Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Prep Shows Just How Stupid Method Acting Can Get

At what point does it become nothing more than an actor scratching their acting ego?

Joaquin Phoenix’s preparation to play the Joker is enough to make you wince. Between the physical mannerisms and hours of studying people with Pathological Laughter or Crying disorder, he also dropped nearly 24kg to play the character. Method acting at its crazy finest on the forefront right there, folks.

But at what point does method acting go from useful preparation for a movie to nothing more than stupidity and an unashamed attempt at winning an Oscar sprinkled with a dash of ego stroking?

There are countless infamous stories of actors going to extreme lengths in order to “get into character” for a film. Some make sense, like losing or gaining weight (within reason), Michelle Williams wearing a belt around her knees in order to get Marilyn Monroe’s trademark walk right, learning a couple of accents or training getting all trained up with guns in order to play an assassin, like Keanu Reeves for John Wick.

But then there are those preparation stories that make you wonder whether it was worth the effort just to get a “performance.” Folks like Joaquin Phoenix, Christian Bale, Kate Winslet and Daniel Day-Lewis all put themselves through mental and physical hell for every single movie part they do.

Sure they put on a great show but do things like inhabiting the mentality of a Nazi or learning how to build a house from scratch using only period accurate tools actually add anything to the final performance that pretending doesn’t offer? Isn’t pretending the whole point of acting?

Perhaps the worst case of method acting really going off the rails was what Aaron Eckhart did to prepare for Rabbit Hole. In order to really capture the grief of a father who lost his young son to an accident, he crashed support groups and masqueraded around as a depressed parent.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Eckhart said he ultimately had a fake emotional breakdown and ended up telling a made up story about losing a child to people who actually lost their children.

Dude, that’s not method acting. That’s just rude, cruel, and all that “work” was ultimately for a movie that hardly anyone saw.

Listen actors, we understand you want to give a good performance and most people can tell when something is feeling “phony.” But no one is really going to notice the difference between you wearing a fat suit and actually putting on 20kg, all the work you’ve put into trying to be a Nazi guard, or whether you’re a grieving parent or just pretending to be one.

Dustin Hoffman once stayed up for 72 hours straight in order to get into character for a film and his co-star, the legendary Laurence Olivier, told him, “My dear boy, why don’t you just try acting?”

Perhaps actors should take Olivier’s advice to stop “acting” and start acting. Most people won’t notice the difference and no Oscar win or nomination is worth the physical and mental pain.

Someone On Crazy Rich Asians Thought It Was OK To Pay White Dudes 10 Times More

Can't imagine why this is an issue.

Those waiting for the much-anticipated sequels to Crazy Rich Asians will have to wait a bit longer because the project has been hit with a typical Hollywood setback: the first film’s co-writer, Adele Lim, has left the sequels because of the gender pay gap.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lim has left the Crazy Rich Asians sequels because co-writer Peter Chiarelli is getting paid about 10 times more.

An Asian female writer bailing on a movie about ridiculously rich Asians because her white male colleague is getting paid way more than she is. Think about that.

Take note, Hollywood screenwriters!

While specific numbers weren’t given, Hollywood Reporter sources say that Chiarelli was getting between $800k to $1 million while Lim was getting a measly $110k-plus. The studio says these figures are “industry-standard established ranges based on experience” and “making an exception would set a troubling precedent in the business.” Make of that what you will.

Believing that women and people of colour are generally nothing more than “soy sauce” in Hollywood – they’re hired to put in culturally specific details on a script so it feels “authentic” – Lim says “Being evaluated that way can’t help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions.”

Now this is nothing on Chiarelli, who offered to split his fee with Lim. However, she said no on principle, saying that what she and other women and people of colour make “shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer.”

“If I couldn’t get pay equity after CRA, I can’t imagine what it would be like for anyone else, given that the standard for how much you’re worth is having established quotes from previous movies, which women of color would never have been [hired for].”

Crazy Rich Asians made over $200 million so money clearly shouldn’t be an issue here, nor should the thing about experience since Lim is a veteran who’s been in the business for nearly two decades so this whole saga is ridiculous and another instance of the gender pay gap that sadly still exists in Hollywood.

It’s not hard.

Credit to Adele Lim for standing her ground on this issue because it’s something that continues to linger around in Hollywood. Her departure will undoubtedly affect the Crazy Rich Asians sequels, which is won’t begin filming until late 2020 at the earliest, work on those films will chug along because it’s Hollywood and the show must go on.

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