We always heard that Marlin Brando was a method actor.No one really knew what that actually meant..About 30 years back I read that Lee Strasberg of Godfather 11 Fame as Hyman Roth along with his daughter ran a method acting school.It was used by all the studios. Ever hear of a dialect couch ..they teach an actor to speak as an Englishman an as someone from American Southerner or a New Yorker. There is a sub or assistant director known in the industry as a dialect couch to teach a specific actor what to sound like.
We will tell you this much and by doing so letting the cat out of the bag..That in every movie or T.V.commercial that every gesture…,smile..frown whether it is an expression of joy..sorrow or shock whatever its is scripted. Actors go to a another special school .There they learn all types of expressions Gestures and Motions .. They have an instructor known an expression couch..There in that Hollywood school every gesture known to mankind are taught.The Hollywood studios know more about human nature than any Psychiatrist that ever walked the Earth.When you watch movie and you see someone touch their face quickly comb hair around their ear. everything is scripted nothing is done either haphazardly ..on accident or Improved. When they film a movie these expression couch’s are standing right to the actor though off camera not seen by the public..they are prompting the Star for the correct expression making sure that its done right. As many as 50 takes can be done before the”‘right smile” is achieved that the head director finds to his liking. Many unacceptable smiles filmed and wind up on the cutting room floor.
Unlike a Broadway play which is a continuous Motion Picture is not seamless..It a collection of practical still shots. I knew back in the late 1960’s a cinematographer clued me in . To be an actor requires an awful of studying both verbal lines and all the gesture and expressions and motions as well. It usually take anywhere from 6 months up year for,an actor to master the script.
In 1958 actor Denis Hopper while on the set of “Hell To Texas” refused Director Henry Hathaway’s order to play the scripts as it was written. He was being very uncooperative and wanted to act the scene his way. It was only after 85 takes that he finally capitulated and played out the script as the director insisted…For that he was Black listed until he got the role in easy rider co-starring with Peter Fonda.
I was on then Daily show with Peter Colbert back in 2001.. All though I never had to learn expressions they were at my house for nearly for 5 1//2 hours. At least 2 of those hours were to set up and break down then equipment..They filmed for 3 1/2 hours it was cut back to about a 4 minute piece.. However after all of the editing it still remains a truly fabulous piece of entertainment well worth watching. Enjoy the clip just click on the link that I provided.