For the most part actors tend to leave the characters they play behind between takes, dropping back into their normal persona as quick as you can say, “Cut!” The distinction between character and actor has a clear delineation, and rarely do they intersect. Some actors, however, prefer to blur the lines, practicing the art of method acting.
Method acting requires the performer to go deeper into character than most actors typically do, very often refusing to break character even when not on set. Jared Leto famously inhabited The Joker so fully on the set of Suicide Squad that co-star Will Smith said that he’s never even met Leto. Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood) goes to great lengths in his performances, going so far as to have people on set carry him around while portraying artist Christy Brown in My Left Foot and having the cast and crew of Lincoln refer to him as “Mr. President.” Although not unheard of, the actors practicing “the method” are rare, though sometimes certain performances surprise you.
In a recent interview with Screen Geek, Charlie Cox (Daredevil) revealed that he dabbled in the art of method acting while filming the first season of the Netflix series. The actor, who earned praise for his performance as the blind lawyer/superhero Matt Murdock, said that he went so far as to have himself intentionally blinded for a brief period in order to better perform the role.
“I don’t know if you know this [or not] but on the first season, I was trying to figure out how to do it. I went to this specialist, an opticianist – and I had these lenses made that were identical to my eyes but they completely blinded me. You put them in and I couldn’t see a thing and I thought great, I’ll do that and I don’t have to do any acting. The problem with that was that after every take, someone from the crew had to come and get me and lead me away and kind of sit me down. After the second day, I was like this is going to get really old, really quick.”
Though he doesn’t seem to have stuck with the method for too long, no doubt he learned a little bit about what it’s like navigating through a world you cannot see in his efforts to better understand his character. That insight definitely helped propel his performance to the heights he reached, and the actor even received an award from American Foundation for the Blind in 2015.
That Cox went so far into his role makes perfect sense, considering how much effort went into getting the character right for the Netflix series. Though we know better now, there was a lot of skepticism about prospects for the series before its debut in 2015, with many fans citing the poor reception of the 2003 feature film starring Ben Affleck (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) as proof that the concept wouldn’t work. It didn’t take long for the doubts to fade, however, and the first season of Daredevil set the stage for what’s quickly becoming one of the most fascinating corners of the MCU.
While Daredevil probably would’ve still be great even without Cox going to such great lengths to understand Matt Murdock, it’s a testament to how seriously everyone involved takes the series. That commitment has blossomed into something truly special, creating not only a fascinating character, but one of the best superhero TV shows of all time. While it might be some time before we see the third season of Daredevil, we’ll see Cox again in The Defenders, which is expected to premiere next year. Would it have happened if Cox didn’t blind himself? No doubt. But it’s not hard to see where his efforts have paid off to our benefit.
Daredevil seasons 1 and 2, Jessica Jones season 1, and Luke Cage season 1 are now available on Netflix. Iron Fist will premiere on March 17, 2017. The Defenders and The Punisher will arrive in 2017. Premiere dates for the newest seasons of Jessica Jones and Daredevil have not yet been announced.
Source: Screen Geek