- Golden Globe Awards
Andrew Garfield’s First Steps in Hollywood – From Spider-Man and The Social Network to tick…tick…BOOM!
Right now he’s singing and dancing in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tick…tick… BOOM!, an adaptation of writer and composer Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical play. Back in September of 2010, over 11 years ago, we met Andrew Russell Garfield for the first time. The young – 27 years old – actor was on the cusp of becoming a big Hollywood star – after six years of constant work in the theater, starting with a performance in Kes at the Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theater, Garfield had left his mark on a series of minor roles, from John Crowley’s Boy A and Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus to the hit Channel 4 series Red Riding.
In a few weeks, the US and the world would watch his star performance in Mark Romanek’s heartbreaking Never Let Me Go, based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s multi-awarded dystopian novel about a future when human clones were raised to donate their organs. His character, Tommy, was one of the clones.
“I think Kazuo wasn’t interested in writing a story about people trying to escape the situation”, Garfield told us. “ I think he was interested in writing a story about how people put up with the situation they’re put in.”
Raised in the south of England, the son of a British mother and an American father, Garfield was actually born in Los Angeles – “at the Cedars-Sinai hospital”, he laughed. “(My parents) wanted to raise myself and my brother close to our grandparents in the UK. I feel very lucky because I don’t really identify with any place. It means because I’ve had my father’s accent and his value system in my ear and my mother’s accent and value system in my other ear, so I feel this kind of strange anxious balance.”
A few days later we met Garfield again, to talk about the role that would get him into the Golden Globes elite: a Best Supporting Actor nomination in David Fincher’s The Social Network, playing Brazilian Eduardo Severin, one of the founders of Facebook. “(David Fincher) encouraged foolishness in us and a looseness in our interactions. We all found that so liberating. Having seen David’s films and his very, very unique and specific style, you don’t get the impression that he’s going to be that much fun. He encouraged a kind of fraternity feel.”
Garfield was particularly interested in Fincher’s ways of exploiting the “fraternity feel” to build up the tension between the young founders of Facebook, aka The Social Network. “He was constantly pitting us against each other in the most beautiful and kind and subtle way. It’s multi-perspective. There is no right and wrong. Everyone is right. Everyone is wrong”. He recalls being on set, waiting to be called “with an iPod in my ear. And I’d hear out of my other ear (David) talking to Jesse (Eisenberg) (…) and saying ‘You know what, this guy… he didn’t have the imagination to go with you. You are totally justified. You owe him nothing.”
In April of 2012, Garfield was a bonafide Hollywood star, donning the revered black-and-red costume of the beloved Spider-Man in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, the fourth picture based on the Marvel character and a reboot of the franchise following Sam Raimi’s 2002-2007 trilogy.
“ I wanted to be true to the original’s source”, Garfield told us. “And to the original character that Stan Lee originally laid down. That was of paramount importance”. A fan of Spider-Man, Garfield had a proper costume when I was a kid. “My first attraction was when I was 3 years old. It was because of the swinging as simple as that like seeing a man swing through the streets of New York (…) My relationship with (Spider-Man) grew and deepened and I started to understand what he was – a hero- and how difficult it was to be a hero.”
Garfield flew high and mighty in the coming years, securing major roles and getting another Golden Globe nomination – Best Actor, for Hacksaw Ridge .