Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

12 Actors Who've Done Verrrrrrrry Questionable Things Because Of Method Acting And 13 Who Have Spoken Out Against It

I'm sorry, but I just can't justify sending dead pigs to castmates!!!

1. Hates method acting: Sebastian Stan

Sebastian Stan

Sebastian recently shared with Backstage's In the Envelope podcast, that he's not a fan of method acting and prefers using his own approach. He said, "I don't believe in creating chaos for the purposes of [acting]," Sebastian explained. "And I know actors do that a lot. There's a lot of people that do that ... create sort of chaos on set or chaos in the other people they're working with, in order to somehow give the scene this tension or whatever. But to me, that just reads like a very irresponsible, narcissistic, kind of self-indulgent thing. It just reads like: 'I'm afraid, and I just want to torture everyone else because of it.'"

Stills of Sebastian Stan in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "The Devil All the Time," and "Pam & Tommy."

2. Loves method acting: Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage

In an interview with Insider, he explained that he has his own approach to method acting called "nouveau shamanism. Shamans were really actors that were just going through stories in the village and trying to bring answers to whatever the crisis was in the village. The process itself is about: How do you augment your imagination in a healthy way? So that you can believe you're these characters. You don't feel like you're acting, you feel like you're being."

Stills of Nicolas Cage in "Moonstruck," "National Treasure," and "Mandy."

3. Hates method acting: Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson

In an interview with Collider, Samuel explained what his process is like: "I’ve done all that stuff before I get to work. I know the emotional place that I need to go to, to get something done. Sometimes, it takes other people longer to get there, and maybe I am imposing my will on them by making them laugh at the end of a scene like that, or not investing in their emotional output, but that’s just who I am. I want them to have a good time. Sometimes, when you’re working with people who invest like that, it doesn’t feel like they’re having a good time, to me. It’s a job of playing make-believe. You do it effectively and you do it in a way that’s not harmful to you because it’s a safe space. You’re supposed to be able to safely come into this space, work and give emotionally, and not be harmed by it."

4. Loves method acting: Hilary Swank

Hilary Swank

For Boys Don't Cry, Hilary tried to "pass as a boy" by cutting her hair, binding her breasts, speaking in a lower register, and putting socks down the front of her pants while she prepared to play trans man Brandon Teena. Hilary went on to win an Oscar for her performance in the film, but in 2020, she said she felt a trans actor "would obviously be a lot more right for the role."

5. Hates method acting: Will Poulter

Will told the Independent that method acting has not been "necessary" for his roles. He explained, “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.”

Stills of Will Poulter in "War Machine," "The Little Stranger," and "Dopesick."

6. Loves method acting: Jared Leto

Jared Leto

Jared is known for going over the top with his method acting by faking a limp off-screen and forcing crew members to push him around in a wheelchair while filming Morbius. He also sent rats, a dead pig, used condoms, and porn to his Suicide Squad castmates. He explained, "I did a lot of things to create a dynamic, to create an element of surprise, of spontaneity, and to really break down any kind of walls that may be there."

7. Hates method acting: Mads Mikkelsen

Mads Mikkelsen

Mads told GQ, “It’s bullshit. 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! How do you prepare for a serial killer? You gonna spend two years checking it out? It’s just pretentious. 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.”

Stills of Mads Mikkelsen in "Clash of the Titans," "Doctor Strange," and "Chaos Walking."

8. Loves method acting: Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

She told British Vogue, "I lived as [Patrizia] for a year and a half. And I spoke with an accent for nine months of that [off camera]. I never broke. I stayed with her." She added that she even experienced "psychological difficulty" after filming ended. "I remember when we started filming, I knew I had become — and I knew that the greater challenge was going to be unbecoming."

Stills of Lady Gaga as Patrizia in "House of Gucci."

9. Hates method acting: Will Smith

Will Smith

In his book, Will, he explains the time he tried method acting and why he'll never do it again. He said, "With Six Degrees of Separation, I got a taste early of the dangers of going too far for a character. My character was in love with Stockard Channing's character. And I actually fell in love with Stockard Channing. So the movie was over, and I went home, and I was dying to see Stockard. I was like, 'Oh no! What have I done?' That was my last experience with method acting, where you're reprogramming your mind. You're actually playing around with your psychology. You teach yourself to like things and to dislike things. It is a really dangerous place when you get good at it. But once I had that experience, I was like, 'No more method acting.' For Six Degrees, I wanted to perform well so badly that I was spending six and seven and eight days in character before shooting, and you have to be careful with that."

