Wicked Wednesday : Have they got character?
I’ve always been fascinated by method actors that create a brilliant impenetrable character that they manage to bring to life through meticulous research, rehearsal and improvisation. Our generation (and when I say our I speak loosely) is blessed by certain actresses that have paved the way for younger generations both in theatre and film. Not surprisingly, the following people I’d like to mention have both industries under their belts and continue to work and challenge and amaze audiences and fellow thespians alike.
By definition a method actor is one who uses a family of techniques to create in himself the thoughts and emotions of his character in an effort to develop lifelike performances. Though not all Method actors use the same approach, the “method” in Method acting usually refers to the practice, advocated by Lee Strasberg, by which actors draw upon their own emotions and memories in their portrayals, aided by a set of exercises and practices including sense memory and affective memory.
Method actors are often characterized as immersing themselves in their characters to the extent that they continue to portray them even offstage or off-camera for the duration of a project. However not all method actors fall into this category.
My Picks for this year’s TOP METHOD ACTRESSES are:
Noteworthy films [ A Single Man – The Private Lives of Pippa Lee – Children of Men – The Hours – Far from Heaven – The Big Lebowski – Boogie Nights – The Myth of Fingerprints – Surviving Picasso – Vanya on 42nd Street – Short Cuts]
The reason I have Julianne Moore in this category is her ability to take a character with only two minutes of screen time and turn them into a real, memorable person. Over time she continues to tackle a vast variety of roles and film projects, a fact which makes her exciting, watchable and current. I also secretly love the fact that she chooses obscure parts in indie films along with a good selection of classic leading ladies.
One of the most interesting interviews I’ve recently read on her (which was so well written *) was posted on Twitter by Melanie Lynskey about a month ago. A must-read INTERVIEW in The Times Online.
Noteworthy films [Julie and Julia – The Devil wears Prada – Angels in America – The Hours – Adaptation – The Bridges of Madison County – Death Becomes Her – Postcards from the Edge – Out of Africa – Sophie’s Choice – Kramer vs Kramer]
Meryl is your classic case of a natural. She has got IT and knows exactly, instinctively what to do, how and when to do it. She has acquired training, experience and has worked with the most amazing directors of her times – facts which make her not only talented but wise in her career choices. I hope that there will be another like her to come along in the future and this analogy brings me to my third and final actress.
But before you go onto her, check out this.
MERYL the person, with Diane Sawyer and Inside the Actors Studio
MERYL the actress, Inside the Actors Studio
and last but not least…
Noteworthy films [ The Curiousl Case of Benjamin Button – Notes on a Scandal – Babel – Little Fish – Veronica Guerin – Heaven – Charlotte Gray – Bandits – Elizabeth – Oscar and Lucinda – Paradise Road ]
The new Meryl without a doubt. She has gone way beyond that title however in the past ten years in her own right. I think what amazes me about her is her versatility within roles and her ability to stretch beyond a range of characters that I’ve ever seen. However the downfall of having this ability is having to pay a price :loosing a part of her relatability – something which an actress like Meryl has had time and experience to cultivate.
Watch this fantastic interview of her in which she discusses her roles, methods and life on Inside the Actors Studio (a slightly pretentious but informative US show)
and follow up with video 2, 3 and 4