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Andrew Garfield Thinks Everyone Needs a Good Priest in Their Lives

The star of Hacksaw Ridge and Silence joins the Little Gold Men podcast to reveal how he found real Hollywood friends, how he survives the hubbub of awards season, and what Mel Gibson did to make his way back into the center of the industry.

He may not have taken the stage to win a statue for his nominated performance in Hacksaw Ridge, but Andrew Garfield had two moments at Sunday‘s Golden Globes that had everyone talking the next day. First there was the liplock, barely caught by the camera, he shared with Deadpool nominee Ryan Reynolds, just as Ryan Gosling took the stage for his own award. And then, when Gosling’s La La Land co-star Emma Stone won her own statue, Garfield was seen giving her a standing ovation—notable, given that Stone is his ex.

“We care about each other so much, and that’s a given, that’s kind of this unconditional thing,” he says on this week’s Little Gold Men podcast. “There’s so much love between us and so much respect [. . .] I’m her biggest fan as an artist. So for me, it’s been bliss to be able to watch her success and watch her bloom into the actress that she is. And it’s also been wonderful to have that kind of support for each other. It’s nothing but a beautiful thing.”

Garfield also tells hosts Mike Hogan, Richard Lawson, and Katey Rich about the various challenges of awards season and a life in Hollywood, where it’s very easy to “look for love in all the wrong places,” as Garfield puts it. Luckily, the guidance of everyone from Mike Nichols to Jonah Hill has helped him stay grounded. At the Golden Globes, he says, “I was overwhelmed that I had such sincere, authentic Hollywood friends. Which I don’t think is a common occurrence. I had about seven or eight real, true anchors in that room and in the parties following. Emma of course is one, Claire Foy is another, Laura Dern. Eddie Redmayne, Jonah Hill . . . these are people that I actually love in a real, sincere way, and I believe they love me back. I was just struck with this deep gratitude.”

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Andrew for ShortList

Andrew Garfield is about to tell what he confidently describes as a “very ShortList story”. He sets aside his plate of grilled beef and salad, and leaps up from the sofa in order to act it out properly.


“It was 2010, around the time of The Social Network,” he says, pacing the room. “I was being invited to all these LA parties, and three of my mates from home [Epsom, Surrey] came out for one. Everyone there was famous, and we didn’t know what to do, so we ended up creating a little square in the middle of the room, looking in at each other. We couldn’t think of anything to say, so my mate George says, ‘Let’s all say “rhubarb”.’ So we’re all just standing there, these four tall, awkward English boys, muttering ‘rhubarb’. And then at one point, oh my God…”

He breaks off to literally – this is no exaggeration – shake with laughter. “At one point, my mate James accidentally kissed Taylor Swift on the ear! We finally started talking to people, and as we were leaving Taylor Swift says, ‘Bye guys,’ and James leans in, but he doesn’t know if it’s a hug or what, so for some reason he just… kisses her on the ear.” More shaking. He regains composure for the final chapter. “Then at the end of the night – and I won’t explain how this happened – all four of us ended up dancing in pyjamas at Quincy Jones’s house.”

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The Hollywood Reporter: Actor Roundtable

Six contenders — also including Mahershala Ali, Andrew Garfield, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dev Patel — on what it takes to play a real-life person, making a drug dealer likable, turning down parts and the agony of acting: “The very thing you love is the thing you hate.”


Halfway through this year’s Actor Roundtable, just as THR’s group was settling in with one another, Casey Affleck paused to look at Jeff Bridges with something bordering on awe. “Jeff,” he said, “not to draw attention to your age or anything, but I just want to point out that when I was born in 1975, you had already worked with Peter Bogdanovich, John Huston and Robert Benton.”
“Yeah,” Bridges shrugged.

“So you were bushed before I was born, man,” said Affleck.

That gives some idea of the warmth that flowed among the group, one of THR’s younger-skewing actor gatherings, with Bridges, 67 (Hell or High Water), playing patriarch to Affleck, 41 (Manchester by the Sea); Mahershala Ali, 42 (Moonlight); Andrew Garfield, 33 (Hacksaw Ridge, Silence); Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 35 (Snowden); and Dev Patel, 26 (Lion).

Many confessed to being nervous, especially beside the elder statesman. But Bridges surprised them at the Nov. 12 shoot in Hollywood by admitting he was jittery, too ­— and that after all these years, he still feels fear when he takes on a role.