Stills of Will Smith from "I Am Legend," "Bright," and "King Richard."

10. Loves method acting: Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan

To prepare for his role on The Fall, Jamie Dornan actually stalked a woman he saw on the train. He said, "I followed a woman off the train one day to see what it felt like to pursue someone like that," he explained. "I followed her around a couple of street corners, and then was like, 'What are you doing?' It felt kind of exciting, in a really sort of dirty way. I’m sort of not proud of myself. But I do honestly think I learned something from it, because I’ve obviously never done any of that. It was intriguing and interesting to enter that process of ‘what are you following her for?’ and ‘what are you trying to find out?’”

Stills of Jamie Dornan in "The Fall."

11. Hates method acting: Martin Freeman

On the Off Menu podcast, Martin said that Jim Carrey's behavior on the Man on the Moon set was the "most self-aggrandizing, selfish, narcissistic f*cking bollocks I have ever seen. … When younger, I think it’s quite common to think that completely losing yourself is the goal because it feels grown-up and it feels proper. But the older I’ve got, the more I don’t really look to that. To be honest, it’s quite a pain in the arse when someone ‘loses themselves.’ It is a massive pain in the arse because it’s no longer a craft and a job. The idea that anything in our culture would celebrate or support it is deranged, literally deranged,” he said. “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.”

Stills of Martin Freeman in "Nightwatching," "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," and "Cargo."

12. Loves method acting: Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis

He is famously known for going above and beyond for his roles, which have included him refusing to get out of his character's wheelchair, forcing crew members to carry him around set, and even catching pneumonia because he refused to wear a warmer coat in between scenes. He's gone on to explain, "I will admit that I went mad, totally mad," and that his method was "not so good for my physical or mental health."

13. Hates method acting: John Malkovich

John Malkovich

John told Roger Ebert, “I’m not a method actor. I don’t believe acting should be psychodrama. I look within myself and see what I can find to play the role with. If I’m playing a blind man, I don’t go around blindfolded for days. A lot of good actors would, but I don’t go in for that very much. I like to just make it up as I go along.”

Stills of John Malkovich in "Mary Reilly," "Con Air," and "Bird Box."

14. Loves method acting: Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx wore prosthetic eyelids so his eyes would be glued shut for 14 hours on filming days while he played Ray Charles in the movie Ray. He even told the New York Times that he experienced panic attacks during the first two weeks of filming before he became accustomed to the "unsettling, claustrophobic feeling." He even shared that cast and crew-mates often forgot that he couldn't see and they'd accidentally "leave him sitting alone at a table after lunch on the assumption that he could get back to the set on his own."

15. Hates method acting: Claire Danes

Claire Danes

Claire told the Television Critics Association, "If I took my characters home with me, half my life would be misery, I think. I tend to compartmentalize work from my life. I'm not terribly 'Method.' The acting isn't easy, but I have figured out how to let it go, and that was hard-earned, actually. That took some time to work out. As a kid, I was much more superstitious and earnest and fearful and thought I had to sacrifice my happiness in the most extreme way. I realize now it's a discipline; it's a job."

Stills of Claire Danes in "Romeo + Juliet," "Stardust," and "A Kid Named Jake."

16. Loves method acting: Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman

While filming Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman gave himself nicotine poisoning after smoking $20,000 worth of Winston Churchill's favorite cigars. He explained to the Hollywood Reporter, "I got serious nicotine poisoning. You’d have a cigar that was three-quarters smoked and you’d light it up, and then over the course of a couple of takes, it would go down, and then the prop man would replenish me with a new cigar — we were doing that for 10 or 12 takes a scene.”

Stills of Gary Oldman in "Darkest Hour."

17. Hates method acting: Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron

In an interview with the Mirror, she explained, "I go to my trailer, I take my makeup off, and I go home. I don’t know how people stay in ­character. I’m too lazy. I’ve got two kids to raise, and I have dog shit to pick up in the backyard. I don’t know how you do that in ­character. It’s exhausting. It’s so fucking exhausting. I learned pretty early on, the more I let go, the better — which, in the beginning, was harder for me — but now I’m very disciplined about it."

