Many actors say that even if they are playing an out-and-out villain, they cannot completely hate them. They need to find something in the character to sympathize, or even empathize with, or they find them impossible to play. But there is one character that Marlon Brando reportedly detested, to the extent that playing him affected him negatively.
Marlon Brando’s breakout role was as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. It was only his second ever film role, and it was the one that immediately made Hollywood sit up and take notice that they had a preternaturally talented young actor on their hands. Brando was Oscar nominated for Lead Actor for the role as a brutish bully of a man, opposite Vivien Leigh as Stanley’s sister-in-law Blanche DuBois.
Brando became a sex symbol after playing the role, which he couldn’t understand due to the abusive nature of the character. In his autobiography, he said that he based Stanley on; “inarticulate, aggressive animals who go through life responding to nothing but their urges and never doubting them.”
Although he didn’t like being associated with the character of Stanley Kowalski, Brando managed to become highly regarded for his other roles, such as in The Wild One (1953) and On the Waterfront (1954). The next period of his career for which he received the most accolades was the 1970s – which included The Godfather, the controversial Last Tango in Paris, Superman, and one of the best war movies – Apocalypse Now.
Brando remained a difficult figure throughout his career, and was frequently a nightmare to work with – leading to disastrous productions such as The Island of Dr. Moreau. But this has not diminished his reputation as one of the best actors of all time.
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