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Method Acting

I am always fascinated by behind the scenes stories I read about actors and actresses and their method techniques. Linda Hamilton getting into insane shape for Terminator 2, Robert DeNiro learning how to speak the Sicilian dialect of Italian for The Godfather Part II, and Christian Bale eating a can of tuna and a single apple a day for months to get down to 120 pounds for his role in The Machinist. On the other side of the method acting spectrum is when actors/actresses don’t break character throughout filming. Some examples: Tom Hanks in The Terminal, Val Kilmer in The Doors, and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, to name a few.

I recently watched an excellent documentary on Netflix called Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. It offers an inside look into Jim Carrey’s portrayal of his comedy idol Andy Kaufman in the 1999 film Man on the Moon. Carrey doesn’t appear to break character throughout the entire production. That includes when he wasn’t even on set. Carrey had his own camera crew document him and Universal barred the release of the footage… until now. Representatives from Universal proclaimed they ‘didn’t want people to think Jim Carrey was an asshole.’ It is a fascinating watch and offers a sneak peek into Carrey’s process.

Even if you haven’t seen the documentary, do you think some actors/actresses take method acting too far? I’ve been on a few sets where some actors/actresses don’t break character and I’ll say this; - it is a bit odd to be around. But if it helps them get into character and they are not putting themselves or anyone else in danger, then go right ahead. In Carrey’s case, his deep dive into becoming Kaufman was a mentally draining experience and it changed him forever.

What do you think? Are method acting techniques the mark of great actors/actresses?

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