Stills of Charlize Theron in "Monster," "Mad Max: Fury Road," and "The Old Guard."

18. Loves method acting: Halle Berry

Halle Berry

While working on Jungle Fever, Halle famously didn't shower during filming so she could get into character. She shared, "I didn't smoke crack. I drew the line there, but it was 23 years ago, so I was brand spanking new, and at that time, all I could really do was kind of try to be it, so I didn't shower for the whole entire time that we shot that movie, so that was probably about eight weeks. It was gnarly. Certain body parts got washed, let's just say that."

Stills of Halle Berry in "Jungle Fever."

19. Hates method acting: Jon Bernthal

Jon Bernthal

Jon told IndieWire how he prepared to play Detective Wayne Jenkins in We Own This City. "These conversations are difficult for me, honestly, because every actor has a process. Having studied in Moscow at the Moscow Art Theater, I guarantee you that making everybody call you by your character name and not showering for eight months was not what Stanislavski had in mind with the method. But at the end of the day, these sacred seconds between action and cut, that’s all we got. So that means that I got to stay in proximity to that role, close to those sacred seconds, that I’m not on a cellphone or eating Chinese food or making plans for the evening. And sometimes that’s a day, sometimes it’s a week, sometimes it’s five minutes. But I think this idea of method acting where [director] George [Pelecanos] was only allowed to call me Wayne, I don’t roll like that. I don’t see any benefit in that.”

Stills of Jon Bernthal in "Fury," "The Punisher," and "Ford V Ferrari."

20. Loves method acting: Shia LaBeouf

Shia LeBeouf

For Fury, Shia LaBeouf refused to bathe, deliberately cut his face open, and yanked out one of his teeth. His behavior ended up becoming so erratic that his costar Brad Pitt had to step in and talk to him. Shia even told Jimmy Kimmel that he had trouble getting dentists to remove his tooth for the movie because it didn’t “make medical sense." He explained, "So I got it done by some guy in Reseda next to a Radio Shack, and he didn’t ask too many questions.”

Stills of Shia LeBeouf in "Fury."

21. Hates method acting: Toni Collette

Toni Collette

She shared, "I'm in no way method, whatever that means. I think that is actually total bullshit. I mean it's utter wankery. I don't understand why people either try to sell the idea that they do that, or convince themselves that they do that — I mean, everyone has their own process, but I'm much more instinctive."

Stills of Toni Collette in "Velvet Goldmine," "Hereditary," and "Knives Out."

22. Loves method acting: Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher

While working on the movie Jobs, Ashton gave himself pancreatitis and was hospitalized twice (!!!!). Steve Jobs was known to be a "fruitarian," and lived on a mainly fruit diet, which Ashton tried to replicate. His wife Mila Kunis even explained, "He was so dumb. He...only ate grapes at one point...we ended up in the hospital twice. With pancreatitis! It was really dumb!"

Stills of Ashton Kutcher in the film "Jobs."

Hates method acting: Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake explained on SNL that early in his career he felt like he needed to be a "serious method actor" to win awards, "But honestly, I wasn't even that good at method acting. 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!' That's when I realized something I should have realized a long time ago — acting is a really stupid job. It's pretend! And it's fun, and it should be filled with joy. Well, I'm finally embracing that joy again, and that's why I'm back standing on this stage!"

Stills of Jake Gyllenhaal in "Brokeback Mountain," "Southpaw," and "Ambulance."

23. Loves method acting: Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo told Yahoo that his method work for The Revenant "were some of the most difficult things [he's] ever had to do." He explained, "Whether it’s going in and out of frozen rivers, or sleeping in animal carcasses, or what I ate on set. [I was] enduring freezing cold and possible hypothermia constantly."

Stills of Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Revenant."

24. Hates method acting: Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier

Finally, while filming Marathon Man with Dustin Hoffman, there was a scene that required Dustin's character to stay awake for three days. Dustin explained that he, too, stayed up for three days just to achieve the same emotional believability, to which Laurence Olivier responded, “My dear boy, why don’t you just try acting?”

Stills of Laurence Olivier in "Rebecca," "Sleuth," and "Marathon Man."