Monday, February 29, 2016


Dyer dove into the topic of method acting through a historical lens beginning in the 50s and progressing into postmodern Hollywood. Stars such as Dean and Brando used method acting as a way to better perform their roles: “the performer should come to 'live' the character s/he plays as fully as possible and should base the performance on how s/he feels inside” (132). Method acting is composed of facial gestures, hand movements, and body language as a whole. As a result, interpretations of acting can differ depending on culture and time: “we cannot refer to a general and universal vocabulary of eye and walking movements, but to specific vocabularies, specific to the culture and specific within it” (135)
Moreover, different gestures communicate societal expectations of gender and gender behavior. Certain stances like placing one’s hand on their hip or crossing their legs vertically over the other are viewed as feminine in today’s American culture. However, these gestures are not inherently feminine: “no gesture is intrinsically meaningful but only culture makes it so” (134). For instance, as depicted in Mad Men, businessmen of the 1960s would cross their legs vertically, to the contrary of masculinity now. More recently, however, it is becoming more common to see men cuff their pants, which before had been a feminine style. There is an everlasting shift in cultural gender norms that range from physical to behavioral standards.
Extreme examples of method acting can be noted in Christian Bale’s David O. Russell film performances such as The Fighter and American Hustle. Bale would lose a dramatic number of lbs., sporting heroin chic cheekbones and an emaciated torso of the crack head he was playing. In American Hustle, he transformed into the pot-bellied, greasy haired (he had like one long hair) con artist. Not to mention his critically acclaimed performance that many regarded as authentic.
Method acting is thought to be a more psychological approach to performing. An actor must analyze the inner wellbeing of the character they are playing to truly execute the correct body movements: “ctors did not merely bulge their eyes, say, in terror, but created 

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