“Midsommar” star Will Poulter weighed in on the recent debate over method acting.
The “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” actor underwent weight training and dieting to transform into his character Adam Warlock, who, as Marvel stated, is “genetically engineered by scientists to be the perfect being.”
Yet Poulter told The Independent UK that “mental and physical health has to be number one, and the aesthetic goals have to be secondary” when it comes to changing for a role. And that boundary also includes not taking a character too literally by way of method acting.
“For me, that hasn’t been necessary,” Poulter said, reflecting on his career. “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.”
Poulter continued, “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. 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.”
Fellow Marvel alum Jake Gyllenhaal mocked method acting during his opening monologue for “Saturday Night Live” April 9.
“Honestly, I wasn’t even that good at method acting,” the Oscar nominee said. “I remember for this movie ‘Nightcrawler,’ I went to the director and I was like, ‘Get ready for me to lose 48 pounds and win the Oscar.’ And then a week later I was like, ‘How would you like to see an actor lose 36 pounds and win the Golden Globe?’ And then I showed up on set and I was like, ‘You’re looking at a guy who gained 10 pounds and doesn’t care about awards!'”
Gyllenhaal explained that method acting made him forget “how to have fun,” and he realized that “acting is a really stupid job” in general. “It’s pretend! And it’s fun and it should be filled with joy,” the “Spider-Man: Far From Home” star added. “Well, I’m finally embracing that joy again, and that’s why I’m back standing on this stage!”
“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” star Mads Mikkelsen also recently called method acting “bullshit,” especially when tactics reach the level of “insanity.”
“What if it’s a shit film — what do you think you achieved?” Mikkelsen said in a GQ interview. “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?”
The “Casino Royale” villain continued of the “pretentious” practice, “The media goes, ‘Oh my god, he took it so seriously, therefore he must be fantastic; let’s give him an award.’ Then that’s the talk, and everybody knows about it, and it becomes a thing.”