Martin Freeman railed against “pretentious” Hollywood method acting in a recent appearance on the “Off Menu” podcast (via Uproxx and The Telegraph), noting British actors often prefer just to “get on with it and get it done.” The “Sherlock” and “The Hobbit” star said method acting is “a highly impractical way of working, which is why I think it belongs more to the student and academic side than the practical ability side.”
“To be honest, it’s quite a pain in the [ass] when someone ‘loses themselves,'” Freeman added. “It is a massive pain in the [ass] because it’s no longer a craft and a job.”
Freeman pointed to Jim Carrey’s method acting during the making of Miloš Forman’s 1999 Andy Kaufman biographical drama “Man on the Moon” as an example of the downsides of the approach. As documented in the non-fiction feature “Jim and Andy,” Carrey took method acting to polarizing extremes on set that affected both the crew and Carrey’s own sense of self.
“For me, and I’m genuinely sure Jim Carrey is a lovely and smart person, but it was the most self-aggrandizing, selfish, narcissistic fucking bollocks I have ever seen,” Freeman said of Carrey’s “Man on the Moon” method acting. “The idea that anything in our culture would celebrate or support it is deranged, literally deranged.”
Freeman added, “You need to keep grounded in reality, and that’s not to say you don’t lose yourself in the time between ‘action’ and ‘cut’, but I think the rest of it is absolute pretentious nonsense and highly amateurish. It is not professional. Get the job done, do your work.”
Jared Leto, who, like Carrey, has also utilized some polarizing Method acting techniques, weighed in earlier this year on the rumors that he is an extreme Method actor. “I appreciate the term, I think it’s a little cloudy, the definition,” he said. “And it, it could also be really pretentious as well. I was thinking of it as my job to show up and do the best work that I can. It’s my job to show up, do whatever I can, to be over-prepared. And to deliver. It’s also my job to show up and, you know, be a pleasure to work with. And, and, and, and to be collaborative, and to have a good experience on set.”