Typically, actors use method acting to help them get into character better. It is thought that method acting will allow for a more natural and authentic performance.
This is because the actor is drawing on real life experiences that they have had.
The idea of method acting was created by Stanislavski who thought that in order for an actor to have a fuller understanding of their character, they needed to draw on their own similar experiences.
In addition to this, many actors will take this idea and behave how they feel their character would in everyday life to help further embody who the character is. It is thought that this will help to uplift their performances and take them to the next level.
What method acting means?
Method acting is sometimes referred to as “the method”. As we have touched upon above, method acting puts emphasis on the actor bringing real life situations into the role they are playing. It is thought that this will allow the actor to get into character better and fully embody that character.
It focuses heavily on the emotions a character would be feeling and encourages the actor to draw on similar emotions to better portray the character.
In addition to this, a lot of actors will carry out research and spend a lot of time mulling over how the character would react to a certain situation to help portray them better.
What is an example of method acting?
There are many examples of actors that use method acting. While not all actors will use this way of acting, many find it useful.
One of the most iconic, yet devastating instances of method acting is Heath Ledger when he played the Joker in The Dark Night. Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker was outstanding, and he fully understood the character and his emotions.
Another actor that uses method acting is Christman bale, in The Machinist, he lost a severe amount of weight to fully embody his character and take it to the next level. In addition to this, his role in American Psycho is another example of method acting.
Leonardo DiCaprio is a great example of a method actor, particularly when he starred in The Revenant. He embodies characters completely and fully puts himself into their mindset by drawing on his own experiences.
While there are some actors that will take method acting to the extreme, there are others who do so in a more subtle way, such as Kate Winslet, and Robert De Niro.
What's the opposite of method acting?
The opposite of method acting is classical acting. This is typically the type of acting that the majority of people are most familiar with, especially if they are not part of the acting world.
While method acting is very much focused on emotions and the mind to alleviate the performance, classical acting does not do this so much. While the actors who use the classical method will still show emotions, they focus on physical performance and control more.
Rather than integrating the character into their own experiences and drawing from this, they will bring the character to life by imagining how the character would act, instead of how they would react.
Classical actors will typically follow lines and cues more thoroughly in comparison to method actors, and their acting may even come across as more polished.
As we have mentioned above, while some actors will take method acting to the extreme, the majority do not. A great example of this would be if there is a scene where a character needs to be happy.
Method actors tend to think of their own happy experiences and draw their acting from that. Classic actors will instead imagine the character being happy at that moment and draw from this instead.
What is the difference between a character actor and a method actor?
Character actors and method actors do have their similarities, but they tend to take on the role of a character in quite different ways.
Character actors will typically follow a certain style of acting and characterization. This tends to stem from professional training, and how their voice should sound for certain characters.
In addition to this, they will focus heavily on how a character will look, act, and move. Character acting is very similar to classical acting, and it focuses on evoking emotions from those watching by bringing a character to life.
While method actors will also do this, they will typically focus heavily on getting into the character emotionally in addition too physically.
For example, they will embody the character and use their own experiences and emotions to allow the character to feel more raw and realistic. They may also go off script and provide a powerful performance.