4 Stupidest Things Actors Have Done In The Name Of Method Acting
The great Brian Cox called Method acting the "American disease," and the man can't seem to say a lot of wrong things these days. What started out as an interesting approach to Konstantin Stanislavsky's original ideas on interpreting and embodying a character has swiftly evolved into a practice of just being a giant douche and getting away with it because "I'm so Method." Honestly, the whole Method thing is starting to sound like a drug addiction. Or an opioid addiction, to be more specific, simply because that's very American, too.
Imagine the reasoning behind Method acting — the practice of exploring the inner workings of a character to understand their motivations and emotions — being used in any other job. Imagine trying to understand your boss better by eating everything he eats and pooping in the same stall at work. As someone who studied acting and did a lot of stage character work, I can tell you (although I suspect you already know) that it really isn't necessary to subscribe to the dumb extremes you're about to read on this list. All any actor needs is a working imagination, keen observation skills, and a good dose of empathy. An actor's job is to strike a balance between objectivity and subjectivity. Focusing only on the former results in a wooden performance that nobody buys. Falling only for the latter is basically all Method actors and as convoluted as Shia LaBeouf's entire brand ...
Jared Leto Had To Be Wheeled To The Bathroom On The Set Of Morbius
Oh, Jared. It was inevitable that you'd be on this list. The guy has become more famous for his Method acting than for his actual roles. Who can even remember which movie Leto won an Oscar for? It's challenging when there's that memory of him sending used condoms to his Suicide Squid castmates still fresh in our minds, and the memory of that time he drank pints of ice cream, soy sauce, and olive oil to pick up weight for a movie nobody saw.
It's kind of sad that a guy with so much potential had to end up being Method acting's most annoying red flag. For Morbius, Leto had to figure out how to play a guy bound to crutches because apparently, that is quite an anomaly. Sure, most people would simply grab those crutches, do the scene like a person with health problems, and be done with it. But most people are uninspiring plebs who reek of mediocrity! Not Leto, not the guy who once got so addicted to losing body fat for Requiem for a Dream that he couldn't stop.
To become Michael Morbius, sufferer of some rare blood disease (for, like, 20 minutes of the movie), Leto insisted on walking around with those crutches at all times during the production. He even limped slowly to and from the bathroom, making bathroom breaks uncomfortably long. Imagine everyone just standing around on set, waiting for Leto to pretend-limp back on set after just dropping a fat deuce.
Again, most people here would go, "Okay, I can ditch the crutches for this. After all, I'm the one who needs to tinkle, not my character." But oh, not Leto, you guys. Not the man who once sent Viola Davis some bullets because he was being Joker 24/7. No, his solution to this problem was simple: Someone — not him — had to push his butt to the bathroom in a wheelchair because how his character could even stay upright on a crutch seemed to have been Morbius's real superpower all along.
Perhaps he took inspiration from Daniel Day-Lewis, who spent all his time in a wheelchair while filming his Oscar-winning performance in My Left Foot. Only, putting Morbius and an Oscar in the same sentence is as ridiculous as Leto's reasoning.
Speaking of Day-Lewis …
Daniel Day-Lewis Caught Pneumonia Because Apparently, They Didn't Wear Coats In The 1800s
Listen, Daniel Day-Lewis is a good actor. We know that. Who doesn't get chills just thinking about what he did with the character Bill the Butcher?
Gnarly. It's just too bad that the man also needs to subscribe to the Acting Cult of Extremities and do all kinds of bizarre things to get into and portray a character. In preparation for In the Name of the Father, the actor lost 50 pounds and spent two days in solitary confinement without food and water to get a feel of what some inmates go through. For Lincoln, he insisted everyone call him "Mr. President," presumably living out a life-long fantasy.
But it was during the filming of Gangs of New York that things got out of hand when Day-Lewis decided he would rather freeze to death than wear a coat that couldn't possibly exist in the 19th century. He was so stubbornly and stupidly adamant not to wear a warmer coat between takes that the man caught pneumonia — all in the Name of the Method, Amen.
DDL even admits this, stating, "And I will admit that I went mad, totally mad ... He (Bill the Butcher) was a bit of a punk, a marvelous character and a joy to be – but not so good for my physical or mental health."
Choi Min-sik Ate An Entire Living Octopus In Oldboy (Four Times)
Usually, when given an option to just not eat a live animal, most people absolutely go for that option. Only most people, though, and not everyone, as actors love showing us from time to time. Nicolas Cage famously ate a live cockroach while filming Vampire's Kiss. Wait, no, he ate two because they had to film the scene twice. Isn't acting fun?
Then there's Choi Min-sik, the Korean actor you might know from I Saw The Devil, Lucy, and the movie where he ate a very much alive squid:
It's a lot, and it only gets worse when you know that they shot that scene four times … meaning yes, that all happened four goddamn times. The whole event gets an extra layer of facepalm when you learn that actor Min-sik is both a Buddhist and a vegetarian. Yeah, eating an animal in such a cruel way is supposed to be very much against his whole vibe, and yet he convinced himself to go ahead and do it. Four times. Apparently, no one told him that cinema is magic, and a slightly different camera angle could've created the illusion just fine.
But it's all good, folks, because Min-sik made sure to pray and apologize every time he ripped a squid's head off.
Ashton Kutcher Ate Only Fruit, Ending With A Hospital Trip, To Be More Like Steve Jobs
Why would anyone think that eating the same food as a person will make you understand their motivations and emotions better? Okay, maybe their emotional state if it's someone who lives on, say, a McDonald's diet, but also good luck with that diabetes and depression you'll probably give yourself, all because of The Method. Also, do people really not know how vastly different every human body is? Apparently not. Or at least, no one told Ashton Kutcher that.
For his role as Steve Jobs in the universally panned movie Jobs, Kutcher decided he'd try the late Apple Bro's famous "fruitarian diet," which is made up of fruit, nuts, seeds, and grains. It's basically granola and fruit salad for every meal, or — as Kutcher did it — lots and lots of carrot juice.
Skip forward to the part where Kutcher had to be rushed to the hospital and be diagnosed with pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas). Sure, there are many factors that could lead to such a diagnosis, but it's also true that a high concentration of certain micronutrients in the system can lead to toxicity in the human body, and Kutcher going on such a dumb diet without consulting a health practitioner was, well, just embarrassingly irresponsible.
But you know, maybe I'm wrong, and we're all wrong, and Kutcher couldn't possibly play Jobs without all that carrot juice. Maybe that's true.
Zanandi is on Twitter.
Top Image: Sony Pictures Releasing