Brando was a student of Stella Adler, an actor who honed her theatre pedagogy by studying under the grandfather of Method acting himself, Konstantin Stanislavski. All the ballyhoo on “The Godfather” set with ear wax, dentures, and cue cards has to do with the very old-school, artisanal techniques that Brando learned under Adler’s tutelage. 

Brando studied acting as a true craft, a physically workable trade that uses real changes in the body and mind to get closer to a character’s truth. By transforming his facial structure with makeup and dental tools, changing to a more raspy voice, using cue cards to read his lines, and stuffing wax in his ears, Brando was able to light up the parts of his brain that forced him to behave differently and carefully formulate what to say next.

This type of metamorphosis is discussed in one of the first chapters of Stanislavski’s infamous book “An Actor Prepares,” which is written as a first-hand account of an actor making profound discoveries in his preparation to portray the namesake of William Shakespeare’s play “Othello.” While Kostya’s revelations are horribly racist — the actor smears chocolate cake on his face and uses exaggerated expressions to embody his “savage” character — the core idea is one of the foundations for Method acting: outward changes and techniques can transform you on the inside, bridging the gap between your true self and your character so that you can enter a “creative state.” In a creative state, you become fully immersed in the role, transcending to an almost spiritual understanding of the character and their life. 

While all of the methods Brando employed on the set of “The Godfather” were a little unorthodox, there was clearly some sort of magic in them, as he produced one of the greatest film performances of all time.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *