Method acting is quite popular these days. Every time you hear about a slightly dark character, everybody and their mother writes a puff piece about the lengths the actors playing them went to. But not everybody is a fan of method acting. Some, as a matter of fact, have very strong opinions against it.
1. Will Smith
The Oscar winner has admitted to being a method actor during the early part of his illustrious career. He’s openly spoken about how he would forget who Will Smith was during the making of Six Degrees of Separation. But the role took such a toll on him that he quit method acting altogether.
I don’t do method acting anymore, because when that psychological ground falls out it’s horrendous.
2. Martin Freeman
The Fargo actor is one of the finest actors of this generation. But he is not a fan of method acting, calling it a highly impractical way of doing the job. In a podcast on Off Menu, Freeman had said:
A highly impractical way of working, which is why I think it belongs more to the student and academic side than the practical ability side…
He was also critical of how Jim Carrey used to take it too far during Man on The Moon, and considered himself a ‘get the job done’ actor.
3. John Malkovich
Malkovich is a legend of the industry and he has never been one to mince words.
I’m not a Method actor. I don’t believe acting should be psychodrama. I look within myself and see what I can find to play the role with. If I’m playing a blind man, I don’t go around blindfolded for days. A lot of good actors would, but I don’t go in for that very much. I like to just make it up as I go along.
4. Claire Danes
The Romeo & Juliet actress has been in the business of playing characters on screen since she was a child. She believes being too involved with the character can make your personal life too difficult.
If I took my characters home with me, half of my life would be a misery, I think. No, I tend to compartmentalize work from my life. I’m not terribly Method.
5. Chalize Theron
Theron who won an Oscar for her performance in 2003’s Monster for playing the role of Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer told reporters that her method acting days were long gone. She also said that the whole process was tiresome and took up too much of her time.
It was good for me to figure this out, and I am much better now at understanding and living and breathing at the moment with the character.
6. Robert Pattinson
While Pattinson has said that he respects the process of method acting, he doesn’t feel too inclined to try it for himself. He also famously said this:
I always say about people who do method acting, you only ever see people do the method when they’re playing an a**hole. You never see someone being lovely to everyone while they’re really deep in character.
7. Jon Bernthal
Bernthal is known for playing some of the most damaged and dark characters written. Be it The Punisher or The Walking Dead or Fury, Bernthal has garnered a lot of praise for the way he handled these roles. But he just doesn’t like method acting. In a recent interview, he said that the concept has been abused by actors.
These conversations are difficult for me, honestly, because every actor has a process. Having studied in Moscow at the Moscow Art Theater, I guarantee you that making everybody call you by your character name and not showering for eight months was not what Stanislavski had in mind with the method… This idea of method acting where [writer-director] George [Pelecanos] was only allowed to call me Wayne, I don’t roll like that. I don’t see any benefit in that.
8. Robert Carlyle
The Full Monty actor admits to being a bit ‘method-y’ when he was younger and calls himself stupid for indulging in the behaviour. He says that you don’t have to murder someone to play a murderer.
Years and years ago, I was a bit more method-y. Every actor has got their own methods, but back in the day when I was younger and a bit more stupid, I thought I had to do this to really feel it: You have to become this thing … But of course, you don’t have to kill someone in order to know what it’s like to be a murderer! Eventually, as you get older, you leave all that behind.
They all make great points. Look, whatever works for you is probably the best way to have this conversation but then again, if you go around gifting dead mice to your co-stars to stay in character, you are just begging to get punched in the throat.