Do you immediately think of Jared Leto when you hear the words "method acting"? This is about to change.
"Method acting" has become some sort of a boogeyman in the movie industry recently, with a lot of actors denouncing the practice as potentially dangerous and harmful – not just for actors but also for crew members and other people surrounding them.
However, at its core, method acting is merely a range of rehearsal techniques for actors, based on the system developed by Russian director and actor Konstantin Stanislavsky. It requires the actor to determine a "task" of his character and take actions in order to experience the feelings and emotions he has to show rather than merely trying to represent them.
That's why Andrew Garfield tried to convey to those who oppose the technique. According to the 'Spider-Man' and 'Tick Tick Boom' star, the system is deeply misunderstood by its critics.
"There [have] been a lot of misconceptions about what method acting is, I think," Garfield said in an interview on the podcast 'WTF with Marc Maron'. "People are still acting in that way, and it's not about being an a*** to everyone on set. It's actually just about living truthfully under imagined circumstances, and being really nice to the crew simultaneously, and being a normal human being, and being able to drop it when you need to and staying in it when you want to stay in it."
Himself, Garfield underwent fasting and celibate in order to prepare for the movie 'Silence', and he says it was a "wild, trippy" experience for him. However, the actor highlights that the process is very internal, and if someone acts out on set under the pretext of "method acting", they actually fail to do it right and only foster misconceptions.
"I don't think you know what method acting is if you're calling it bullshit, or you just worked with someone who claims to be a method actor who isn't actually acting the method at all," Garfield explained.
Among those who say they practice method acting are Christian Bale, Ann Hathaway, Robert De Niro, and – perhaps most famously – Jared Leto. The latter has gained notoriety after several reports that he acted weird and borderline dangerous during some of his times on set, with method acting being heavily associated with the incidents.
Perhaps one of the most famous stories about Leto and him taking method acting to some extremes is from the times of the first 'Suicide Squad' movie. At the time, Leto was reported to have given weird gifts to his colleagues on set – for instance, he gave a briefcase full of bullets to the actor who portrayed Deadshot. According to Leto himself, "it was kind of a threat, it was kind of a reminder". He, however, has claimed since that the stories were exaggerated by the media.