Method acting is a process that has its share of supporters and detractors. While actors like Marlon Brando, Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, and Daniel Day-Lewis have used the process to give us some iconic performances over the years, other notable names like Brian Cox, David Harbour, and Mads Mikkelsen have labelled it as “dangerous” and even “pretentious”.
In a recent appearance on the podcast
WTF with Marc Maron, actor Andrew Garfield opened up about his ideas on method acting. He said that people who criticize the process do not know much about it in the first place. The actor, who used method acting during the filming of Martin Scorsese’s 2016 film Silence, said, “There [have] been a lot of misconceptions about what method acting is.” He went on to add, “People are still acting in that way, and it’s not about being an a**hole to everyone on set. It’s actually just about living truthfully under imagined circumstances, and being really nice to the crew simultaneously”.
Garfield is of the opinion that the actor who practices method acting can drop the character and again pick it up as and when required. During his preparation for Silence, the actor studied under Jesuit writer Father James Martin, conducted extensive research on Catholicism, fasted, and even adopted celibacy for a six-month period. Regarding this preparation, Garfield said, “I had some pretty wild, trippy experiences from starving myself of sex and food at that time.”
Garfield also spoke of his experience during a screen test he had to do alongside Ryan Gosling in 2005. Regarding Gosling’s approach to his craft and how it felt to share a scene with him, Garfield said, “There was a zen quality to it, but it was like being in a scene with a wild animal where you don’t know whether he was going to kiss you or kill you. And you hook into that, and you’re like ‘Oh, I want to follow whatever that is.’”
The actor was on the podcast to promote Under the Banner of Heaven, an FX series.