Daniel plays Guido Contini, a film director who is struggling with creative and personal issues while balancing the women in his life in the new adaptation of the Tony Award-winning 1982 Broadway production.
"Everyone is the same: You see people lurking in the shadows on any given day having a little private crisis of their own," says Daniel, acknowledging his own experiences similar to Guido's dilemma."Everyone goes through that where you really feel out on a limb. You wonder if you've arrived at the place you need to be at to achieve just a little bit of truth, which is all you're after, and I think everyone goes through that."
The women in Guido's life include his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his film star muse (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), the prostitute from his youth (Fergie) and his mother (Sophia Loren).
"She's always gorgeous beyond belief and utterly charming," says Daniel of film star "goddess"Sophia. "I saw all her films [again and] I was reminded time and time again of just what a magnificent actress she is and that was a real joy to see those films."
As for Kate, who pulls off a knockout performance, Daniel says, "She worked so hard. … Kate had an extremely demanding number. … To have to be able to sing and dance in that way at the same time is tough beyond belief, and she was just wonderful."
Daniel calls Nicole's character "the vital piece" of the puzzle because she's "the inspiration that [Guido] is struggling to find as he's engaged in the process of making a film. He's in a wasteland of his own making, and I can conjure … my muse for a few moments, but I can't get her to be that thing that I need her to be, which is the key that opens the door into that world that I'm trying to find."