During the 1950’s, method actors took over Hollywood. In fact, some of Hollywood’s biggest actors at the time started “method acting”. Those actors include James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Montgomery Clift. They created a a whole new toolset and perspective on the actor’s craft and transferred it to the films they performed in.

Their acting craft, however, was created in Russia more than 50 years before they became famous. In a video essay made by Travis Lee Ratcliff, Ratcliff explains “method acting”, Stanislavski and “psychological realism.

“Stanislavski’s key insight was in seeing the actor as an experiencer of authentic emotional moments,” Ratcliff says. “Suddenly the craft of performance could be about seeking out a genuine internal experience of the narrative’s emotional journey. From this foundation, realism in performance began to flourish. This not only changed our fundamental idea of the actor but invited a reinvention of the whole endeavor of telling stories through drama.”

From this point on, acting coaches would use Stanislavski’s methods and ideas and elaborate upon them in American theatre schools. The result, in the 1950s, would be a new wave of actors and a style of acting that emphasized psychological realism to a greater degree than their peers in motion pictures.

Today some of the biggest movies feature actors using method acting including the late Heath Ledger, and most infamously Shia LaBeouf.

Check out the video below to learn more.

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