Friday, 18 May 2007

The Method

You may or may not remember that I'm currently about half-way through writing a story which began life with the title "Little Miss Movie Star" and has since morphed into "The Method".
The reason for the title change is that I want to try and work the idea of our main character being a 'method actor' into the story to try and create a bit of ambiguity about her. I want the reader to be not entirely sure if he can trust Chloe or not.

To do this I’ve had to rewrite portions of what I’ve already got in order to introduce method acting and its meaning in the context of this story.

Below is one of those scenes. I’ll need someone to keep referring back to method acting, and that will be Kim. Chloe might mention it herself in passing, but it’s Kim who will be the voice of doubt for the reader. That said, I don’t want to reiterate it to often. I want the concept to be nagging thought in the back of the reader’s mind, not the over-riding impression of Chloe.


Over lunch, Adam agreed to meet up with Kim and her flatmates for drinks that afternoon. His flatmates agreed to go along too. They met in the Student’s Union, which was much quieter than the first time Adam had visited.

“Oh, thank God!” said Kim.

“What’s up?” asked Eddy.

“Little Miss Movie Star isn’t here.”

“You mean Goodman?”

“Yeah. I can’t stand her. Attention grabbing little slut. You know that Adam and I have been landed with her in our tutor group?”

Eddy looked at Adam with shock. “You didn’t tell us that.”

“I only found out today. Besides, it’s not really a big deal. Is it? I know she’s a decent actress and stuff, but it’s not like she’s anyone really important.”

“Decent actress?” said Kim. “Are you serious? Have you seen ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’?”

“It was really bad,” said Shanna. “But it was the script more than her acting. She proved what she can do in “To Eternity and Back”. Adam, are you going to invite her over the flat for coffee sometime?”

“Not if you’re going to fawn over her, no.”

“I promise not to.”


“I wouldn’t bother,” said Kim. “She won’t go.”

“I still don’t know what she’s doing at university. I mean, she must be taking time off from making movies and that’s got be costing her a fortune,” said Eddy.

“I suppose you get to a point where you have so much money that making more of it becomes less important,” said Adam.

“I have a theory,” said Kim. “I think I know why she’s here.”

“Come then,” said Eddy. “Spill.”

“Well, she’s a method actor, isn’t she?” Kim looked around the table as if that explained everything.

“Yeah, and?” said Eddy.

“It’s what they do, isn’t it? They go and experience what it’s like to be the character they are going to play so that they can empathise and emote. She’s probably landed a role as a student in some shitty film and needs to pretend to be a real student for while so that she can play it.”

“Don’t be silly,” said Shanna, “Actors don’t do things like that.”

“Method actors do. You know Bobby Brandon, the fat American? Well, apparently, when he had to play a chef, he went to work in a professional kitchen for a fortnight to see what it was like. And when Michelle Phillips made ‘Escape from Ghetto High’ she went to work at an inner-city school in New York first.”

“That’s bull. All the kids would have recognised her,” said Eddy.

“No, they didn’t. She went in disguise. The movie people made her a prosthetic mask and stuff.”

“There is another theory,” said Adam.

“And what’s that?” said Shanna.

“She’s on my course, yeah? English and The Classics. My theory is that she came across The Classics through her acting, fell in love with them and actually wants to study them.”

“Nah,” said Eddy, “I prefer Kim’s theory.”

“That’s because it’s right,” said Kim. “I’ll bet it’s what Goodman is doing. In fact, I’ll bet any money that within a couple of weeks she’ll have found herself nice, normal boyfriend, boff him for a couple of months and then dump him just before she’s due to start making the movie.”

“Well, if she’s only after a good humping, then I hope she picks me,” said Eddy. “That’ll be something to tell the grandkids, that will.”

“I can see you now,” said Adam. “You’ll be sitting in your rocking chair on the patio, with a woollen blanket wrapped around your legs, saying, “No, really kids, I did. I humped Chloe Goodman.” I can imagine their reply as well.”


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