Jon Bernthal calls out method actors: ‘I don’t see any benefit in that’

·2-min read

Jon Bernthal has become the latest star to decry method acting, the technique where a performer stays in character even after the cameras have stopped rolling.

Bernthal was discussing his new HBO miniseries We Own This City – written by the creators of The Wire – when he was asked whether the term “method” had been abused in his industry.

“Absolutely,” Bernthal told The Hollywood Reporter. “And that’s why these conversations are difficult for me, honestly, because every actor has a process. Having studied in Moscow at the Moscow Art Theater, I guarantee you that making everybody call you by your character name and not showering for eight months was not what Stanislavski had in mind with the Method.”

The Walking Dead star stipulated that due to time constraints when filming, he understood the desire to stay “in proximity to that role” rather than be “on a cellphone or eating Chinese food or making plans for the evening”.

“But I think this idea of Method acting where [We Own This City co-writer] George Pelecanos was only allowed to call me Wayne, I don’t roll like that. I don’t see any benefit in that,” he said, referring to the real-life police officer he plays in the series, Detective Wayne Jenkins.

Method acting has been a big part of cultural discourse of late, thanks to stars such as Jared Leto and Benedict Cumberbatch going to extreme lengths to stay in character.

Mads Mikkelsen also had choice words for method actors (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)
Mads Mikkelsen also had choice words for method actors (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

However, many actors like Bernthal have criticised the technique, including Mads Mikkelsen who called it “bulls**t”. The Fantastic Beasts star recently said: “What if it’s a s**t film — what do you think you achieved? Am I impressed that you didn’t drop character? You should have dropped it from the beginning! How do you prepare for a serial killer? You gonna spend two years checking it out?”

Meanwhile, Will Poulter told The Independent that “method acting shouldn’t be used as an excuse for inappropriate behaviour – and it definitely has.”