Andrew Garfield is coming to the defense of a controversial acting technique known as “The Method.”
The technique, which asks actors to completely inhabit a role both physically and emotionally, frequently makes headlines as prominent actors such as Daniel Day Lewis have gone to extreme lengths to become a character they are portraying.
“I’m kind of bothered by the misconception, I’m kind of bothered by this idea that ‘method acting is bullshit,’” Garfield said in a new episode of the “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast. “It’s like, no I don’t think you know what method acting is if you’re calling it bullshit, or you’ve just worked with someone who claims to be a method actor but who actually isn’t acting in the method at all.”
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Garfield continued, “People are still acting in that way, and it’s not about being an arsehole 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.”
Speaking about how he used the Method while preparing for his role as a Jesuit priest in Martin Scorsese’s 2016’s movie “Silence,” Garfield said he studied Catholicism, became celibate and fasted for six months before filming.
“It was very cool, man,” Garfield told Maron. “I had some pretty wild, trippy experiences from starving myself of sex and food at that time.”
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Garfield brought up the subject of Method acting while discussing a screen test with Ryan Gosling for an ill-fated movie adaptation of Michael Chabon’s novel “The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier & Clay.”
“He was alive, he didn’t care about doing it the same way over and over again,” Garfield said of Gosling, who uses the Method technique. “He was listening, he was very present, he was spontaneous, he was surprising, he wasn’t trying to be those things,” Garfield said. “There was a zen quality to it, but it was like being in a scene with a wild animal where you don’t know whether he was going to kiss you or kill you. And you hook into that, and you’re like ‘Oh, I want to follow whatever that is.’”