Stars who took method acting to extremes

Willem Dafoe had Emma Stone slap him 20 times even though he was off camera

Stars Insider

03/03/23 | StarsInsider


The method-acting approach traces its origins to the early 20th-century teachings of the Russian theatrical realist Konstantin Stanislavski, whose work influenced Lee Strasberg to father the concept as we know it today in Hollywood around the '50s. The technique requires actors to draw on their own genuine experiences and emotions, oftentimes replicating external conditions of their characters, in order to perform with a higher degree of authenticity. But method acting has gotten a bit of a bad reputation in recent years as both dangerous and an excuse for actors to be pretentious and rude.

Willem Dafoe is an eccentric character who is known for his extreme and deeply expressive performances. He's currently working on two different movies with Emma Stone, both directed by the brilliant Yorgos Lanthimos (director of 2018 Oscar-winner 'The Favourite'). One of the projects is titled "And," and very few details about the storyline have been released. What we do know, however, is that there's a scene where Emma Stone's character slaps Willem Dafoe's character, although Dafoe is off camera and can't be seen. Even though Stone could easily have pretended to slap Dafoe, he insisted on being present for the scene and standing in front of her to receive the slaps! Stone says that she slapped Dafoe 20 times simply because he wanted it to be more authentic. 

From visiting real crack dens to joining the US National Guard, check out this gallery to see which other actors fully embraced the concept of method acting—some even going a little too far. 

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