The New York Times’ Cara Buckley has a new profile of Andrew Garfield, in which she reveals how the star of Silence and Hacksaw Ridge made the leap “from Spider-Man to holy man.” Turns out, there are a great many things we didn’t know about Emma Stone’s ex-boyfriend. For instance: Did you know that when Andrew Garfield was 8, his hero was Mahatma Gandhi? Or that he spent a year “using a small rented West Village apartment as a quasi-monastic retreat” to prepare for Martin Scorsese’s Silence and is now an expert in Jesuit spirituality? Or that he has deeply felt opinions on such topics as “celebrity toxicity, spiritual steadfastness, authentic living and God”?
Here, a few selected pearls of wisdom from the gospel of Andrew Garfield:
Smooch thine enemies.
One of his life goals at the time was to seek out the schoolyard bully and envelop him in a warm embrace … “My first impulse was to give him a hug and a kiss and tell him he was all right, and that he didn’t have to behave that way.” He paused, a few moments later adding, “Of course, I became his main target, because I saw him so deeply.”
An empty belly yields a nourished soul.
“There’s something about fasting, about being empty enough to allow the spirit in, to hear and to listen and to be guided,” Mr. Garfield said. “To be with that silent void, that chaos in ourselves, that’s what the character goes through. He gets the most profound bliss and joy because he hangs in there with the void, with the seeming darkness.”
Capitalism is corrosive.
“It’s a really sick old Hollywood kind of patriarchal value system, based on commerce and money and who’s the hottest and who’s going to bring in the big bucks,” he said. “I’m not saying that an organization like the academy doesn’t acknowledge and honor talent; it’s evident they do. But it coexists with the commerce aspect. Sometimes I feel the tail is wagging the dog. And I struggle with that.”
Brush thy soul against greatness.
[Mike] Nichols became one of Mr. Garfield’s dearest mentors, and his death, along with Mr. Hoffman’s in 2014 — “I’m so lucky I got to brush my soul against him every night,” Mr. Garfield said — left him lastingly bereft.
To forgive is divine.
“We [Garfield and Hacksaw Ridge director Mel Gibson] talked about everything, all about that period in his life, and the years since, and his sobriety, and the work he’s done and the healing he’s done within himself, and those others that he consulted and hurt,” Mr. Garfield said. “He’s a very loving man, a crazy loyal man, sensitive and caretaking, and he’s not drinking, and it’s a really beautiful, beautiful thing.”
Renounce false idols.
“If I could have kept the mask on the whole time, it would have been better, because I don’t have interest in being known for a character,” Mr. Garfield said of his time as Spidey (he also starred in the 2014 sequel). “I have no interest in being known as a celebrity; celebrity is a pretty disgusting word. It’s part of the brainwashing of the culture, part of the false idolatry of those that are only human, and I don’t want to participate in that.”
Bless his soul.