Full disclosure, Iím not a Superman fan. Heís a goody-two-shoes with no flaws and I hate that. I want my superheroes to have flaws goddamn it! Horrible disgusting wart-like flaws and everything thing that goes with it. I want to be able to relate. Quite simply, I cannot empathize with someone who is essentially a living god and is indestructible.
Iím a Batman fan through and through. The reason is that heís a normal guy, albeit a guy with unlimited wealth, martial arts training, the innate ability to crush vagina like a frat boy and a multinational conglomerate that creates top secret weapons for him to use against criminals. Batman however, is just a regular man with no supernatural abilities. I can be him if I wanted to, I just donít have the time.
The reason for this particular tirade stems from recently watching Superman II on HBO. Superman II is my favorite out of all the Christopher Reeves Superman movies and it has nothing to do with the main character, but due to the villains being so awesome, especially General Zod, played by Terrance Stamp.
For those of you who are too young to know Mr. Stamp from his earlier roles, Stamp played giant a giant vagina in Star Wars Episode I.
Chancellor Valorum? More like Chancellor Valium. AMIRITE!?!
Truth is. Terrence Stamp is a pretty great classically trained actor known for his intensity. Go check him out in the 1999 film The Limey to see him in action. You will not be disappointed.††Still to this day, when I think of General Zod, my mindís eye seeís this:
In all his bearded, greasy goodness.
Without Stamp, Superman II would have been unwatchable. †He was the anchor of the movie in my humble opinion. A nemesis so evil and ruthless, yet with a certain amount of charm. Maybe itís the accent? The only other conceivable reason to watch the movie would be to watch Kentís ass handed to him in the diner scene.
That leads me to the question asked in the title of this blog. Why is Clark Kent so fucking method? Superman is a living god, but when heís disguised as Kent, heís a clumsy twit.
Case in point. Kent and Lois Lane go to Niagara Falls. While in their suite, Kent trips and his hand goes into a fire pit. Lois sees that heís unscathed, realizing Kent is Superman.
Because his disguise was so amazing.
First of all, Margot Kidder is a horrible Lois Lane. She has the crazy eyes. Back to the point, do you really expect me to believe that Superman, in disguise as Clark Kent really trips on a bearskin rug and falls into a fire? Heís Superman damn it! Faster than a locomotive, catch a speeding bullet, leaping over the tallest buildings Superman and he trips on a rug! Does he really take the character of Kent that seriously? What is he, Robert fucking DeNiro? Does he go that deep into method acting that he becomes a klutz when he dons the eyeglasses?
Out of everything that is unbelievable about Superman, this one thing boggles my mind more than anything else and keeps me up at night. I can suspend my disbelief, but only to a point. Maybe Superman went to the Lee Strasberg School of Method Acting, where the only way to get in character is to become the character, just like Marlon Brando who acted crazy when he prepared for his role in Apocalypse Now, and was never able to get out of that character again. Or perhaps heís like Pacino, who prepared for his role in A Scent of a Woman by constantly yelling in a southern accent. He went so deep into that role, that is the only character heís able to play now. A crazy, screaming, freak.
Donít get me wrong, method acting is great. Some of the best performances in film and stage are from method actors. However, there is a recurring complaint regarding method acting, and that is performers have difficulty switching it off, sometimes to the detriment of their co-stars. Take Daniel Day Lewis in his role in Gangs of New York. Reports state that Lewis would ominously glare at co-star Leonardo DiCaprio, even when they were off set. He refused to go out of character, even when he wasnít working. So essentially, he had carte blanche to be a murderous sociopath for months on end. Thatís taking your role seriously.
Lewis preparing for his role as mentally unstable man. Oh wait, he's between roles. Never mind.
There are many correlations between film and gaming, but method acting is not something that translates. I reckon that someone can look at a particular character and assume that if someone was to play them in a film, it would suit a method acting technique. Batman is an obvious choice since the character was played so recently by Christian Bale, a practitioner of method acting himself.
Iíd like to think that Gordon Freeman from Half-Life would be a good character for a method actor. His portrayal in the game is already strong, silent and intense. Any character from the Bioshock series would be well suited for a method actor as well. Hell, I should be a casting director or movie producer because Iím giving you gold here. I picture myself setting at a magnificent mahogany desk at a movie studio somewhere, chomping on a cigar, and making starlets cry when I tell them they lack a certain Je ne sais pas for a role. I guess I missed my calling.
As always, Iíve gone off the rails here. I guess what Iím trying to say is everything about Superman is horrible, except Terrance Stamp, who is magnificent.
To close, Iíll leave you with this quote about the topic of method acting:
ďI'm a Method actor. I spent years training for the drinking and carousing I had to do in this film.Ē (George Clooney)
Well, if thatís the case, Iíve been training in method acting for years.