If there’s one debate that has occupied the film world in recent years, it’s Marvel vs. Cinema. But if there’s another, it’s: “Is method acting okay?” The question has mainly arisen after certain performers gave The Method a bad name for doing stuff like mailing co-stars condoms and pretending to be disabled between takes.
Stars including Brian Cox, David Harbour, and Mads Mikkelsen have all disavowed the practice. But on a new episode of WTF With Marc Maron, Andrew Garfield came to its defense. “There [have] been a lot of misconceptions about what method acting is, I think,” he said. “People are still acting in that way, and it’s not about being an asshole to everyone on set. It’s actually just about living truthfully under imagined circumstances, and being really nice to the crew simultaneously, and being a normal human being, and being able to drop it when you need to and staying in it when you want to stay in it.”
He continued, “I’m kind of bothered by the misconception, I’m kind of bothered by this idea that ‘method acting is fucking bullshit.’ No, I don’t think you know what method acting is if you’re calling it bullshit, or you just worked with someone who claims to be a method actor who isn’t actually acting the method at all.”
The bottom line here (as in most things) is that you can do whatever you want as long as you’re not being a jerk to others. In fact, Garfield advocates not letting others in on your method at all: “It’s also very private. I don’t want people to see the fucking pipes of my toilet. I don’t want them to see how I’m making the sausage.”
It would definitely be less controversial if method actors weren’t bothering anyone else on set, but there’s still a bit of a concern that going method might be dangerous to the actor themselves–in extreme roles, it can be a form of personal torture, mentally or physically. Garfield hasn’t had a problem in that regard, even during his intense fasts for Martin Scorsese’s Silence. “It was very cool, man,” he claimed. “I had some pretty wild, trippy experiences from starving myself of sex and food at that time.” Well, as long as he’s having fun…?