Andrew McCarthy calls bullsh*t on bringing method acting on set: 'It's amateurish, childish and silly'

It nearly caused fights on the set of Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket

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The Independent Culture

Method acting is often held up as a kind of highest echelon when it comes to the acting process; something only those at the very top of their game can take on and harness.

Its use tends to get overstated through rumour and legend, with Daniel Day-Lewis joking about his reputation as a method actor during a BAFTA acceptance speech in 2013, saying that he'd stayed "in character as myself for the past 55 years".

The reality is that, on set, having someone behave as a tyrant or a sociopath or whatever their character is in between takes isn't very useful to neither cast nor crew, as Bret Easton Ellis discussed on his podcast this week with Pretty In Pink actor turned TV director (Orange is the New Black, The Blacklist, The Family) Andrew McCarthy.

Recalling an earlier interview with Matthew Modine about working on Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, Bret said: "There was a big problem on that set with Vincent Donofrio, who was so into The Method that he was in character as Private Pyle goes nuts [...] As [his character] descended into murderous, suicidal madness in the film he became increasingly off-putting on set to the point of almost causing fights. 

"Modine said it didn't any anything to the performances, it was just unpleasant and stressful."

Giving his two cents on the issue (as well as discussing his own run-in with Donofrio), McCarthy said: "I think it's your business; take care of it at home, come into work, be a professional, walk in and do it. 

"I don't want to see how hard it was for you to get there. When I'm directing now I like nothing better than when an actor walks in and go 'Hi, how are you doing, where do you want me? There?' Bam. Done. 'Thank you!'

"If you have to go through your process fine, and I'll help you get through your process, but it's amateurish and childish and silly to bring all that process out. That's your work, do it at home, come to work and be a pro."

Ellis and McCarthy also discussed their ill-fated Less Than Zero film, the importance of casting and substance abuse on set in the podcast episode, which you can listen to here.

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