Jon Bernthal is the latest actor to share his thoughts on the controversial process known as method acting, saying “I don’t roll like that.”
Jon Bernthal explains why he doesn’t like method acting. One of the actor’s earliest breakthrough roles came as Shane on the AMC series The Walking Deadthough he has gained further recognition for his role as Frank Castle aka the Punisher, originating the role in Daredevil season 2 and later starring in his own self-titled series. Bernthal is now coming off an incredibly busy 2021 in which he starred in five feature films – Those Who Wish Me Dead, king richard, Small Engine Repair, The Many Saints of Newarkand The Unforgivable.
This year is shaping up to be comparable for Bernthal. He will be seen next in the HBO miniseries We Own This City premiering on April 25, the latest show from the mind of TheWire creator David Simon. Based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton and helmed by king richard director Reinaldo Marcus Green, We Own This City follows Bernthal as Wayne Jenkins, a sergeant in the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force which is swarming with corruption.
In an interview with THR discussing the making of We Own This City, Bernthal happened to share his thoughts on an always controversial topic – method acting. In short, Bernthal is not a fan of the process, which he thinks he has been”abused“by actors. Read his thoughts on the matter below:
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… This idea of method acting where [writer-director] george [Pelecanos] was only allowed to call me Wayne, I don’t roll like that. I don’t see any benefit in that.
Bernthal’s comment name-drops Russian actor Konstantin Stanislavski who originally developed the method acting process. He also mentions “making everybody call you by your character name,” which is common amongst performers who practice method acting. One of the most famous examples was on the set of the 2012 film Lincoln where Daniel Day-Lewis stayed in character and was addressed only as “Mr. President,” even by director Steven Spielberg. Bernthal also mentions “not showering for eight months” which could be a reference to Benedict Cumberbatch on The Power of the Dogwho admitted to such last year.
The Walking Dead alum is just the latest actor to offer his thoughts on method acting, with recent examples including Mads Mikkelsen and Samuel L. Jackson, who also voiced their distaste for the process. Jon Bernthal is not wrong to point out that method acting has been abused by actors today, as Jared Leto has been accused of using it as an excuse for inappropriate on-set behavior. It all comes down to a personal choice really, as long as it’s not harming anyone or inhibiting others to do their job on set.
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