The BFI is staging a series of screenings in London throughout October and November to celebrate the birth of method acting in Hollywood. For past, present or future students of mine, or for anyone interested in Method Acting, it is not to be missed!
The Birth Of The Method
In the 1950s, a new generation of actors burst on to the scene, bringing with them a revolution in acting techniques – The Method.
Under the guidance of Lee Strasberg in the legendary Actors’ Studio, famous names from Marlon Brando and James Dean to Shelly Winters and Paul Newman became a radical new generation of Method actors shifting acting paradigms in Hollywood.
They were the first high-profile actors to explore the deep, inner psychological motivations of their character, and use their own experiences to forge a deep connection with their character through techniques like “sense memory” and “emotional recall.” They laid the foundation for the unique brand of Method Acting we see in Hollywood today.
A BFI Celebration
Throughout October and November 2014, the BFI are holding a serious of events to celebrate the birth of this American brand of method acting, under the title “Birth of the Method: The Revolution in American Acting.”
Through the Sight & Sound “Deep Focus” programme, the transformative years in which American theatre and cinema came together and method acting began its meteoric rise in Hollywood, will be commemorated in a series of screenings.
Complemented by a special feature in November’s edition of Sight & Sound magazine, the event will celebrate the rise of method acting, a revolution that sparked iconic performances from the likes of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, and brought us 80% of Best Actor Oscar winners since 2000.
The programme kicks off on Saturday 25th October with a screening of the 1950 film The Men, the screen debut of the father of modern method acting, Marlon Brando. The BFI describes it as a “standard-setting, deeply empathetic performance as a paralysed and embittered WWII veteran”, for which Brando prepared, in true Method, by spending a month on a paraplegic ward.
On November 7th, 14th and 29th, you’ll get the chance to see the “definitive Method film” on the big screen. Marlon Brando’s “brilliantly nuanced” performance in On the Waterfront isbelieved to have set the bar for every great American performance since.
You are truly spoilt for choice, with a full list of great and powerful performances from some of the best method actors that ever lived. Watch Montgomery Clift’s quiet determination in Wild River, John Cassavetes’s twitchy method style as a drifter in gritty, ground-breaking film The Edge of the City, or blue-eyed Paul Newman’s convincing performance as a tough Italian-American boxer in Somebody Up There Likes Me. Newman famously prepared for this role by shadowing the real Rocky Graziano for weeks, an immersive process that has been used repeatedly since by method actors from Robert De Niro to Daniel Day Lewis.
For a full list of screenings, and to get your hands on tickets, click here.
To Enjoy 2 tickets for the price of 1 for any event in the BFI’s Birth of the Method: The Revolution in American Acting season , simply quote “Actors 241” on line, in person or over the phone (020 7928 3232).
And if that’s not enough to satisfy your deepest method acting cravings, the BFI will be hosting veteran director of the Method generation, Jack Garfein, in conversation on 27th November at 6.20pm. For full details, and to book tickets, click here.