Will Smith Quit 'Dangerous' Method after Falling in Love with His Co-Star Because of It
Method acting, though efficient, is a questionable and even dangerous practice, and Will Smith learned it the hard way: following his character, he fell in love with his co-star.
Method acting is one of the most ambiguous acting practices, and performers are thoroughly divided on it. Some claim that it’s risky, uncomfortable for others, and even morally questionable; others religiously use it and pull off brilliant performances by virtually rewiring their brains to become possessed by their on-screen characters.
There are too many stories about Hollywood A-listers taking method acting too far and hurting themselves in the process or making their colleagues’ lives insufferable. While there are examples like Christian Bale, an incredibly efficient and phenomenal pure-method actor, for many others, the method doesn’t work out well.
Early in his career, Will Smith was toying around with the method — but after he basically rewired his brain into falling in love with his Six Degrees of Separation co-star and couldn’t shake off this feeling even off-screen, he realized that it was too dangerous and decided to quit it altogether. This happened back in 1993.
“I got a taste early of the dangers of going too far for a character. My character was in love with Stockard Channing’s character. And I actually fell in love with Stockard Channing,” Smith shared with Esquire.
This wasn’t an exaggeration, and the Men in Black star was sure that those weren’t his own feelings — he just messed with his own head so much that his character’s feelings translated into his life, and he found it hard to shake them off fully.
“So the movie was over and I went home, and I was dying to see Stockard. I was like, ‘Oh no! What have I done?!’ That was my last experience with method acting, where you’re reprogramming your mind. You’re actually playing around with your psychology. You teach yourself to like things and to dislike things,” explained the actor.
After Six Degrees of Separation, Will Smith never touched the method again even though his performance in the movie received overwhelming critical acclaim. Admittedly, the Stockard case was too much for him, and Smith decided that his future acting feats would only be achieved by conventional practices.