Method acting has always been a prickly subject for those in the profession, with many swearing by it for the majority of their careers and others thinking it’s nothing but a gimmick. And based on recent comments from Sherlock star Martin Freeman, we definitely know which side of the divide he falls on.
In a new interview, Freeman went to town on the very concept of going Method, believing it to be a self-indulgent and pretentious way to get into character, when everyone who pitches up to the set on any given day are simply being paid to do a job and go home. Not only that, but he specifically singled out Jim Carrey‘s immersive preparations for Man on the Moon as a direct example, and it was shown in Netflix documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond that the role had a noticeably psychological effect on the rubber-faced funnyman.
“To be honest, it’s quite a pain in the ass when someone ‘loses themselves’. It is a massive pain in the ass because it’s no longer a craft and a job. For me, and I’m genuinely sure Jim Carrey is a lovely and smart person, but it was the most self-aggrandizing, selfish, narcissistic f*cking bollocks I have ever seen. The idea that anything in our culture would celebrate or support it is deranged, literally deranged. 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. Get the job done, do your work.”
Of course, you could point fingers and say that there’s no real need for someone like Martin Freeman to buy into the concept of wholly dedicating every aspect of their existence to embodying somebody else when he’s built his entire career around largely playing the same archetype over and over again. That’s not intended as a dig, because he’s very good at it, but at the bare bones there’s not much of a difference between Sherlock‘s John Watson, Black Panther‘s Everett Ross or even The Hobbit‘s Bilbo Baggins, although he did break the mold a little as a corrupt and unpredictable cop in TV show StartUp.
In any case, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Daniel Day-Lewis, Marlon Brando and Christian Bale are just some of the greats to have embraced the Method, and it worked out pretty well for them in terms of fame and accolades.