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Andrew Garfield defends the “method acting”, this technique so controversial in Hollywood

Follower of the "method acting", Andrew Garfield defended it during his participation in a podcast. The method, which is to blend with his character, remains very controversial in Hollywood.

Do you remember the night that Leonardo Di Caprio spent in the carcass of an animal to prepare The Revenant? This is called "method acting". Also known as the Stanislavski System, this technique invented by a Russian drama teacher assumes a total assimilation of the character by the actor. In recent years, the method has been heavily criticized in Hollywood. But Andrew Garfield has decided to restore its reputation. The 39-year-old actor defended it on the microphone of the podcast WTF With Marc Maron, August 22, 2022. 

"It worked for me. It was an incredible spiritual experience," begins the star of The Amazing Spider-Man. In particular, he talks about the filming of Martin Scorsese's Silence, in which he plays a Jesuit priest. "I had created some real spiritual rituals for myself. It was so cool. I had grand and bizarre experiences starving myself and not having sex during that time," he confides. Garfield even admits that he is "annoyed by people who say this is a bad method". He says, "You can do it without being a jerk. You have to remain polite and respectful with the film crew, and of course know how to let go of the role when necessary."

A technique that pays off…

With "method acting", the actor or actress follows the same daily life as his or her character throughout the shooting, even when the camera is turned off. An effective and profitable method. When she shot Black Swan, Natalie Portman trained in classical dance for five hours a day, while following a very strict diet, explains the New York Times. A performance that earned her an Oscar for best actress in 2011. 

The same goes for Adrien Brody. The star actor of The Pianist practiced the instrument for several hours a day so that his performances are credible on screen, reports the Guardian. He also moved to Europe for the duration of the shoot, but also disconnected his phone and sold his car. Physically, he lost a lot of weight by following a special diet, to really blend in with the misery of the inhabitants of the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. He also walked away with a statuette at the 2003 Academy Awards.

…but potentially dangerous 

The technique has also revealed the shortcomings of some actors. The best known is Jared Leto. For example, he would have sent a rat by mail to Margot Robbie, while they were both shooting for Suicide Squad, in which they played the star-crossed lovers, the Joker and Harley Quinn. Another convincing example is that of Heath Ledger. Also playing Batman's worst enemy, the actor locked himself up for several months in a hotel room and banged his head on the walls during filming. He died of an overdose in 2008, a few months before the release of the film. 

Today, several leading Hollywood figures refuse to practice it. Among them, we find Mads Mikkelsen, David Harbour or Sebastian Stan who describes it as proof of "irresponsible and narcissistic" behavior, according to the Huffington Post. 

Written by Michael Zippo

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