Paul Thomas Anderson’s Beautiful Struggle: Trump, Retirement, and Death Made ‘Phantom Thread’ One of the Hardest Films of His Career

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Beautiful Struggle: Trump, Retirement, and Death Made ‘Phantom Thread’ One of the Hardest Films of His Career
It’s safe to say “Phantom Thread” was one of the most difficult production experiences of Paul Thomas Anderson’s career. He started shooting his ‘50s period drama on the day of the presidential inauguration; during the shoot, leading man Daniel Day-Lewis decided to the retire; and on the last day, Anderson learned that his longtime friend and mentor Jonathan Demme had died.

“The world was a very, very different place than it was when we started writing this story,” Anderson said, in a conversation from his room at the Crosby Hotel in New York. Recalling the start of the production, his voice became so soft it sounded as though it could break at any moment. “It didn’t make it easy to look at your country on fire, and you’re telling the story of a self-consumed egomaniac,” he said. “But that was the situation we were in.”

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