Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic tale of mad oil man Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) turns 10 this year. I thought it would be a good idea to try to blow some minds with facts about the film.
1. Anderson wrote the role of Daniel Plainview with Daniel Day-Lewis in mind. He had always wanted to work with the famed actor and heard that Day-Lewis enjoyed his Punch-Drunk Love. This led to Anderson giving Day-Lewis an incomplete script and you can see that it worked.
2. The famous “I drink your milkshake” line was paraphrased from the following remarks by Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico:
The oil is underground, and it is going to be drilled and come up. Here is a giant reservoir underground. Just like a curved straw, you put it underground and maneuver it, and the ‘milk shake’ is way over there, and your little child wants the milk shake, and they sit over here in their bedroom where they are feeling ill, and they just gobble it up from way down in the kitchen, where you don’t even have to move the Mix Master that made the ice cream for them. You don’t have to take it up to the bedroom. This describes the actual drilling that is taking place.
3. Day-Lewis, well-known for being a method actor, listened to audio of the late 19th century to 1927. He also listened to director John Huston and watched the film The Treasure of Sierra Madre from 1948. He also listened to oral histories from the movie’s time period.
4. Day-Lewis improvised this speech:
5. The film is based on the book Oil! by Upton Sinclair, but only the first 150 pages. The rest of the film was imagined by Anderson. Anderson would later refer to the book as “having a really good collaborator.”
6. No Country For Old Men was shooting near There Will Be Blood. Anderson and crew tested the oil derrick fire setup and caused a huge billowing of thick, oily smoke. Joel and Ethan Coen had to delay the filming of No Country until the smoke got out of their shot.
7. There is no dialogue in the movie until nearly five minutes in. Another ten minutes elapses before a conversation actually occurs. Had the original script been followed closely, Day-Lewis claims it would have been half an hour before any speaking occurred. Anderson hopes to one day write an entire movie free of dialogue and thinks of the beginning of There Will Be Blood as a start.
8. The young boy that played Plainview’s son (Dillon Freasier) was not an actor. He was just a kid at a local elementary near the film’s location. Freasier’s mom watched Gangs of New York to learn about Day-Lewis and, not realizing how acting works, was afraid for her son to spend time with The Butcher. The casting department of There Will Be Blood then sent her The Age of Innocence so she could rest easy.
9. This was the first film of Anderson’s that didn’t feature Philip Seymour Hoffman.
10. The fake oil in the movie was a concoction that included McDonald’s chocolate milkshake base.
Sources: Wikipedia, IMDB