'Lincoln' stars radiate heat on a cold Dublin day


A red carpet led them into the Savoy. Here’s Spielberg and Field. And there’s Daniel Day-Lewis

If you had one question to ask actor Daniel Day-Lewis, what would it be? The man who has won two Oscars, who is tipped for his third, and who rarely gives interviews, would take one question from The Irish Times yesterday at the premiere of Lincoln. This is what the slightly scary people from Fox movies told the assembled press in a briefing yesterday afternoon, as we squashed up at the end of the red carpet that ran from the Gresham Hotel through the sleet of O’Connell Street into the Savoy Cinema.

Forty-five minutes, which is how long it took the trio of Hollywood superstars – Day-Lewis, director Steven Spielberg and actor Sally Field – to arrive in the cinema foyer, is a very long time to fret about asking one question.

Premiere and props

“Mr Day-Lewis, how did you persuade Steven Spielberg to come to freezing-cold Dublin in January for the premiere, and to give you props from the movie to auction?”

“Daniel, how much are you hoping the charity auction at the Burlington Hotel later tonight will raise for the Wicklow Hospice?”

“Dan, um, could I have your number, please?”

Some 900 members of the public paid €160 a head to attend the premiere of Lincoln, which also covered a free spin in a double-decker bus to the Burlington Hotel, dinner in the same ballroom as very famous people indeed, and the chance to bid on auction items that included key props from the movie. From 2.30pm onwards, they gathered in their ballgowns and black ties in the bar of the Gresham Hotel, for the 4pm start to the movie. Meanwhile, back at the red carpet, well-known Irish people were starting their walk into the cinema.

Minister for Health James Reilly was laughing quite hard at something. Bono arrived with his wife, Ali Hewson, on his arm. He wasn’t laughing. The Edge was wearing his trademark beanie. Chris de Burgh said that he’d be singing later. Rosanna Davison was wearing black lace. Norah Casey arrived with chef Richard Corrigan.

John McColgan, Noel Pearson, Paul McGuinness, Neil Jordan and Ray D’Arcy were among others who strode along the carpet.

When Sally Field, who plays Lincoln’s wife, arrived, she was temporarily upstaged when posing for pictures by Shane MacGowan. MacGowan must have got lost while walking from the Gresham, as the filmstars were scheduled to arrive last. He gestured to photographers, doing interesting things with the fingers of his right hand.

President Michael D Higgins, who was there with his wife, Sabina, paused to say that he’d had a chat with Spielberg earlier about the film industry. “He’s told me he’s recommended Ireland again and again as a location.”

Spielberg and Ireland

The absurdly famous Spielberg, when not good-naturedly signing DVDs of Jaws or random pieces of paper thrust at him by starstruck reporters, said he needed “no persuasion” to come to Ireland for the premiere. As for filming in Ireland, “well, it worked out for me”, he quipped, referring to winning an Oscar as director of Saving Private Ryan, part of which was shot in Co Wexford.

Finally, Daniel Day-Lewis himself arrived, edging his way towards the very end of the carpet. He was asked what he thought his chances of a third Oscar were. “It doesn’t seem important,” he said modestly. His shoes were very, very shiny.

It was my turn. His eyes were very, very piercing: “Where do you keep your Oscars?” “I’m afraid I’ll have to skirt around that one,” was the answer.