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"Lee Strasberg's Method" was screened atThe Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute on
Friday, September 16th, 2011.
"Lee Strasberg's Method" is a documentary film that investigates and clarifies Method acting and dispels some of the misconceptions that many people have about Lee Strasberg's work.
The film is primarily an interview with Geoffrey Horne, who started studying with Lee in 1954. Geoffrey has been a member of the Actor’s Studio since 1956 and has been a teacher at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York since 1978. Geoffrey Horne played the role of Lt. Joyce in the film "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and appeared in many other films, plays and television shows. Among the actors who were in his acting class that Lee Strasberg taught were Marilyn Monroe, Jane Fonda and Mike Nichols. Some of the actors who attended the Actor’s Studio with Geoffrey are Paul Newman, Geraldine Page, Kim Stanley, Maureen Stapleton, Eva Marie Saint, Ben Gazzara, Ellen Burstyn, Gene Wilder, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Christopher Walken. Among the actors that Geoffrey has taught are Alec Baldwin, Adam Sandler, Bridget Fonda, John Leguizamo, and Kevin Corrigan. Geoffrey has worked with directors David Lean, Otto Preminger, Robert Wise, Stanley Kramer and Michelangelo Antonioni. Some of the actors with whom Geoffrey has worked include William Holden, Alec Guiness, Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Bruce Lee, Harrison Ford, Jack Hawkins, Jean Seberg, Geraldine Page and Rip Torn.
"Lee Strasberg's Method" starts by explaining the work of Constantin Stanislavski, the Russian actor and director who originated the idea of actor training and who directly influenced the work of Lee Strasberg. From there, the film investigates the various theories, exercises and applications of the Stanislavski System and the Lee Strasberg Method. Mixed in with precise explanations of the work are Geoffrey’s personal reflections and experiences with Lee Strasberg. The film, just like Lee did in life, celebrates the art of acting without criticizing other theorists’ and teachers’ concepts.
Anna Strasberg, Lee Strasberg’s widow, has given full approval in the making of the film. She has also granted permission to use photographs from the Lee Strasberg archives – some of the material from the archives has never been viewed by the general public. The photos from the Strasberg archives along with other historical photographs from the theater world and photographs of contemporary actors help color the film.
“Lee Strasberg’s Method” clarifies the work of Lee Strasberg and also advocates the importance of actor training.
ABOUT JEREMY KRUSE
Jeremy Kruse is an award winning filmmaker, published playwright and professional actor. He graduated from the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where he majored in drama. He studied for three consecutive years after graduation and continues to train with his teacher, mentor and friend, Geoffrey Horne. Jeremy is also currently a teacher at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York.
“Jeremy Kruse’s insightful documentary is dedicated to the timelessness of Lee Strasberg’s Method. I was moved by Geoffrey Horne’s passion and eloquence in speaking about the work which he has taught for all these years.”
- Anna Strasberg
“Gifted actor and master teacher of Strasberg’s Method, Geoffrey Horne, clearly describes the essence of Lee Strasberg’s genius and his lasting contribution to the art of acting. I was mesmerized by this film.”
- Lola Cohen - Author/Editor of The Lee Strasberg Notes
and teacher at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute
When I auditioned for the New York University drama program as a high school junior, the auditor said, “I think you’d be a good fit for the Lee Strasberg Institute.” I said, “I do too.” I figured that was a better response than, “who’s Lee Strasberg?”
I was officially accepted to NYU and placed in the Strasberg program. After some research and reflection, I realized that I was a good fit. I had recalled waiting in the wings for my cue in one of the high school plays in which I had acted. In the play, I was to enter and deliver a short monologue. But, I wasn’t “feeling it”. Before I entered the stage, I started to think about something personal that would get me to where I needed to be in order to bring some sort of truth to the monologue. I had instinctively done something “Method like”– something akin to the Method, albeit a rudimentary form.
The assessment that I was a good fit for Strasberg was further solidified my freshman year at NYU. During my first sense memory exercise, my teacher said, “Jeremy, it looks like this is really working for you!” It was working for me. I felt at home and I also understood that I had many years of hard work ahead of me. However, something distressing was happening outside of class. Students who were studying other acting approaches were criticizing the Method and I was constantly put on the defensive. As recently as March of 2010, upon my mentioning that I was making a film about Method acting, an actor friend raised his hands, put his index fingers together to form a cross and thrust his fingers into my face.
I have now studied the Method for roughly 18 years. Geoffrey Horne has been my teacher, mentor and friend since my second year of study at The Strasberg Institute. I have studied with him in class and been privately coached by him. Over the years, we have had long conversations during meals and on the telephone. The conversations consisted mostly of my picking his brain about all things related to acting. I eventually decided to interview him on tape. After extensive reading and research, I formulated my questions and we conducted the interview. We taped for 4 hours and I didn’t even get through all my questions. I edited the film down to 1 hour and a ½. Recently, I disclosed to Geoffrey that in making and watching the film, something had clicked for me. The Method, an extremely complex theory, after many years of study, really made sense to me. “I’m 36 and it’s finally clicked,” I declared with enthusiasm. Geoffrey replied, “I was 46 when it clicked for me, so you have ten years on me.”
My hope is that people will look to my film, “Lee Strasberg’s Method”, as one of the many valuable resources that gives a true and accurate understanding of Method acting.
- Jeremy Kruse