In acting there are a lot of things that are controversial, but one of the main ones is the so-called method acting created by Konstantin Stanislavski. The method basically consists of a series of techniques to become the character. It is not only about interpreting it for a while but about doing things that allow you to understand the functioning of its psyche. This involves doing things like staying awake or fasting to know what it’s like to go through it.
In modern cinema an actor who is well known for doing this is Christian Bale. It’s the reason you prefer to dramatically gain or lose weight for a role. Of course, doing this can have consequences of some kind on the health or minds of the actors. The detractors of this method consider that it is best to keep the character restricted to the duration of the shooting of the movie or the editing of a play.
To the list of detractors of this technique we can now add Martin Freeman, as he revealed in an interview for Off Menu podcast (via IGN). The English actor criticized this type of performance, but considers that a particularly problematic example is the psychological effect that Jim Carrey had in trying to understand Andy Kaufman to play him in the film The Lunatic – 63%. Freeman was quite severe:
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To be honest, it’s a pain in the butt when ‘someone gets lost’. It is a massive pain in the rear because we are no longer talking about a job and a profession. For me, and I’m sure Jim Carrie is a nice and smart person, he was the most self-aggrandizing, selfish and narcissistic stupidity that I have ever seen. The idea that anything in our culture supports or celebrates that seems crazy to me, literally crazy. You have to keep anchored to reality and by that I don’t mean you don’t get lost in the time between ‘action’ and ‘cut’, but I think the rest of that is absolutely pretentious and highly amateurish nonsense. It is not professional. Do what is asked of you, do your job.
It should be remembered that Netflix recently released a documentary about Jim Carrey’s role in said film called Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – The Story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton – 100%. There we can see that Carrey he began to lose himself in character and affect the production of the film for the same. To much put your health at risk for a role is to make acting no longer a job, but rather become something pathological. If there are methods to get things done right without putting yourself at risk, I suppose there is no point in doing it. That is why for Freeman the whole thing is pure pretense more than anything else and a way to complicate the shooting of a movie. In general, the method is seen more as a way to complicate the lives of everyone involved in the making of a movie, especially if the actor in question plays a villain.
It must be said that he is not the only Englishman who thinks this way. A couple of years ago Robert Pattinson also criticized the method. In his case, he said that he believes that actors only use this technique to play horrible people, not to step into the shoes of a good person. In other words, he hinted that the actors use it as a pretext to act like jerks.
I’ve always said about method acting, you’ll only see people doing it when they’re playing a bastard. You’ll never see someone being nice to everyone and saying, ‘I’m really into my character.’
We can’t blame him for thinking like that considering that one of the most famous actors to use the method is Marlon Brando and he was definitely a jerk most of the time. What he did at El Último Tango in Paris – 79% is irrefutable proof of it.
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