The last time Daniel Day-Lewis walked away from film acting in the late nineties it was to learn woodworking and shoemaking, apprenticing himself to an Italian shoemaker.
There is no hint at what he will be doing in his retirement this time around, his announcement as mysterious as it is sudden.
Perhaps it is simply that he wants to enjoy family time at his home in rural County Wicklow in Ireland. He's not saying anything, and when he retreats, he retreats.
It is fitting that his last film, due out at the end of the year, reunites him with director Paul Thomas Anderson, with whom he made the epic There Will Be Blood (2007).
At that time, he told me how much he loved working with the director, and when I told him I'd watched the film the night before, he grabbed my hand and laughingly told me he was sorry and hoped that I'd gotten over it!
I knew what he meant. The intensity of his performance as a crazed oil baron in that film rightly won him one of his record-breaking three Oscars.
At times it has seemed as if he had already retired. He famously leaves long gaps of many years between his roles, then reappears to staggering effect.
Perhaps he has had enough of immersing himself in every role - from Christy Brown to Lincoln his name is synonymous, and always will be, with dedication to his art.
When he quit Hamlet in 1989, walking off stage mid-performance, it was a hint of how tortuous he finds his profession, despite winning many accolades.
And so we await his final film in which he plays a fashion designer in 1950s London. You just know he learned how to make clothes in the run up to filming this for Anderson.
Martin Scorsese famously brought Day-Lewis back to acting when he had stepped away to learn shoemaking in Florence, offering him a role in Gangs of New York (2002).
So perhaps, perhaps, the door hasn't closed completely on this unique actor.
I really hope someone else can tempt him back in the future. I won't be holding my breath.