MOVIE NEWS – Stranger Things star David Harbour recently called method acting “dangerous” and “stupid”, a sentiment shared by other actors.
Actor David Harbour, best known for his role as Sheriff Hopper in the Netflix series Stranger Things, has become the latest star to criticise method acting (also known as the Stanislavsky Method). Although method acting has been around for a long time, it has only recently received much publicity. Actors such as Morbius star Jared Leto have come in for a lot of criticism for their antics on set and their approach to method acting, which many have found unnecessary or overdone. Now Stranger Things actor Harbour has explained why he finds the practice problematic.
“When I was younger – it’s so embarrassing – but I remember playing that famous Scottish king and being like, ‘I’m gonna kill a cat’ or something..”
“‘I’m gonna go murder something to know what it feels like to murder.’ I didn’t actually do it, obviously,” Harbour said in a recent interview with GQ. “Not only is that stuff silly, it’s dangerous, and it actually doesn’t produce good work.” Harbour also cited actor Daniel Day-Lewis as an example, saying, “He’s an extraordinary actor who I’m captivated and fascinated by [but] when he explains his process it sounds like nonsense to me.”
It has become increasingly common to hear actors criticised for exaggerated method acting – sometimes perhaps just used as an excuse for inappropriate behaviour. Leto, in particular, has come in for heavy criticism after stories began to circulate about his behaviour on the set of the first Suicide Squad film, in which he played DC Comics villain Joker. These stories included outlandish things like bringing a dead pig to the set and sending used condoms to his co-stars in the post.
Recently, it was claimed that Leto caused extended delays on the set of Morbius because he insisted on always using his character’s crutches, and that bathroom breaks were pushed to 45 minutes.
Despite the actor’s commitment to the role of Dr Michael Morbius, the film performed poorly both critically and at the box office.
Although these are the most extreme examples of method acting, the technique is still used by many other performers and has been around for many years. In fact, actors who do not practice method acting have always been critical of the technique. Legendary actor Sir Laurence Olivier famously questioned Dustin Hoffman’s devotion to his role in the 1976 thriller Marathon Man. When Hoffman confessed the effort he had put into his character, Olivier replied, “My dear boy, why don’t you just try acting?”
Stranger Things season 4 is now available on Netflix.