Those passing by on the set were instructed to abuse him and throw cold water on him.
One technician, who has twice worked with Day-Lewis, said this week: "I have never known anything like it.
So obsessed is Day-Lewis with practising his new skills as a carpenter that he admitted, in a rare interview this week, that his nine-year-old son Ronan (the couple also have another boy, five-year-old Cashel) thought, until recently, that his father was not an actor but worked on a building site.
It resulted in him falling out with co-star Liam Neeson, who was furious that Day-Lewis insisted on addressing him by his character's name even when they met in the gym at their hotel. On the same film, he also refused to acknowledge Leonardo Di Caprio, who broke Day-Lewis's nose in one all-too-realistic fight scene.
Taking method acting to the extreme is very much a Day-Lewis hallmark.
Indeed, the film critic of the New York Times called the actor's latest chilling performance the greatest he had seen.
But the win comes as rumours circulate in Hollywood that one co-star quit the movie in disgust after branding Day-Lewis "crazy and intimidating".
As the lift doors slide open in the vast and suitably grand lobby of a Beverly Hills hotel, a tall, shambling figure steps incongruously into a Mêlée of designer-suited Hollywood dealmakers.