What does Daniel Plainview tell Eli?
July 25, 2009 9:39 AM   Subscribe

What does Daniel Plainview tell Eli in There Will Be Blood?

What does Daniel Plainview say to Eli while shaking his hand after being baptised? It doesn't come up on the subtitles.

I've found a few pages asking the same question. This one has a short video of the moment.
posted by jakubsnm to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The script makes no mention of it - page 106.
posted by iconomy at 9:55 AM on July 25, 2009

It's not in the script, nor the soundtrack, nor the subtitles. It's left to your imagination or else it was just a bit of ad-libbing on the actors' part. My interpretation was Daniel was telling Eli off after allowing Eli to humiliate him.
posted by Nelson at 9:58 AM on July 25, 2009

I don't believe this question can be answered by anyone but Paul Thomas Anderson or the two actors. It's not in the screenplay draft that you link to and it's not in an earlier draft (January 2005) that I have. I suspect it was either a directorial decision or Daniel Day-Lewis staying in character and ad-libbing a threat as Daniel Plainview. I don't think there's enough there to do digital processing like the Lost In Translation whisper, so we may never know.
posted by sharkfu at 10:03 AM on July 25, 2009

Response by poster: Has anyone read the book? 560 pages...
posted by jakubsnm at 10:12 AM on July 25, 2009

jakubsnm: "Has anyone read the book? 560 pages..."

I haven't, but it's my understanding that the book Oil! and the movie are very different. The NY Times compares the two and says:

"Eli the evangelist, who is presented satirically and largely fades from view after the novel’s opening section, becomes Plainview’s primary antagonist, and a wholly unredeemed villain, in the film."
posted by sharkfu at 10:22 AM on July 25, 2009

Weird. I watched the movie for the first time last night. I noted the whisper but didn't think much of it.

Maybe he said "Beware the passions and works of Moses Bensinger."
posted by bz at 10:47 AM on July 25, 2009

I have read about half the book. The film isn’t a straight-forward adaptation at all. You definitely won’t find your answer in the book.
posted by ijoshua at 11:38 AM on July 25, 2009

Agreeing that only the two actors will be able to tell you for certain. There's a shot you could get an answer from DDL's publicist. Worth trying, anyway.

The first time I saw that scene, I expected to find out what he said later in the film, but I eventually forgot. On subsequent viewings, it was a "Hm." moment.

But no matter what the actual words were, I think that based on Eli's very very long reaction, it's some sort of threat or ominous prediction. I read it as Plainview either revealing his plans for the near-future, or otherwise proclaiming that "All right, now that I've done my part in your little theater exercise, here's what's going to happen."

Of course, it could have been as simple as "If you ever touch me again, I'll pound your skull into a nice, shiny hardwood floor."
posted by rokusan at 11:47 AM on July 25, 2009

Agreeing that only the two actors will be able to tell you for certain.

I'm reminded of what a soap opera actor once told me. "When they play ominous music, and zoom in on my face, so that you ask yourself what momentous thoughts are going through my mind, well, I don't know either."
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:07 PM on July 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

You want to know? I'll tell you... I'll tell you...
posted by maxpower at 5:09 PM on July 25, 2009

For your information, Dano and Lewis both did extensive promotional interviews in the Los Angeles Times and the LA Weekly. Lewis was uncharacteristically open in his interviews, I guess he was in a very good frame of mind after the film. Anyway, both of them discussed their dynamic and dialog. You may try looking at the interviews for a clue if you're into sleuthing. I remember Dano talking about the tension between them, how DiCaprio was put off of the part because he was too intimidated by Lewis. Dano talks about how the slap he delivers to Lewis was not scripted, and you can see the genuine surprise and ensuing rage between the two men. I think they are both tremendous actors, and both very willing to go deep into their portrayals.

You might also try imdb.com (Internet Movie Database). They have a list of memorable dialog and staging errors only a true geek of the film would find interesting.
posted by effluvia at 10:58 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

« Older Suggestions for pet-proof rugs   |   For 75 bucks they'd better serve liquid gold Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.