There’s been a chorus against method acting of late. Fantastic Beasts: The Secret of Dumbledore star Mads Mikkelsen called it “bullshit”, and now Will Poulter, soon to be part of the MCU, has spoken out on poor behaviour on-set.
Speaking to The Independent, Poulter drew a clear line underneath holding up production just because it’s part of how you stay in character. “When it comes to an actor’s process, whatever that is, so long as it doesn’t infringe on other people’s and you’re being considerate, then fine,” he says. “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.”
The merits of method acting have become a hot topic since reports of Jared Leto’s performance in Morbius. In the monster movie, Leto went as far as acting like he needed crutches or a wheelchair to get around, putting a delay on filming whenever he needed to use the bathroom.
It’s an extreme level of process that’s gotten people talking about what’s necessary to get a great performance. Some actors, like Daniel Day-Lewis, subscribe to staying in character all the time, getting deep into the story being told.
Day-Lewis has been in Paul Thomas Anderson‘s There Will Be Blood, and Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln, both regarded among the best movies of this century. Morbius has been been received less favourably (to put it mildly), raising the argument of what Leto’s behaviour achieved.
Nonetheless, Morbius director Daniel Espinosa believed Leto did what he needed to do. “If you want a completely normal person that does only things that you understand, then you’re in the wrong business,” he told UPROXX when asked about it. “Because what’s different is what makes them tick. It’s very hard to be able to say, ‘I can take this part away, and I will still get the same stuff from him’. I don’t do that. I’m more to say like, ‘Hey, if you’re doing this, we have to do this’.”
Morbius is in cinemas now. Poulter will be in the MCU‘s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, in theatres May 5, 2023.