Mads Mikkelsen calls method acting ‘bulls**t’ and ‘pretentious’

“How do you prepare for a serial killer? You gonna spend two years checking it out?” Mikkelsen said

Tom Murray
Tuesday 12 April 2022 07:28 BST
Second trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Mads Mikkelsen has raged against method acting in a new interview.

The process by which actors constantly stay in character, even off set, has been a big part of cultural discourse recently thanks to method performances from stars like Jared Leto and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Actor Mikkelsen, who stars as evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, replacing Johnny Depp in the role, told GQ that he would never stay in character all the time.

“It’s bulls**t,” Mikkelsen said about method acting.

“But preparation, you can take into insanity,” he explained. “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?”

Asked about appearing alongside a dedicated method actor like Daniel-Day Lewis, Mikkelsen said he “would have the time of my life, just breaking down the character constantly”.

He added in a mocking tone that he might ask Lewis, “I’m having a cigarette? This is from 2020, it’s not from 1870 — can you live with it?”

The actor said “it’s just pretentious” to practice method acting, and blamed the media for lionising those who do it.

“The media goes, ‘Oh my god, he took it so seriously, therefore he must be fantastic; let’s give him an award,’” Mikkelsen said. “Then that’s the talk, and everybody knows about it, and it becomes a thing.”

Benedict Cumberbatch stayed in character as Phil Burbank in ‘The Power of the Dog’

In a new interview with The Independent, Will Poulter joined Mikkelsen in his denunciation of method acting.

“When it comes to an actor’s process, whatever that is, so long as it doesn’t infringe on other people’s and you’re being considerate, then fine,” he said. “But if your process creates an inhospitable environment, then to me you’ve lost sight of what’s important. Method acting shouldn’t be used as an excuse for inappropriate behaviour – and it definitely has.”

Leto is among the most prominent exponents of method acting. Morbius director Daniel Espinosa recently confirmed that the star used a wheelchair to travel to and from the bathroom in an attempt to stay in character.

Meanwhile, Cumberbatch revealed he gave himself nicotine poisoning three times smoking filterless cigarettes in order to transform into ruff ranch owner Phil Burbank for Power of the Dog.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in