The Spider-Man star talks about his big blockbuster break
Born in LA but raised in the UK, Andrew Garfield was much more known as a theatre actor until his international breakthrough in 2010s The Social Network. Since his announcement as the new lead in the Spider-Man franchise in mid 2010, he’s been living and breathing the world for The Amazing Spider-Man. Click caught up with Garfield in Cancun earlier in the year to talk about the film.
CLICK: What was your first interaction with the character of Spider-Man?
AG: It was when I was three. It was my first Halloween and that was what I wanted to go as because I had seen the cartoon before that and I was just obsessed with it. So that was my first.CLICK: Comics aren’t as big in Ireland and the UK, so it was more the cartoon show for you?
AG: Right. It was always the cartoon and then I found the comic and then of course the movies and everything else.CLICK: In this new film Spider-Man is more human than just a super hero?
AG: Yea, or as much, you know? It’s a very important dynamic, the tension between those things is kind of what sets him apart from other superheroes I think – that he’s a teenager and fallible and makes mistakes. He’s erratic. So yea I feel pretty, pretty excited that I got to explore that aspect and that’s why he’s always appealed to me as a superhero, because he’s so human.CLICK: How do you feel about the word ‘reboot’?
AG: I don’t mind it. No, it’s a horrible word!CLICK: After only 10 years it does seem a bit sudden.
AG: Yea I guess. But look at James Bond – how long between was it Pearse Brosnan and Daniel Craig?CLICK: Ended in 2002 I think
AG: And then Craig came long in 2005… So just three years.CLICK: That’s a transition though, I think this is a different thing – this is a new cast for the same story.
AG: Yea but you haven’t seen this movie so you don’t know that it’s the same story. But it’s an origin story. Obviously it’s not like a remake of Funny Games it’s not shot for shot [laughs] I'm not going to be doing a Tobey Maguire impression!CLICK: There are tweaks to the canon though
AG: Oh yea, I mean there has to be. Obviously there are certain things that you can’t, that you wouldn’t wan to mess with. He still calls himself Spider-Man! But there are certain things that are so necessary but hopefully it’ll be seen in a fresh way. That’s not something I can control. All I know is I'm a fan and before I had any involvement in the project I had heard that they were making a new Spider-Man and I was excited to see it. I thought I was too old to play a high school kid Peter Parker. Turns out I wasn’t, in their opinion. Maybe in other people’s opinion I am but that’s fine too! So yea I kind of was excited to see it so I just hope it doesn’t disappoint. Andrew Garfield in Cancun for The Amazing Spider-Man Enlarge
WATCH OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW GARFIELDCLICK: How did you find sharing the screen with Sally Field and Martin Sheen?
AG: Amazing, I can’t believe they did it, it was so exciting. The best aunt and uncle ever, can’t get better than those two. Such fine actors and heartfelt, beautiful people. And to work with them and hear their stories. But ultimately they are two actors when them as human beings match up to them as actors which is a rare thing and a wonderful thing.CLICK: Rhys seems kind of reticent in interviews, was it easy for you to connect with him?
AG: Yea I loved him, I love him. He’s an artist and he cares deeply about what he does. We slipped into something really easy and maybe… I think like a lot of actors me included he has a problem with talking about what he does and maybe feels like it’s a waste of time. That’s debatable; I don’t know whether he’s right or not. But as an actor he’s incredibly accessible and present and I think he probably gets a bit shy or embarrassed to talk about it.CLICK: There are two Brits on the cast, was it good to have someone to talk to?
AG: So nice yea! I don’t know why but it’s so reassuring. And it’s silly but it really is. The Brits abroad thing holds true.
CLICK: They often say Brits play a lot of villains but you get to play the hero this time!
AG: I grew up here. Well I'm American as well so I feel like I have the right to be a hero!CLICK: You once said: ‘everyone has the potential to be everything’ what else could you have been?
AG: I could be an addict, I could be a down and out, I could be a bum…CLICK: Something positive?!
AG: [laughs] I could be… those things! One of the first films I did was this film Boy A and that really opened me up a lot to explore that world of a child killer, someone who’s been formed and within that just goes the wrong way. And in researching this movie I spent time with orphans and went to orphanages and tried to have a better understanding of that. And the sheer luck or lack thereof that lands you in your life. And how unjust it is that someone dropped on a doorstep, someone will be given birth to in the street and someone else will be given birth to in a palace. Just the sheer chaos of what it is to be a human being and how the nature/nurture thing. And that’s one of the thing I love about being an actor and studying these things if you get to research and try to understand deeper what it is to be a human being. And then you realise how lucky you are that you get to be in Cancun right now and not on the street somewhere. You realise you could have ended up anywhere – unless you believe in like karma and past lives and that which I don’t know if I do. So I must have done something good in a past life because I'm very, very lucky.CLICK: How did you find working with Marc Webb?
AG: Oh good, really really good. He was very generous with me and allowed me a lot of freedom to play and follow my instinct. And yea there was lot of discussion as the script kept changing. I felt like we could play, which was really nice.CLICK: You did mention that one part that wasn’t fun was the costume. What was it like seeing yourself on a massive billboard?
AG: The vanity aspect?CLICK: Sure.
AG: Well I worked really hard to make sure I would be proud of what my body was looking like so that’s fine. I was comfortable with my body is.CLICK: How about in terms of performing, was it hard to talk?
AG: Yea. But it was more just it gets you so irritable. You just get so irritated and kind of like antsy and feel hemmed in after a while. At first you feel very free and kind of anonymous. That’s the whole point of it and it’s a wonderful thing. But yea it can get quite… irritating. It’s just like a… I just moaned a lot about it.CLICK: How did you find being back at high school again?
AG: Being back in school sucked, I hated every second of it. But then of course becoming Spider-Man and walking around with the secret was pretty cool.CLICK: You mentioned you might be too old to play a teenager – Tobery Maguire was 25 when he got the role, now you’re 28. How old can teenagers gets?!
AG: Um… I was 26 when I got it. How old can teenagers get?CLICK: In terms of the people that play them?
AG: I don’t know, it’s not up to me! I still feel like a teenager but I knew I had to work on it. I didn’t want to just show up with stubble and act like a mature 28 year old. I worked physically, I tried to dredge up all the bullshit insecurities I had when I was a kid, all the pain I was going through as an adolescent and the torture that I put myself through. That I thought was real. And I worked hard because it’s such an important element- the fact that he’s a chaotic kid that doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. It’s an important element to the character.The Amazing Spider-Man is in cinemas from the 3rd of July. For more, see our content hub.