Konstantin Stanislavski was a practitioner who insisted on the idea of fully becoming your role as a performer. But how far is too far? Many actors continue Stanislavski’s legacy applying his methods of acting allowing them to successfully portray their character, shocking viewers that these actors have a different personality to the character they are portraying. 


One of his most known techniques consisted of the actor living in the conditions of the character they are embodying. For example, Johnny Depp, lived for some time on the streets as a homeless man to fully understand what it is like allowing him to channel the emotions he felt on camera. 


You may think that becoming homeless is extreme, but the role of the Joker is supposedly one of the hardest roles to play as it requires an irrational mindset to pull off. Jared Leto who played the Joker in Suicide Squad, used “insane” method acting; (one of Stanislavski’s techniques) never breaking character even when off-set. Things he did whilst filming included sending is Margo Robbie a dead rat with a love note…how romantic. He also sent a carcass of a dead hog to the cast of Suicide Squad as an apology for not being able to attend a filming day. Heath Ledger was another trooper who took on the role of the joker which essentially killed him as he took it to the next level. Ledger's method acting included locking himself in a hotel room for a month isolating himself from everyone, creating a joker diary from the sources he was given by the director. He also encouraged the actors which he was doing fight scenes with to physically assault him, to make the scene more “authentic.” Unfortunately, due to this extreme effort, it led him to become mentally and physically exhausted resulting in his death on the 22nd of January 2008 officially stating his cause of death as a cardiac arrest.   


So, who’s to blame? Stanislavski the creator of method acting or Ledger himself taking his technique to the extreme? 


By Claudia Perez Garcia from St Philomena's school