On Wednesday’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” guest Brian Cox briefly claimed that he feels bad about the harsh things he’s said about the practice of method acting.
Thankfully, he was kidding, and it was just the setup to a gag in which the actor recorded an amazing fake Master Class video that bluntly summed up his real opinion on the Method.
For those who don’t know, method acting, also called the Method, is an acting technique in which actors strive to emotionally relate to and empathize with their characters on such a level that it often includes actors staying in character even when not performing in order to remain in their fictional mindset. It’s yielded some incredible performances, but it’s also subject to a lot of criticism, including from Cox.
In February Cox gave an interview in which he lavishly praised his “Succession” co-star Jeremy Strong as a person and as an actor. But he also said that Strong’s insistence on method acting is “f—ing annoying.” Then just this week, Cox had more bad things to say about method acting, calling it “American s—,” and urging actors to “just do the job. Don’t identify.”
Fallon brought that whole thing up while chatting with Cox. “Well you know, Jimmy, I’ve been a little harsh,” Cox replied. “I have been a little harsh on that, and I’m sorry about that, and in fact I’ve been trying to set the record straight in a Master Class series on acting that I’ve just been doing.”
“Oh I didn’t know that you did a master class,” Fallon replied.
“Well actually, I brought a clip,” Cox said. “And I think this more eloquently explains my feelings about acting.”
They then rolled the clip, which was made to look very much like the branded Master Class videos. It was called “Brian Cox Teaches the Craft of Acting.”
“Hi. I’m Brian Cox,” Cox said with an exaggerated sophistication. “And this is my Master Class on the craft of acting.”
Then onscreen, “Tip 1.” Immediately after, Cox returned and said, “Just f—ing do it!”
It’s hilarious and you can watch it here right now as part of Cox’s full interview with Fallon at the top of the page. The Master Class bit kicks in around the 4:30 mark.