WEIRDLAND: Method actors

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Method actors

"More than 100 Oscars have been won by Method actors, including the last two leading actor Oscars, which went to Daniel Day-Lewis and Forest Whitaker.

'Since 2000, around 75 per cent of Oscar winners have been Method actors', says Timoney.'So given that, Kate Winslet (who's been nominated five times before) is unlikely to win this year'.

'She puts in a good, solid performance but someone such as Meryl Streep is really in a different class – the training and system they go through in America tends to set them apart.'He also predicts a win for Mickey Rourke, 'although he's got tough competition against Sean Penn: both are Method actors'.

Despite such a good record, surprisingly few actors have adopted the technique.

According to Timoney: 'Only about one or two per cent of the acting industry actually use Method acting but if you look at who's in that group, it's usually all the top creative actors in Hollywood.'

He believes the approach is key to their success – and could be hindering the careers of British actors.

'It creates really in-depth, believable performances, which is exceptional acting. But in Britain they don't embrace it as much, which leaves them on the back foot because the Americans are leading the way with Oscar wins and performances.'

The Method, in which actors draw on their own experiences in portraying their characters, is derived from a system created by Konstantin Stanislavski and was popularised by Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York during the 1950s. [...]

He points to names such as Toby Kebbell, who went from small indie film Dead Man's Shoes:

to be cast opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince Of Persia, or Gerard Butler, a struggling actor until he moved to LA, who now commands up to £10million a picture. Hubbard denies there's a fundamental difference between the British and US approaches.

De Niro is so shy, it's hard to believe he plays these characters.

People who have big egos aren't able to suppress their own ego enough to play the character.

Great actors are not worried about how they're being perceived; it's more about playing the character truthfully".

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