In his role as the villainous gang leader, William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis)Â began his lengthy, self-disciplined process by taking lessons as an apprentice butcher, hiring a butcher from Peckham, south London to instruct him in carving up carcasses. He also hired circus performers to teach him to throw knives.Â While filming, he was never out of character between takes (including keeping his character’s New York accent).Â At one point during filming, having been diagnosed with pneumonia,Â he refused to wear a warmer coat or to take treatment because it was not in keeping with the period; however, he was eventually persuaded to seek medical treatment.Â His performance inÂ Gangs of New YorkÂ earned him his third Academy Award nomination and won him his second BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
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