In this article, we'll dive deep on Method Acting – what it is, how to use it, where it came from, and even some stories of famous method actors who went too far.
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Method Acting is one of the most well-known film acting techniques, perhaps because it's so controversial. It was developed by Lee Strasberg and had influences from Konstantin Stanislavski, Robert Lewis, Stella Adler, and Sanford Meisner.
Also called "The Method," Method Acting is an acting technique that creates performances so realistic and incredible that members of the audience often completely lose themselves in the world of the character.
Method Actors live the life of the character they're playing not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. They first rid themselves of all their personal thoughts and worries, and then completely immerse themselves in the mind of the character by thinking as the character would think, feeling as they would feel, and responding as the character would.
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Some Additional Q&A
What is Method Acting vs. Character Acting?
Method Acting is an acting technique, whereas Character Acting is less of a technique and more of a style of character you play. Character actors typically play eccentric, funny, or weird characters that are very unique. An actor can play those characters using Method Acting Technique if they wish, or they can use Meisner Technique, or any other technique. Character Acting is not a technique in and of itself.
What is Method Acting vs. Natural Acting?
Method Acting is a form of Natural Acting. Natural Acting is simply a way to perform that works especially well for film, where you're not trying to "show" or "indicate" your emotions to the audience. Method Acting is one way to do it, as is Meisner Technique. Classical Acting on the other hand is not usually considered Natural Acting. In Classical Acting, you're meant to "act out" your emotions so the audience (who is often around 20-50 feet away, depending on the size of a theater) can see what's happening.
What is the Difference Between Acting and Method Acting?
The main difference between regular acting and Method Acting is the way in which emotions are drawn to the surface. In regular acting, actors take control of their subconscious mind and bring emotions to the surface by reacting instinctually to what's happening in the scene. In Method Acting, the actor imagines a past experience, re-experiences the sensations of the memory, and the necessary emotions will rise to the surface unconsciously.
What is an Example of Method Acting?
There are plenty of examples of actors who went deep into character to prepare for roles and give truly authentic performances. For more examples beyond those presented in this article, try Googling things like "method acting Joker," "Heath Ledger method acting," or "Jim Carrey method acting." You can also try searching, "method acting movies" and watch some scenes on YouTube.
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