Why Do People Hate Mark Rylance?

Mark Rylance is an acclaimed English actor known for his extensive stage work and more recently his roles in films like Bridge of Spies, Dunkirk, and Don’t Look Up. He is widely respected in the theater community and has won numerous awards including an Oscar and multiple Tony Awards.

However, like many famous figures, Rylance has developed a degree of controversy and detractors over the years. In this article, we’ll explore some of the main reasons why certain groups dislike or criticize the renowned actor.

Political Views and Controversies

Rylance’s Anti-War Stance

One of the biggest sources of controversy for Mark Rylance stems from his outspoken political views and activism, particularly his opposition to war and military intervention.

Rylance has been an active and vocal supporter of the Stop the War Coalition, an anti-war group in the UK. He has participated in numerous protests over the years against British military action in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

This stance has drawn criticism from some who see Rylance as naively pacifist or believe he lacks sympathy for armed forces members. His anti-war positions likely rub many the wrong way, especially those who believe military action is sometimes necessary for security or humanitarian reasons.

Views on Fossil Fuels and Climate Change

Relatedly, Rylance has been a prominent advocate for reducing fossil fuel dependence and tackling climate change. He opposes projects like fracking or the expansion of airports.

Again, these views may frustrate those who prioritize economic growth or energy security over environmental concerns. His opposition to projects like Heathrow Airport expansion has likely earned him detractors in the business community.

Support for Controversial Figures

Rylance has also drawn some ire and criticism for his defense of controversial public figures like Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Some see Rylance’s support for Assange and whistleblowers as misguided or dangerous. The actor’s willingness to back divisive personalities opens him up to added scrutiny.

Acting Style and Preferences

Minimalist Approach

As an actor, Mark Rylance is known for a subtle, minimalist approach that emphasizes smaller gestures and internalized emotions rather than big, showy performances.

While many appreciate his nuanced acting, others find his low-key style boring or difficult to connect with emotionally. Some may perceive his performances as overly muted or aloof at times.

Stage Over Screen

Rylance has also stated his preference for working in the theater over film and television. He has continued focusing heavily on stage work even after his Oscar win.

For movie and TV fans, this choice may seem standoffish or pretentious. His devotion to theater may render him less relatable or likable to mainstream audiences more familiar with his screen work.

Shakespeare Focus

A huge portion of Mark Rylance’s career has centered on works by William Shakespeare. He served as the first artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe theater and has acted in numerous stage productions of Shakespeare plays.

For some, Rylance’s Shakespearean background elicits perceptions of elitism or exclusivity. His classical orientation may distance him from casual fans looking for more populist entertainment. Associating too closely with high-brow material like Shakespeare could make Rylance appear inaccessible or aloof.

Odd Behavior and Statements

Eccentric Reputation

Rylance has developed a reputation for some eccentric behavior over the years that may rub people the wrong way. For instance, he reportedly insists on dressing himself on film sets rather than using costumers.

For critics, actions like these come across as pretentious or diva-like. They contribute to perceptions of Rylance as odd or hard to work with.

Off-Putting Remarks

Additionally, Rylance has made some controversial or off-putting remarks during interviews and speeches. These include comments dismissing method acting and suggesting a “spirit” spoke to him during a performance.

Statements like these may trouble people who feel Rylance comes across as self-important or belittling towards his craft and peers. Even fans may find some of his more outlandish commentary off-putting.

Concerns Over Past Roles and Associations

Work with Disgraced Figures

During his extensive career, Rylance has worked with a handful of high-profile individuals who were later disgraced or accused of serious wrongdoing.

For example, Rylance appeared in films directed by Woody Allen and starred opposite Kevin Spacey during Spacey’s tenure at the Old Vic theater in London. Rylance also had connections with Jeffrey Epstein.

These past associations evoke discomfort and criticism from those who believe Rylance showed poor judgment in working closely with problematic figures, regardless of whether he was aware of accusations against them at the time.

History With Blackface

Rylance also drew significant criticism for performing in blackface while playing Othello early in his career in the 1980s and 90s.

Many view this choice as an outdated, racist practice that Rylance should have known better than to engage in even decades ago. Though he apologized, it remains a troubling part of his past for some.


In summary, while Mark Rylance is greatly respected by many for his acting talent, his political activism, unusual behavior, past associations, and niche interests also elicit strong dislike from some groups. Fair or not, everything from his anti-war views to his Shakespeare focus shape certain negative perceptions about Rylance.

However, he remains acclaimed in theater circles and his skills on both stage and screen are still cherished by devotees undeterred by controversy. Rylance’s career demonstrates how even widely lauded performer scan prove divisive.

FAQs About Mark Rylance Backlash

Why do some think Mark Rylance is pretentious?

Specific behaviors contribute to perceptions of pretense or elitism, like Rylance dressing himself on sets and focusing heavily on Shakespearean material. His eccentric reputation and muted acting style also elicit claims of pretentiousness from critics.

What controversial political views has he expressed?

Rylance has been a prominent anti-war and anti-fossil fuel activist. He has supported controversial figures like Julian Assange. These political stances open Rylance up to backlash and criticism.

Does Rylance prefer stage or screen acting?

Despite his Oscar win, Rylance has maintained his concentration on theater work. Some film and TV fans find this off-putting, seeing his stage focus as elitist. Others argue it shows dedication to his craft.

Why did Rylance performing in blackface spark criticism?

Though a more common practice decades ago, blackface is now widely despised as demeaning and racist. Rylance’s past use of blackface to play Othello remains controversial despite his apology.

Has Rylance worked with problematic celebrities?

Yes, Rylance has acted in projects directed by Woody Allen and starred with Kevin Spacey. He also had associations with Jeffrey Epstein. These connections provoke criticism regardless of when they occurred.

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