What do you most like about acting and what do you like the least?

Andrew Garfield: I just like knowing everything I can. I love the fact that I get to train for a year as a Jesuit priest and then train to be a cop and learn how to make a rocking chair. I want to know everything about everything, and that’s not possible and it won’t be possible. I’m not ever going to reach it. Neil Young has a recurring dream where he has the perfect melody — and he wakes up every time and can’t remember it. And that’s what it is for me. There’s something to aspire to always, there’s somewhere further to go. And the thing that I hate about acting is — well, everything I just said. (Laughter.) The longing is so f—ing painful sometimes.

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Actors on Actors: Andrew Garfield and Amy Adams

Andrew Garfield and Amy Adams chatted during a taping of Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” on a range of topics, including their portrayals of comic-book icons. For more, tune in when the fifth season premieres on PBS SoCal, presented by The Venetian Las Vegas, on January 3.


Categories Articles Interviews Movie Projects Press Silence

New York Times Magazine Interview

Silence is a novel about “the necessity of belief fighting the voice of experience,” as Scorsese has put it. To get the Jesuits’ beliefs right, he engaged the Rev. James Martin, an author and editor at large of the Jesuit weekly America. Filmmaker and priest had several colloquies at Scorsese’s home, and Martin worked intensively with Garfield and Driver. Just as De Niro learned to box for “Raging Bull,” they familiarized themselves with the rites and disciplines of the Jesuit priesthood to bring authenticity to their performances.

Garfield, known for his role in two “Spider-Man” movies, prepared to play Father Rodrigues by entering fully into the process that Jesuits call “spiritual direction.” Raised outside London, with a secular Jewish father, Garfield developed his character by undergoing the “Spiritual Exercises” of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order. The exercises, devised in the 1520s, invite the “exercitant” to use his imagination to place himself in the company of Jesus, at the foot of the cross, among tormented souls in hell. Garfield met with Martin for spiritual direction, and they swapped reflections via email and Skype. Then he set out for St. Beuno’s, a Jesuit house in Wales, to undertake a seven-day silent retreat.

“If I’d had 10 years, it wouldn’t have been enough to prepare for this role,” Garfield told me. “I got totally swept up in all things Jesuit and very taken with Jesuit spirituality. The preparation went on for nearly a year, and by the time we got to Taiwan, it was bursting out of me.”

It’s not unusual for performers to allude vaguely to their spirituality. But Garfield describes the process with guileless specificity. “On retreat, you enter into your imagination to accompany Jesus through his life from his conception to his crucifixion and resurrection. You are walking, talking, praying with Jesus, suffering with him. And it’s devastating to see someone who has been your friend, whom you love, be so brutalized.” Before Garfield left for Taiwan, Martin gave him a cross he had received as a gift while a Jesuit novice.

“Andrew got to the point where he could out-Jesuit a Jesuit,” Martin told me. “There were places in the script where he would stop and say, ‘A Jesuit wouldn’t say that,’ and we would come up with something else.”

“I don’t think I am called to be a priest,” Garfield said to me resolutely, as if making this film had spurred him to consider the prospect. “But I had the feeling that I was being called to something: called to work with one of the great directors, and called to this role as something I had to pursue for my spiritual development.”

A.O. Scott, now a chief film critic for The New York Times, once wrote that Scorsese approaches filmmaking as “a priestly avocation, a set of spiritual exercises embedded in technical problems.” So it was with “Silence.” “Marty insists on having silence on the set,” Garfield told me. “The silence says: ‘Something is happening here.’?” Scorsese arranged the shooting script chronologically, so the cast could feel the characters’ emotions in sequence. Finally Garfield reached the scene in which Rodrigues steps on the fumie, profaning the God he believes in and renouncing the faith he has come halfway across the world to preach. Actor and director prepared the shot: a bare foot pressed to a piece of copper, the face of Christ worn smooth by the feet of countless apostates before him. “It’s something we had both waited for,” Garfield said, “but Marty had waited much longer — he had waited decades to film that scene.” The director was ready; the priest stepped — and then there was a technical difficulty. “I almost lost my mind, and I think Marty did, too,” Garfield recalled. “He wanted it to be done in one take.” There was a second take, and the priest profaned the image of Christ once and for all.

Before it opens in New York and Los Angeles in December, Silence will be screened in Rome for several hundred Jesuits and for cinephiles at the Vatican.

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