Published: 14:45, 16 April 2014 |
Updated: 15:48, 16 April 2014
The Hollywood icon honed his fighting skills at Creekside Boxing, in Quay Lane, in preparation for the role - which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for best actor.
Boxing club boss Ian Fleckney kept the story under wraps for almost 20 years, even turning down thousands of pounds from national newspapers keen to get a snap of the movie star sparring.
And it was Ian himself who showed Day-Lewis the ropes in 1995, shortly after the actor had split from French actress Isabelle Adjani and finished filming The Crucible.
The tale began with a call from his friend and former world champion Barry McGuigan.
Ian said: "I got this phone call from Barry and he just asked me if I'd be able to move about with a bloke who hadn't done anything before.
"He came along, we moved around, and then later on that day I got another phone call asking for me to do it again.
"Every time I moved around with him, he had improved and you could see that he had picked up another facet of the game..." - boxing club boss Ian Fleckney
"It wasn't a problem. Barry asked me if I recognised the guy. Of course I recognised him, but I didn't say anything because obviously he had his reasons. He was just introduced to me as Danny."
Day-Lewis, who has won three Oscars for best actor, would drive to the town on his motorbike and stay with McGuigan at his home in Dargate, just outside Faversham.
He and Ian would spar at Creekside to prepare him for fight scenes in The Boxer, which was nominated for three Golden Globes.
Day-Lewis is famed for his method acting and staying in character, and Ian believes this is what he was trying to achieve with his training in Faversham.
Ian added: "He got better and better at boxing as each session went on.
"Every time I moved around with him, he had improved and you could see that he had picked up another facet of the game. He was a funny bloke.
"Obviously the more we moved around together, it became quite intense. As you try different things, as he got better, it became more serious, but yeah, we got on."
Keen to get the full story of Day-Lewis' recent break-up, The Sun offered Ian thousands of pounds to access the club.
But McGuigan had asked Ian to "keep it under his hat" – and that is exactly what he did.
He said: "Every child that walks through that door is a star to me. They're all stars. He was a man that wanted to do something. He asked for privacy. He had privacy.
"It's a matter of if someone asks you something, it doesn't matter if he's a star. He asked me for the privacy and I did as he asked.
"Everyone could do with a couple of thousand pounds, but if you haven't got your word, what have you got?"
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