Jared leto as Morbius

Mads Mikkelsen, Will Poulter Speak Out Against ‘Method Acting’ Excuses for Inappropriate Behavior

And they're right to

Will Poulter and Mads Mikkelsen are just two of the recent wave of actors to talk about Method acting in the wake of Jared Leto yet again making news for his nonsense on the set of Morbius. Yes, Jared Leto apparently went “Method” for Morbius.

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In a new interview with The Independent, Poulter was asked about Method acting and he said that he wasn’t really down for it.

“For me, that hasn’t been necessary. On Detroit, my African-American colleagues —- who my character was responsible for brutalizing —- and I were all very much unified in that challenge, and we got to know each other and hung out,” he said in response, before going on to talk about the disruption that Method acting has been causing.

“When it comes to an actor’s process, whatever that is,” Poulter said, “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.”

Poulter joins the ranks of Mads Mikkelsen, who said this about Method acting: “It’s bullshit. But preparation, you can take into insanity. What if it’s a shit 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?”

Is what Jared Leto is doing even Method?

So Jared Leto has been doing this “Method” thing for a while. Most recently, he pulled his technique on the set of Morbius. He forced the set into a bit of a time crunch when he was committed to walking around on crutches to stay in character (Michael Morbius has a rare blood disease that requires him to use crutches) and then pushed it further to use them even when he was going to the restroom. The waste of time from this then forced them to make a deal with Leto that he would be pushed around in a wheelchair in order to save some time.

This is honestly a minor offense compared to his antics on the set of Suicide Squad back in 2016 that included sending a rat to Margot Robbie and a dead hog to Viola Davis. These are not the actions of a Method actor but, instead, someone who is taking themselves way too seriously and terrorizing those he’s working with.

What I will say is this: I studied acting. I have a performance theatre degree. I studied Stanislavski just as I did Meisner and the acting techniques they developed, and while I do not necessarily see the merit of Method acting and the practices therein, what actors like Jared Leto are doing is very different from what Stanislavski’s Method teaches anyway. Maybe the techniques have shifted throughout the years and turned into more of what Leto does, taking extreme, unnecessary actions with the excuse of “staying in character,” but if that’s the case, then there’s something that needs to be addressed in the art, because Method acting shouldn’t cut actors off from each other in the way that it does with Leto.

Outside of that, I still don’t fully understand why Method acting has become such a big thing. As a student of Meisner, we’re taught to connect with the emotions of our characters by using memories from our own lives and connections to make it feel more real to us (essentially). I find that a much more honest and deeper connection to a character than whatever people like Leto are doing on sets.

Is all Method Acting bad?

I’m sure there are perks to Method acting. As someone who preferred the Meisner technique and the skills therein, I got why some liked Stanislavski because his teachings did inspire the lessons of Meisner, so it’s not like I don’t see any value in it for the overall art of acting. What I would say is that what we now are considering Method Acting isn’t the same thing that was in books like An Actor Prepares.

And maybe that’s just the evolution of the Method and that’s fine, but acting is a collaborative art form. What people like Leto are doing, even if it were acceptable behavior, is essentially character work, and they expect the other actors to work with them/around their work, and that, to me, is not what acting is about. It’s listening, reacting, engaging, and creating a piece of art together. Not doing the absolute MOST so that you can try to take home an award.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.