Method and Motorcycles
While cleaning up some old photos on my computer I came across a file titled “random actors on motorcycles.” Upon further investigation I realized that they are not really random at all. In fact, they share one important bond aside from their love of speed. That is to say that they are all associated with The Method school of acting.
According to one description:
The “Method” required a performer to draw on his or her own self, on experiences, memories, and emotions that could inform a characterization and shape how a character might speak or move. Characters were thus shown to have an interior life; rather than being stereotyped figures representing a single concept (the villain, the heroine), they could become complex human beings with multiple and contradictory feelings and desires. it was the ability to convey the complexity-indeed the confusion of inner feelings that made the Actors Studio-trained Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and James Dean such emblematic figures for the Postwar era.
So there you have it. Now if I could only rationalize their affinity for Triumphs.
Steve McQueen rumbles around on his Triumph.
Paul Newman ready for some desert scrambling.
Actor Mickey Rourke on his Kawasaki in this production still from the movie Rumble Fish, 1983.
Marlon Brando lounges atop his Triumph Tiger in this production still from the movie The Wild One, 1953.
James Dean astride his Triumph.
Jack Nicholson in The Rebel Rousers, 1970.
Dennis Hopper rides his customized Panhead in Easy Rider, 1969.
Al Pacino in Paramount’s Serpico, 1973. Seen here on a Honda Superhawk CB77.
ca. 2001 — Daniel Day-Lewis in Brimmed Hat on Motorcycle — Image by © Steve Smith/Corbis