What is the method? (Definitions and examples)

Are all method actors crazy? Who are they and why do they act like that?

I think the first time many of us heard the term “method acting” was probably the result of the antics of some famous actors. I think of Jared Leto on the set of Suicide Squad or Daniel Day-Lewis, who stays in character for weeks as Bill the Butcher.

But method acting has actually been around for a long time. It is taught in many drama schools and is more than just a gimmick. It’s a habit that actors come into character with. It has a dark side – but more on that later.

This post today is about getting to know the methodology, the techniques, examples and the definition of style. We’ll talk about Lee Strasberg and even dive into the history a bit.

Are you ready or do you need to get into the character?

Let’s begin.

What is the method?

Method Acting is a systematic approach to training that focuses on the living material that an actor uses in their performance.

Let’s use the definition to explain further.

The Acting Definition method

Method acting is a technique used by actors to fully identify emotionally with the people they will be portraying. In practice, the actor “becomes” a role and often remains in the character for a longer period of time.

You are encouraged not to split up and fake feelings, but rather to make yourself feel the actual feelings you need in each scene. This can lead to changes in psyche and behavior as long as you live in the role.

Is the method dangerous?

There’s a fine line between pretending to feel a certain way in the movie and taking those emotions away. It can be difficult to come back to yourself afterward. There are also some methodological practices that actors regret later in life. If you do something to conflict with the psychology of your brain, there are always potentially bad results.

Once, James Franco wrote one Op-Ed in the New York Times on methodology and how it could be responsible for some actors’ erratic behavior.

Heath Ledger was a method actor who was taken from us far too soon. Research shows that fully immersed actors “forget themselves” in the sense of actively ignoring facts about who they are, temporarily subordinating their own thoughts and feelings to those of their character.

Chloe Sevigny has said of their notorious method performance in The brown rabbit“It happened. I wish I had the confidence I had now. I was insecure. Everyone says,” What do you regret? “And I know they want me to tell The brown rabbitbut i won’t. ”

If you are an actor, be careful and look carefully at what you think could add to your performance.

When Tom Hanks did Missing, It wasn’t a complete method, but he got some kind of diabetes because his weight fluctuated for the role.

The practice of the method of acting in and of yourself is not dangerous, but it can easily go wrong.

Who invented the method of action?

Called “The Method,” it was developed in New York in the 1930s and 1940s by members of the Group Theater, including Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner and Stella Adler.

It was based on Stanislavski’s system, the one Approach to training actor The Konstantin Stanislavski developed. His system focused on what he calls the “art of experiencing”.

Method acting history

As the method grew in popularity, you saw actors take it from the stage to Hollywood. Institutions like the Actors’ Studio in New York City are linked to actors like Marlon Brando and Dustin Hoffman who have used the method. James Dean and other classic film actors too.

If you want to learn how to act methodically, it is different today from the time it was developed and it has moved in different directions. A lot of actors these days are actually using part of the method to embody what’s going on. Great emphasis is placed on developing the actor’s entire instrument, body, voice, life experiences and impulses of the actor in order to inform how to behave and what characters to create.

Still, some actors take it to the extreme.

Jared Leto’s famous method as a joker

Playing the Joker is similar to playing Hamlet. So many famous actors want to get into the role now because it often leads to Academy Awards or other nominations. It may have taken Heath Ledger away from us far too soon, and it certainly leaves its mark on the men who try to inhabit this character.

During Leto’s stint as the Joker, he went on the full method and became, in a disturbing way, the Clown Prince of Crime were not welcomed by the actors. That included staying in character talking to Will Smith, giving Margot Robbie a pet rat, and sending everyone in the cast anal beads.

In one (n Interview with E! newsLeto said he also sent used condoms to everyone in the cast.

“I’ve done a lot of things to create a momentum, an element of surprise, spontaneity and really breaking down all kinds of walls that could be there,” Leto said. “The Joker is someone who doesn’t really respect things like personal space or boundaries.”


During a performance on Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast, Leto was asked about the term “method actor”. He said, “I appreciate the term, I think it’s a little cloudy, the definition. And it could also be very challenging. “

He continued, “I felt it was my job to show up and do the best job I can. It’s my job to show up, do whatever I can to be over-prepared. And deliver. It’s also my job to show up and work with me. And to be cooperative and have good experiences on the set. “

Leto continued, “There are a few, very few characters that you play that have absolutely no rules, you know you could just go to town.”

What are some examples of methodological action?

Famous method actors can be found all over Hollywood. Now that you understand the process of acting in this way, let’s look at some famous examples of methods of acting in film.

I think we should start with the man, myth and legend Daniel Day-Lewis. While you may have heard of his performance as Lincoln, where the crew weren’t allowed to talk about current affairs and he stayed in character the entire time, you may not know what method role it all started with.

My left foot was the story of a paraplegic painter and writer named Christy Bown. brown had cerebral palsy and could only write or type with the toes of one foot. When it came time to make the movie about Brown’s life, Day-Lewis … stepped into the role. He stayed in character between takes.

This meant that the crew members had to feed the temporarily paraplegic man. And when it came time to send correspondence from the set, he tried tapping with his toes. And he taught himself how to properly place a record on a turntable with your toes.

It was worth it, as the actor won his first Oscar for the performance.

Another way actors go about it is through body modifications. Like the one Robert De Niro did it for Wild bull or Christian Bale did for The mechanic.

De Niro won £ 60 for his role as Jake LaMotta, saying: “I was beginning to realize what a fat man goes through … You get rashes on your legs. Your legs scrape together. ”

Many on the set were concerned about De Niro’s breathing difficulties and health. The same goes in reverse for Bale, who lost 65 pounds for four months on a strict diet of water, coffee, and an apple a day. That was very dangerous!

When Forrest Whitaker took on the role of dictator Idi Amin, he actually moved to Uganda to see how people talked. He even learned to speak fluent Swahili and spent time with Amin’s close friends and family to master the character’s mannerisms. What we got was an incredible achievement that even Ugandans who hated their dictator described as scary and accurate.

While many men are known for being methodical, they are nowhere near the only ones who do it. Charlize Theron used methodological techniques for the film monster. She gained 30 pounds for the role and was heavily made up to transform her into someone unrecognizable.

How Roger Ebert say it: “What Charlize Theron reached in Patty Jenkins’ monster is not an achievement, but an embodiment. With courage, art and charity, she empathizes with Aileen Wuornos, a damaged woman who has committed seven murders. She doesn’t apologize for the murders. She simply asks that we witness the woman’s last desperate attempt to be a better person than her fate intended. “

Natalie Portman also uses the method for her appearances. But she is also familiar with the dangers and says that while she was out Black Swan, She was afraid she might die. She lost 20 pounds on the roll and basically just ate carrots and almonds and spent eight hours a day on rehearsals.

“There were a few nights when I thought I was literally going to die,” she said Weekly entertainment. “It was the first time I understood how you can get involved in a role that kind of brings you down.”

Summary method acting in Hollywood

When an actor uses a method, you can get some of the best results in film, but there is a fine line between doing crazy acting and just acting. The method performances grew with the stage on the screen and gave us some legends, but you have to ask yourself whether too deep roles have taken some away from us or made sets and films so unbearable that people have been injured.

If you have method stories, add them in the comments. I would love to hear more from actors who are safely using this training.

Also let us know your preferred application of the method in film history.

Until next time…

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