Discussions of the merits and pitfalls of method acting, and attempts to define what it even is, have resurfaced recently. There was the high-profile Jeremy Strong piece, in which he discussed his technique for perfecting his Succession character Kendall Roy. Then there was Lady Gaga’s press tour for House of Gucci, which brought many revelations, including her “living” as the character for a year and a half.
One actor who we now know holds no sway with such processes is Mads Mikkelsen. He is the latest actor, after Colin Farell and Johnny Depp, to step into the shoes of Fantastic Beasts villain Grindelwald. It would probably be quite hard to method act your way into playing an evil wizard, so it’s probably for the best that he thinks it’s “bullshit.”
In a recent interview with GQ, Mikkelsen was asked about method acting for some reason. He immediately responded with; “It’s bullshit. 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!”
One of Mikkelsen’s most highly-acclaimed roles was as Hannibal Lector in Bryan Fuller’s TV series Hannibal; “How do you prepare for a serial killer? You gonna spend two years checking it out?”
When asked how he would cope on set if working with a dedicated method actor such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Mikkelsen responded; “I would have the time of my life, just breaking down the character constantly.” He puts on a prissy voice: “‘I’m having a cigarette? This is from 2020, it’s not from 1870 – can you live with it?’ It’s just pretentious. Daniel Day-Lewis is a great actor. But it’s got nothing to do with this.”
If you’re excited to see Mikkelsen in Fantastic Beasts 3, check out our interview with designers MinaLima.