forgotten pleasures, Day-Lewis shows that, whether acting or not, we have so much to learn from him.


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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.