‘Something I Had to do.’ Daniel Day-Lewis Explains Why He Quit Acting

2 minute read

When Daniel Day-Lewis announced his retirement from acting earlier this year, many were left with questions regarding the sudden news. Now, thanks to a recent interview with W, there are finally some answers from the man himself.

“Before making the film, I didn’t know I was going to stop acting,” Day-Lewis said in the interview, referring to his forthcoming drama, Phantom Thread. “I do know that Paul [Thomas Anderson] and I laughed a lot before we made the movie. And then we stopped laughing because we were both overwhelmed by a sense of sadness. That took us by surprise: We didn’t realize what we had given birth to. It was hard to live with. And still is.”

The interview also revealed that Day-Lewis hasn’t seen Phantom Thread, and has no plans to do so. “I haven’t figured it out,” he said of why he decided to retire. “But it’s settled on me, and it’s just there. Not wanting to see the film is connected to the decision I’ve made to stop working as an actor. But it’s not why the sadness came to stay. That happened during the telling of the story, and I don’t really know why.”

The three-time Oscar winner also explained why he chose to publicly announce his retirement. “I knew it was uncharacteristic to put out a statement,” Day-Lewis said. “But I did want to draw a line. I didn’t want to get sucked back into another project. All my life, I’ve mouthed off about how I should stop acting, and I don’t know why it was different this time, but the impulse to quit took root in me, and that became a compulsion. It was something I had to do.”

Check out the trailer for Phantom Thread above. The film arrives in theaters on Christmas Day.

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com