David Harbour Slams Method Acting

Joe Harker

Published 
| Last updated 

David Harbour Slams Method Acting

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Stranger Things star David Harbour has slammed method acting as 'dangerous' and 'silly'.

When getting into character some actors learn their lines and try to think about the mental state their character is in.

Others go a few steps further and actually put themselves through similar experiences to their character.

If their character is tired they'll get tired, if their character is sad they'll make themselves sad and so on, anything to make their performance on either the big screen or the small screen as realistic as possible.

This is method acting and some of the highest profile actors in the world swear by it, especially since it's won them a truckload of Oscars.

From Adrian Brody wrecking his own life for The Pianist to basically everything Daniel Day-Lewis has ever done, it's a tried and tested way of getting powerhouse performances out of actors.

David Harbour isn't the biggest fan of method acting. Credit: Alamy
David Harbour isn't the biggest fan of method acting. Credit: Alamy

However, Harbour himself is not a fan, with the 47-year-old explaining that he himself had been trained in method acting but didn't think it resulted in a better performance.

He said: "When I was younger - it’s so embarrassing - but I remember playing that famous Scottish king and being like, 'I’m gonna kill a cat' or something. 'I’m gonna go murder something to know what it feels like to murder'.

"I didn’t actually do it, obviously. Not only is that stuff silly, it’s dangerous, and it actually doesn’t produce good work."

The actor particularly picked out award winning star Daniel Day-Lewis, who he praised as 'extraordinary' but admitted sounded like 'nonsense' when he tried to explain his method.

Method acting can bag you the big awards, as Daniel Day-Lewis can attest. Credit: Alamy
Method acting can bag you the big awards, as Daniel Day-Lewis can attest. Credit: Alamy

Not all actors who use method acting actually plan to do so, some directors try 'enforced method acting' by pulling surprises on their stars with varying results.

Die Hard director John McTiernan famously dropped Alan Rickman sooner than the actor expected to produce a real expression of shock on his face.

It certainly worked in that case, but it can backfire as Ed Harris punched James Cameron in the face while working on The Abyss when the director kept filming while his leading man nearly drowned.

Alan Rickman is method acting here in Die Hard, not that it was his choice. Credit: Alamy
Alan Rickman is method acting here in Die Hard, not that it was his choice. Credit: Alamy

Meanwhile, some of the method acting stories go over the line from understandable to creepy, as Jared Leto sent used condoms and live rats to his co-stars while working on Suicide Squad.

Really, the best response to method acting has already been delivered by Laurence Olivier to Dustin Hoffman on the set of 1976 film Marathon Man.

Upon hearing that co-star Hoffman had purposefully stayed awake for three days straight as a scene demanded that his character be exhausted, Olivier said: "My dear boy, have you tried acting?"

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, David Harbour, Jared Leto

Joe Harker
More like this

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Film & TV

Mindy Kaling says The US Office is 'so inappropriate' now and most of the characters would be 'canceled'

9 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Brittney Griner is facing 'terrible' life inside grim Russian penal colony

11 hours ago