In person, in interviews and on the screen, inhabiting the characters by which he’s become the world’s most celebrated actor, Daniel gives the impression of an uncanny interiority. It fills us with admiration, and it makes us nervous; it’s the origin, most likely, of our obsessive and alarmed interest in his method, in his legendary discipline and effort. The power and grace of Daniel’s performances seem to emanate from something he’s made contact with, deep within, intensely private and specific to his experience but also mysteriously universal.
There’s something in the innermost human heart that our greatest artists connect to and, in making that connection, manage to sublime — the process of causing a substance or a quality to take to the air, to infuse the atmosphere and then to condense, to solidify, attaining greater palpability through the impalpable.
Daniel carries his talents and achievements modestly, charmingly and generously. Like the President he brought to life in Lincoln, he’s a deep-sea creature who’s unexpectedly approachable and thoroughly delightful company. He’s a concerned and active world citizen, a spectacular husband and father. But when Daniel acts, he makes the physical metaphysical, and vice versa. He’s an actor-creator whose performances aren’t just great — they’re essential.
Kushner is a Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright and screenwriter
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