In a career spanning sixty years, big screen icon and Hollywood legend Marlon Brando was selected as Best Actor at the Academy Awards twice. Under the tutelage of Stella Adler, he was a pioneer of Stanislavski system of acting in Hollywood. As part of this Stanislavski system, Brando also mastered the art of method acting. As such, he was one of the first to bring it to mainstream audiences. Over the course of six decades, the legendary actor dominated his profession. With all the looks, all the acting ability and all the critical, to me he was a role model and an icon.
After studying his career at an early age and eagerly following his every move, I sought to follow in his footsteps. After successful theatre performances at school, Brando moved to New York. There, he studied at the American Theatre Wing Professional School. At the time, he was under the tutelage of the distinguished German director Erwin Piscator. As soon as I arrived in New York, I sought out everyone who had possibly come across my icon and hero. Camera men, crewmen, the supporting staff on set were full of stories about the legendary Marlon Brando.
From his strict adherence to the Satanislavski system endowed upon him by Stella Adler, to the insightful realism with which he immersed himself into roles, I learnt a lot about the great lengths he would go to off camera and behind the scenes. In a story narrated by Stella Adler herself, she described how she set a task where students were told they were chickens and a nuclear bomb was about to fall. While his colleagues all clucked and flapped their arms, Brando sat calmly, acting as though he was laying an egg. When questioned, he replied, “I’m a chicken, what do I know about bombs?”