Andrew Garfield’s Passion and Purpose

“You better lawyer up, asshole, because I’m not coming back for 30%. I’m coming back for EVERYTHING.”

It’s one of the most memorable movie lines of 2010, in the most climactic scene of the acclaimed film The Social Network and it’s spoken by Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin. The stunned Saverin has just discovered that he has been betrayed by his best friend Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg). Garfield’s sympathetic performance as the loyal best friend of the Facebook founder has garnered praise from audiences and critics and most recently, received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Speaking with Garfield by telephone from Los Angeles, he shared some of his thoughts on the success of the film, “For the most part you work very hard on a movie and a whole crew of people work incredibly hard and give their time, their passion and creativity and you hope that a majority of people enjoy it and understand what its intention was.” Garfield added, “It’s really lucky and it definitely means something to me “.but the actual process of making the film was enough”.it surely was creatively a fulfilling process.”

On being able to speak Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue, “It’s very difficult to find smart dialogue”.to have these incredibly witty turns of phrases, these very complex yet so clear thought processes and structure within a scene and to have the characters so incredibly defined on top of that and all their intentions so well thought out and paved out “.it’s like”it’s insane”.it’s just something that doesn’t happen.” Garfield continued, “Even if you do nothing and you say the lines, the scene is going to work because it’s been orchestrated and composed like a piece of classical music. You just have to not get in the way of it.”

In his relatively short film career, Garfield has been impressive with an already diverse range of performances on his résumé. From his riveting portrayal of a reformed murderer trying to re-enter society after being institutionalized for many years in Boy A, to his portrayal of the doomed Tommy in the dystopian world of Never Let Me Go, Garfield is very good in portraying characters in extraordinary circumstances.

Born in Los Angeles to an American father and British mother, Garfield moved to England with his family when he was three. The 27 year old admits he didn’t really think of acting that seriously while growing up, “I think I went through a lot of doubts about acting when I was first trying it out at 17.” Garfield added, “I started playing around just doing school plays, really just for fun and to hang out with girls and not for much else.”

It wasn’t until there was a new drama teacher at his school, Mr. Philip Tong, that Garfield began to contemplate an acting career, “He gave me encouragement which is kind of what everyone needs at some point in their life and when someone is faced with the difficult decision of what you are going to be when you grow up.”

Garfield went on to graduate from The Central School of Speech and Drama in London, ” At the end of my drama school training I understood it wasn’t just a superficial vanity job and I kind of realized it could be a real act of generosity to put on a play, to make a film, to write a piece of music or to paint”I understood art and suddenly I realized how influenced I had been my art my whole life”.I consider myself very lucky to be able to do it for a living.”

After appearing on the stage in various productions, Garfield began to get offers to appear in television and in film. Garfield discussed the opportunity of working along side Peter Mullan very early in his film career in Boy A, “I was very scared and he was incredibly supportive and mentoring”he was the first to teach me to not worry about the cameras, to not be aware of where the cameras are”it doesn’t matter where the camera is, there is no camera”and as soon as you are able to fully believe in that, then you are fully able to be in the situation, there is no fourth wall, you are just there behaving and the camera is just picking up that behaviour.”

Garfield talked about how he first heard about The Social Network, “Scott Rudin had contacted my agent”very early on he thought I could fit in the film which is insanely cool”. that was a few months before I’d auditioned, before I’d heard about the script. I think my reaction like everyone else’s was confusion about what the founding of Facebook, what would that be like and then, of course you have David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin and you think whoa!, this has got to be the best thing ever”.it has to be greatest story ever told so I was incredibly chomping at the bit to read it.”

Garfield discussed working with Jesse Eisenberg who plays Zuckerberg, “We were both really excited about what we were about to start and in order to make sure that our relationship was believable, we needed to get to know each other and hang out and figure each other out and figure out our dynamic.” Garfield continued, “We managed to spend a lot of really quality time” we genuinely really did become friends”.a support system for each other.”

Speaking with Awards Daily in September at The Park Hyatt during The Toronto International Film Festival while promoting Never Let Me Go, Garfield was quite humble and philosophical about being an actor, “An actor isn’t an auteur, an actor is a vessel for someone else’s words”an actor’s job is to interpret life and interpret what it is to be alive and then try to share that in it’s purest form.”

Garfield has recently been named the new face of Spider-Man in the reboot of the franchise for 2012 and has already started filming. About the opportunity to play the iconic role Garfield said in Toronto, “It’s something you dream about when your four years old and how often does reality match up with a dream?” Garfield added,”You never think that you’re going to get a chance to portray a symbol that has meant so much to you since you were old enough to understand the concept of justice”it’s just an incredible thing.”

In our telephone conversation Garfield expressed a hope that he will one day be able to return to the stage, “I’ve been trying for years”.unfortunately there hasn’t been the right thing that’s come along” I can’t really do anything unless I really care about it and it has to mean something to me at the time”. I guess I’m waiting for something that really means something to me to come along.”

Garfield also spoke about the type of actors that inspire him, “The actors that excite me and inspire me are not selfish actors, they do it with purpose” they create characters and tell stories with purpose and generosity for an audience” it’s all to serve a story and the themes of the story. That’s what excites me.” Garfield continued, “I look at Daniel Day-Lewis, the detail of his performances and how lived in they are” he truly experiences every character’s reality that he steps into, that inspires me as well. The potential for exploring aspects of yourself that have been covered up for years or aspects of yourself you didn’t realize you had. To step into someone else’s shoes like Daniel Day-Lewis does so fully or like DeNiro does so fully.”

Garfield added, “I’m excited by actors with passion and actors with heart and who aren’t afraid of exposing themselves.” And whether he knows it or not, it is clear that Andrew Garfield is also describing himself.

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