AS Daniel Day-Lewis celebrated his history-making third Oscar win on Sunday his good friend Phillip McCallen was making his way to the airport for a business trip and heard the news on the radio.
Motorcycling ace McCallen, from Co Armagh, can make a boast not many others in Northern Ireland can - he is a close acquaintance of the award-winning actor, and even has his mobile number.
It was over a shared love of motorcycling that they became good friends around five years ago. The Lincoln star - who is known to use method acting to get into and stay in character - popped into McCallen’s shop in Lisburn to buy a particular type of bike, and from there the two men kept in touch.
Since then they have shared biking trips, and meals, with Day Lewis making a point of contacting McCallen - who spent 17 years on the racing scene - if he is on a trip to Ireland.
“He’s a busy man,” the Tandragee man told the News Letter. “But if he is around he gets in touch and we catch up. He spends most of his time in America but comes back to his house in Wicklow sometimes too.”
McCallen encouraged the A-list actor to attend the North West 200 in 2011 and said he hopes he might return in the future when he has time.
“Every time he can come back to Ireland he does. He loves it here.”
And while he may be one of the best-known actors of his generation, Day-Lewis is very down-to-earth, said McCallen.
“He is a very nice man. We might go out for a meal and he may not get noticed, but if he does he is always happy to talk to people and have a picture taken. He has actually presented bikes to people in the shop here.”
And McCallen plans to get in touch with the star to congratulate him on yet another success.
“I sent him a message when he won the Bafta a wee while back, telling him he was on a roll,” he said. “And he replied saying he hoped it would continue - so now it has been topped off with him winning the third Oscar. I’ll get in touch to say congratulations again.”