Jared Leto is the kind of actor Hollywood adores. He has a rock star persona as the frontman of 30 Seconds to Mars, he won an Oscar in 2013 seemingly out of nowhere for Dallas Buyers Club, and he loves a “transformative” role. For Gucci Househe took his role as Paolo so seriously that he said identifier he “climbed into this creative cave and exited through the entrails and intestines into the esophagus of the one and only Paolo Gucci”.

But he’s probably best known for his forays into the superhero genre. In suicide squadhis Joker barely made the final theatrical cut, but that didn’t stop him from preparing for the role by pulling some seriously ridiculous pranks on his co-workers.

“An actor who needs 45 minutes to go to the bathroom will waste a tremendous amount of spawn time.

His final comic book role is the living vampire (and occasional Spider-Man antagonist) Morbius, and in an interview with UproxxMorbius director Daniel Espinosa reveals that Leto frequently delayed the production of Morbius so that he can use crutches to go to the toilet.

“Hey, man, it’s people’s processes,” Espinosa says.

many fans and bloggers accuse Leto’s love of “Acting method” for this behavior — but is the Method really to blame? We asked an expert to define what method play is and how it differs from Jared Leto’s process.

What is Method Acting?

Lee Strasberg in the Actor’s Studio in Manhattan, circa 1955. Michael Ochs Archive/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

The acting method (with a capital M) has a long history in theater and a shorter (but illustrious) history in film. Isaac Butler, author of The method: how the 20th century learned to actsets it to Reverse as “a technique and approach that taps into the inner reality of the actor, the self, the psyche, your emotions, your memories and the things that make you you as a way to bridge the imaginative gap between actor and character.

The method is derived from System, an acting technique developed by Russian director Konstantin Stanislavski and adapted by American theater teacher Lee Strasberg (whom you might recognize as Hyman Roth in The Godfather Part IIalongside his former student Al Pacino.) He is probably best known for his affective memory exercises, which Butler defines as when “actors recall sensory details of emotionally charged memories in order to literally trigger themselves to have the emotions associated with this memory. ”

So, to put it bluntly, the acting method isn’t about “becoming” a character, it’s about using parts of yourself and your own story to relate to the character.

What is Jared Leto doing then?

De Niro’s extensive research for angry bull may have inspired Jared Leto.MGM

Jared Leto’s acting technique is closer to what robert deniro practiced on the set of films like angry bull — go beyond research to fully immerse yourself in the role. According to vanity lounge, he trained for almost a year, boxing around 1000 rounds and gaining 20 pounds of muscle in the process. De Niro became so good that his trainer scheduled him three professional fights (the actor won twice).

It’s definitely a method, but calling it the The method is a little too far. De Niro mainly studied under Strasberg’s rival, Stella Adler, and according to Butler, “De Niro took her ideas and followed them, far further than she probably would have advised people to go.”

Strasberg was never a fan of this “full immersion” technique. He even told a story in an interview published by the Tulane Drama Review this might as well be a direct response to Leto’s antics:

“You’ve heard actors say, ‘Hit me, hit me – if you don’t hit me, I won’t understand. Well, that’s not acting. Of course, if I hit you, you’ll fall. What’s the acting in there? The thing is, I seem to be hitting you, and yet the way I’m hitting you is so believable and so filled with all the tension and reality of hitting, that you fall and you’re hurt, and I don’t have I didn’t touch you. It is action.

That said, this style isn’t completely alien to the screen. Beyond De Niro, three great actors use this technique today: Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeremy Strong and Jared Leto. The difference between the first two and Leto lies in the term “Method” itself.

“De Niro didn’t use the term Method acting to describe himself, nor did Daniel Day-Lewis and Jeremy Strong,” Butler says. But Jared Leto has publicly stated that while he prefers the word “immersive”, he appreciate the term. As a result, the reputation of Method players is affected by their work, Method or not.

Does Jared Leto’s technique work?

Jared Leto as The Joker in suicide squad. Warner Bros.

Even if he doesn’t use the method, is Leto’s technique worth all the hassle?

leto said Variety Circuit of rewards podcast, “I thought it was my job to show up and do the best job possible. It’s my job to show up, to do everything I can, to be overprepared. And to deliver.

But… does it deliver? Unlike Day-Lewis and Jeremy Strong, who deal almost exclusively with drama that could be ripped from the stage, Jared Leto has now worked on two separate superhero films. He brought his extreme technique to each, and both works were lambasted in reviews. So if the reviews are any indication, his acting style may not be conducive to this genre.

“You don’t have to do all that to play the Joker or a vampire in a superhero movie,” Isaac Butler tells me. “The kind of acting these movies demand is old-school studio system character acting. It’s not really a complete transformation. You use your own personality. Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is probably the best example.

“It’s not really a complete transformation. You use your own personality.

Then there’s the basic courtesy expected of an actor on set, especially for a big-budget blockbuster. Leto also said Variety“It’s also my job to show up and, you know, to be a pleasure to work with. And to be collaborative and have a good experience on set. It’s kind of hard to do when your co-workers never know what to expect from you – or how much you’ll hamper production.

“An actor who needs 45 minutes to go to the bathroom is going to waste an awful lot of time,” Butler says. “And every minute that you’re not working on a movie while you’re on set is incredibly expensive, especially a movie of this level.”

Maybe Leto can get away with these things on the set of other movies, but superhero movies are finely tuned operations.

The public relations machine

Jared Leto’s antics made headlines as he promoted suicide squad. Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When you try to track down what Jared Leto did for the sake of his process, you find conflicting stories. Take, for example, the gifts he sent to his colleagues on suicide squad. At CinemaCon in 2016, he said E! News he sent “used condoms and anal beads,” but in 2017 he said Weekly Entertainment Radio, “There were certain things that were mentioned about the gifts and the fact that I was giving used condoms to people, which was not true. It was not true.

Leto is clearly lying in one of these quotes. Butler offers an explanation that makes perfect sense, especially in the wake of the media frenzy caused by the Morbius bathroom break test. “He’s going, so over the top, to do all these extreme things that really seem driven more by personal vanity and public relations than by the needs of the project itself.”

“It just seems useless for me and a little idiot.”

Maybe Leto really did make up the pranks to make the headlines, or he just denied his actions later in shame. Either way, there’s a reason why stories about actors going to extreme lengths for a role are so gripping to us.

“Much of what actors do is mysterious. Like a lot of what actors do, it’s: Well, I sat there with the play. I took some notes in the room and worked on them a bit. If you talk about it that way, acting is actually very boring,” Butler says. “This type of process gives actors something easily quantifiable to discuss.”

So while Jared Leto’s actions may grab headlines, they don’t always make for the best performance. For Butler, whatever Leto does is not a method game, and it’s probably not necessary for the performance.

“It just seems unnecessary to me,” he says, “and a bit silly.”

Morbius now playing in theaters.


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