Methodology Acting, or the Methodology, is a respected and reviled practise depending on who you ask. Simply put, it’s an approach to acting in which the actor tries to “grow into” the character they’ll be portraying. Whatever it takes, from smoking thousands of dollars worth of cigars to eating a live cockroach (like Nicolas Cage did in Vampire’s Kiss), is fair game (like Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour).
Although actors like Daniel Day-Lewis and Marlon Brando have shown that the Methodology works, not all actors are fans of the technique. Several famous people have spoken out against the system and its frequent misuse, including Mads Mikkelsen and Robert Pattinson.
Narcissism and Self-indulgence, According to Sebastian Stan
Sebastian Stan, who is widely recognised for his portrayal of the Winter Soldier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has recently risen to prominence for his role as Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee in the Hulu series Pam & Tommy. Despite Stan’s disbelief, the Technique had nothing to do with his change. Stan said on the In the Envelope podcast, “I don’t see myself creating chaos for the sake of [acting]. He criticised “irresponsible, narcissistic, self-indulgent factors” like actors who use chaos to create artificial pressure in scenes.
“It’s Just Pretentious,” Says Mads Mikkelsen
This year has been a busy one for Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, who has appeared in several films, including Doctor Strange, Rogue One, and most recently, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. GQ Magazine sought Mikkelsen’s opinion on the technique appearing, and he responded categorically, “It is bull***t.” He was critical of his fellow actors who stayed in character at all times, suggesting that their method is ineffective and uninspiring. He does his best to get into character, but he doesn’t see the point in going the extra mile.
Everybody’s Got Their Method,” Laurence Olivier says
Famous for his portrayals in films like “Marathon Man” and “Rebecca,” among others, Laurence Olivier was one of the most lauded actors of the twentieth century. His approach was as refined as one might expect, and he didn’t think much of the Methodology beyond its utilitarian value. The legend goes that Dustin Hoffman (a way actor) stayed up for three days straight while filming Marathon Man to play a sleep-deprived character. Following this, Olivier is said to have responded, “My dear boy, why don’t you just try appearing?” “.
According to Charlize Theron, it Exhausted her
Before this, Charlize Theron had tried the Methodology in films like The Devil’s Advocate and Monster (for which she won an Oscar), but she said it was too taxing to maintain her energy levels. In contrast, Theron thinks it’s a good thing that she realised method acting wasn’t for her because it’s allowed her to devote more time and energy to her characters, allowing herself to “dwell and breathe within the moment” with them. She found that the Methodology was so draining that she was unable to focus on the meat of her responsibilities.
According to Robert Pattinson, “They Only Use It When They Have An A-Gap”
In an interview with Jennifer Lopez for Variety’s Actors on Actors series, Robert Pattinson made fun of the Methodology, saying that actors only use it “when they’re having fun with an a-hole.” Pattinson made it abundantly clear that he has no interest in pursuing technique appearing by explaining why he finds it so unappealing. The actor told Lopez that he would go crazy if he had to do another job like the one he did at The Lighthouse if he had to stay in character.
Spencer Tracy says, “I’m Too Proficient to Care” because he is confident in his abilities
Famous American actor Spencer Tracy was lauded for his adaptability and realism. For his roles in Captains Brave (1938) and Boys City (1939), he became the first actor to win two consecutive acting Oscars. The young people keep telling me I should do this new technique, but I’m too old, too tired, and too skilled to care what they think,” he is reported to have said. Given that his career was one of the most prolific of any actor of his time, he was within his rights to make such a boast.
The book “An Excuse for Inappropriate Behaviour” by Will Poulter
Well-known actor Will Poulter (The Maze Runner, Midsommar) recently talked to The Independent UK about his rigorous weight loss programme and extensive gym time in preparation for his role as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. He was not happy with Methodology and made that clear throughout the interview.
Poulter argued that barring any harm to third parties, any choice an actor makes is acceptable. He firmly asserted, “The mere fact that a certain methodology exists as an explanation for bad habits is not acceptable, and yet it has been used as such.” His talk centred on how crucial it is for the success of any film to have a warm and welcoming set to work in during production.
John Cassavetes, “Another Kind of Psychotherapy Than Appearing”
The actor and director John Cassavetes, known for his roles in films like The Soiled Dozen and A Lady Underneath the Affect, was vocal about his dislike of technique acting.
What John Cassavetes’s “Opening Night” Teaches Us About Decoding Films
Cassavetes the artist criticised the Methodology in his autobiography Cassavetes on Cassavetes, calling it “lazy,” “narcissistic,” and “insipid,” and even claiming that it produced “dangerous” performances. Cassavetes argues that actors should relax into their roles and have fun instead of taking themselves too seriously. Just showing up must bring him great pleasure.
This is No Longer a Profession or Hobby, as Martin Freeman Puts It
British actor Martin Freeman, who has appeared in Sherlock and films like The Hobbit trilogy, disapproves of technique actors. Over on the Off Menu podcast, he gave the topic a cursory nod. Because an actor losing themselves in a role reduces the value of appearing as a craft, Freeman considers technique acting to be far more amateurish and “tutorial” than sensible. He criticised “aggrandizing, egocentric, and narcissistic” acting in movies like Man on the Moon starring Jim Carrey.
“Utter Wankery,” as Toni Collette Puts It
During an interview with David Poland, renowned Australian actress Toni Collette discussed her gut instincts when auditioning and offered some thoughts on technique acting. To put it bluntly, they were ineffective. She responded, “I think that’s a bunch of bulls***,” when asked if she keeps her characters with her during filming. She thinks that actors need to take pieces of their characters into their minds when researching their roles, but that doing so in an obvious way is rude.