A Shoemaker’s Acting Début in “Phantom Thread” by Rebecca Mead (The New Yorker)
“Much has been made of the announcement by Daniel Day-Lewis, last summer, that “Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s psychological/sartorial drama, set in nineteen-fifties London, marks his retirement from acting. Less has been made—indeed, it would be fair to say that almost nothing has been made—of the fact that “Phantom Thread” also marks the cinematic début of George Glasgow, a bespoke shoemaker and nascent character actor.
Viewers of the film who have managed to tear their eyes away from Day-Lewis—he has won three Academy Awards for Best Actor, and is nominated again, for his performance as Reynolds Woodcock, a fastidious couturier—may have noticed Glasgow, who appears in two scenes in his role as Nigel Cheddar-Goode. In the first, he is seated in a brasserie, bow-tied and mustachioed, dining with Day-Lewis and his co-stars (Vicky Krieps, who plays Woodcock’s muse, Alma, and Lesley Manville, who plays his sister, Cyril) and muttering about horse racing in a distinctive London accent. The second time, he appears as the best man at the wedding of Woodcock and Alma, standing silently in the background as they take their fateful vows.
Illustration by Tom Bachtell
In his day job, Glasgow, who is sixty-six, is the co-owner of George Cleverley & Company, which crafts handmade shoes for bankers, hedge-funders, royals, sportsmen, and actors, including Day-Lewis. (Day-Lewis’s last—the beechwood form that is carved in the shape of his foot, upon which his shoes are made—dangles in a storeroom above the shop, in London, alongside the lasts of Charlie Watts, David Beckham, Jony Ive, and Kenneth Branagh.) A couple of years ago, when Glasgow was in New York to meet with clients, Day-Lewis invited him to lunch at Harry Cipriani, on Fifth Avenue. The men discussed the shoes that Day-Lewis was having made to wear as Woodcock—gorgeous, gleaming things, worn over socks of ecclesiastical purple—and Day-Lewis asked Glasgow about his life. The actor was delighted to hear that Glasgow was born in Pimlico: his own grandfather, Michael Balcon, was the head of the Ealing Studios, which made “Passport to Pimlico,” among many other celebrated film comedies…” Read full story here