A number of actors have used the technique known as “method acting” to, supposedly, improve their performances. Method acting is when an actor stays in character even when the cameras aren’t rolling. Some actors who have allegedly used the technique include Jared Leto when playing the Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad, Jamie Foxx in 2004’s Ray, Natalie Portman in 2010’s Black Swan, and, famously, Daniel Day-Lewis in a number of his roles.
David Harbour, who has made a big impression over the past few years as part of the cast of Stranger Things, and as Alexei Shostakov, aka the Red Guardian in last year’s MCU film Black Widow, calls “BS” on the technique in an interview with GQ. And he speaks from experience: “I’m very much trained in classical American method acting,” he said in the interview.
“When I was younger — it’s so embarrassing — but I remember playing that famous Scottish King,” he said, probably referring to Macbeth, who he played in a stage production, “And being like, I’m gonna kill a cat’ or something: ‘I’m gonna go murder something to know what it feels like to murder.’ I didn’t actually do it, obviously. Not only is that stuff silly, it’s dangerous, and it actually doesn’t produce good work.” When asked about Daniel Day-Lewis, he responded, ‘He’s an extraordinary actor who I’m captivated and fascinated by. [But] when he explains his process it sounds like nonsense to me.”
Harbour will next be seen as Santa Claus in a film called Violent Night, due out later this year.