‘I followed a woman off the train one day to see what it felt like to pursue someone like that...' The actors who LOVE or HATE method acting

' I don’t believe acting should be psychodrama...'
Method acting means a performer puts their heart, soul and mind into a role - even staying in character on set in order to inhabit the psyche of their alter ego. But it is an acting technique that divides Hollywood. Who is for it and who is against it? (©BANG Showbiz)
Will Poulter
Will Poulter, 30, is not a big fan of method acting, as he believes it can lead to unacceptable conduct on set. During a 2022 interview with The Independent, the ‘We’re the Millers’ actor said: “When it comes to an actor’s process, whatever that is, so long as it doesn’t infringe on other people’s and you’re being considerate, then fine. But if your process creates an inhospitable environment, then to me you’ve lost sight of what’s important. Method acting shouldn’t be used as an excuse for inappropriate behavior – and it definitely has.” (©BANG Showbiz)
John Malkovich
John Malkovich, 69, does not believe in changing his real-life habits to better understand his on-screen character. In an interview with Roger Ebert, the ‘Places in the Heart’ actor said: “I’m not a method actor. I don’t believe acting should be psychodrama. I look within myself and see what I can find to play the role with. If I’m playing a blind man, I don’t go around blindfolded for days. A lot of good actors would, but I don’t go in for that very much. I like to just make it up as I go along.” (©BANG Showbiz)
Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga, 37, and Salma Hayek, 56, shared the screen on 2021 drama ‘House of Gucci’, playing Patrizia Reggiani and Pina Auriemma, respectively. In an interview with Vogue that same year, both actresses talked about Gaga’s method acting. Salma - who described it as a “delicious madness" - said: “It’s very glamorous, very glitzy, and very few times I have seen that level of passion with an actor. It was a fascinating thing. She was magical. A genius.” As for the ‘Bad Romance’ hitmaker, she made it clear she is very serious about her work. Gaga said: “We were in between takes and Salma was like, ‘Oh, this method actor is over here. You know, she’s not talking to me right now.’ Because I was doing sense memory work next to her, and she was making fun of me while I was sitting there doing it. And I didn’t even laugh. When the scene was over, I flipped at her and I said, ‘You’re ridiculous!’ and I started laughing and I kissed her. It was a wonderful set, but I’m very serious when I work.” (©BANG Showbiz)
Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron, 47, tried method acting once, but it didn't work for her. In 2020, she told the Los Angeles Times: “I can’t do the method thing. I did it once, for ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and I was just exhausted. It was really hard to go to those deep, dark places because I was so tired. It was good for me to figure this out, and I am much better now at understanding and living and breathing in the moment with the character.” (©BANG Showbiz)
Nicolas Cage
Many of Cage’s movie performances, such as in ‘Leaving Las Vegas’, ‘Con Air’ and ‘Face/Off have been acclaimed. Is his success related to his method acting technique? In 2022, the 59-year-old star revealed to Insider that he has taken a shamanism-based approach to his acting. He said: “Shamans were really actors that were just going through stories in the village and trying to bring answers to whatever the crisis was in the village. The process itself is about: How do you augment your imagination in a healthy way? So that you can believe you're these characters. You don't feel like you're acting, you feel like you're being." (©BANG Showbiz)
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson, 74, believes the secret to a great performance is being happy on set and in a role. In a 2022 interview with Collider, he said: "I’ve done all that stuff before I get to work. I know the emotional place that I need to go to, to get something done. Sometimes, it takes other people longer to get there, and maybe I am imposing my will on them by making them laugh at the end of a scene like that, or not investing in their emotional output, but that’s just who I am. "I want them to have a good time. Sometimes, when you’re working with people who invest like that, it doesn’t feel like they’re having a good time, to me. It’s a job of playing make-believe. You do it effectively and you do it in a way that’s not harmful to you because it’s a safe space. You’re supposed to be able to safely come into this space, work and give emotionally, and not be harmed by it." (©BANG Showbiz)
Mads Mikkelsen
Mads Mikkelsen, 57, is prepared to learn new skills for his roles but he has never gone full method actor. Speaking to GQ in 2022, he said: "Preparation, you can take into insanity. What if it’s a s*** film – what do you think you achieved? Am I impressed that you didn’t drop character? You should have dropped it from the beginning! How do you prepare for a serial killer? You gonna spend two years checking it out? I would have the time of my life, just breaking down the character constantly. […] It’s just pretentious.” (©BANG Showbiz)
Jamie Dornan
As part of his preparation for his role as Peter Paul Spector in 'The Fall’, Jamie Dornan went to extreme measures to understand the psyche of his murderous alter ego. In a 2015 interview with the Los Angeles Times, the 40-year-old actor revealed: “I followed a woman off the train one day to see what it felt like to pursue someone like that. I followed her around a couple of street corners, and then was like, 'What are you doing?' It felt kind of exciting, in a really sort of dirty way. I’m sort of not proud of myself. But I do honestly think I learned something from it, because I’ve obviously never done any of that. It was intriguing and interesting to enter that process of ‘what are you following her for?’ and ‘what are you trying to find out?’” (©BANG Showbiz)
Jake Gyllenhaal
In 2022, Jake Gyllenhaal, 42, revealed on ‘Saturday Night Live’ that in the beginning of his career, he used to think that method acting would make him successful. The ‘Guilty’ star said: "Honestly, I wasn't even that good at method acting. I remember for this movie ‘Nightcrawler’, I went to the director, and I was like, 'Get ready for me to lose 48 pounds and win the Oscar.' And then a week later, I was like, 'How would you like to see an actor lose 36 pounds and win the Golden Globe?' And then I showed up on set, and I was like, 'You're looking at a guy who gained 10 pounds and doesn't care about awards!' That's when I realized something I should have realized a long time ago - acting is a really stupid job. It's pretend! And it's fun, and it should be filled with joy. Well, I'm finally embracing that joy again, and that's why I'm back standing on this stage!" (©BANG Showbiz)
Robert Pattinson
Robert Pattinson, 36, played Thomas in the 2019 film ‘The Lighthouse’, a man who tries to keep his sanity while living on a remote island. In a 2019 conversation with Jennifer Lopez for Variety’s ‘Actors on Actors’ segment, Pattinson revealed how he prepared for the mentally taxing role. He said: “We’d do these completely wild scenes, and then literally after a take you’d be exhausted. It’s kind of cathartic. I don’t know how you’d be able to bring the part home. It would be impossible. I always say about people who do method acting, you only ever see people do the method when they’re playing an a**hole. You never see someone being lovely to everyone while they’re really deep in character.” (©BANG Showbiz)

Method acting means a performer puts their heart, soul and mind into a role - even staying in character on set in order to inhabit the psyche of their alter ego.
But it is an acting technique that divides Hollywood.
Who is for it and who is against it?