Method acting is one of those terms that has multiple descriptions, each varying in terms of the commitment, and indeed, insanity required to pull it off. Though all roads point from Stanislavski's classical method, actors over the last 80-or-so years have adopted it in different ways; if an actor is playing a mentally disabled character, they might spend a few days hanging out with a mentally disabled person, and if they're playing an historical or real-life figure, then they might do their best to get acquainted with the person's mannerisms or study their speech patterns. These are pretty basic tenets of performance, but actors who immerse themselves fully in the Method do something entirely different; they disappear beneath the character, such that short of their (sometimes) recognisable face, we cannot discern the actor underneath. It's a frightening - and often frighteningly impressive - practise, one which many actors have taken to such extreme lengths as to endanger their own health and place themselves in precarious positions. As such, here are 10 method actors who might actually be insane...
10. Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando continues to be remembered as the poster boy for method acting long before it had lodged in the public or cultural consciousness, and was still a relatively obscure technique heard about only in acting schools. Needless to say, it's widely credited with garnering the iconic performer 8 Oscar nominations between 1950 and 1990. Though his debut turn in The Men didn't actually win him any big awards, it did prove from the outset his technique and its effectiveness; playing a wounded soldier in hospital, Brando sought to replicate the experience as much as possible prior to filming, spending a month confined to a hospital bed, but not just any hospital, a veteran's hospital, to provide the full psychological and emotional experiences needed for the role. By the standards lower down on this list, it might seem relatively tame, but at the time, it was absolutely revolutionary. Brando was crazy enough to unabashedly pioneer this technique when likely many of his contemporaries thought he was absolutely bonkers, and it's with him that we can credit many of the more insane turns on this list.
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.