Andrew Garfield on Working with Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Reaction to Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Balancing His Career

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It’s no longer a surprise to see Andrew Garfield go from starring in a blockbuster Spider-Man movie to appearing in an indie drama like 99 Homes. Nonetheless, his opinions on finding a balance between such projects and his experiences in his decade-long career reflect an actor who is still learning from his peers and finding his role in the industry. He spoke to The Daily Beast about also working with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and his thoughts on the reaction to The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Garfield worked with Philip Seymour Hoffman in the acting great’s final Broadway appearance, Death of a Salesman. He has nothing but praise for Hoffman, and says of that experience, “It’s one that I will never forget, and will always go back to it. He was a benchmark, a mentor as an artist and as a man, and I just loved him with all my heart. I feel so privileged that I got to be in the shit with him every night for four months. We were able to really have our souls brush up against each other in a very intimate—and scary—way. It was a wonderful experience.”

When the interviewer asks how Garfield is able to balance blockbuster projects like Spider-Man with indie dramas like 99 Homes, Garfield insists that there’s not much of a difference. He explains, “Well, Spider-Man is a passion project, too. I’m very passionate about Spider-Man. I can’t go to work unless it’s a passion project, which presents an interesting dichotomy of how those movies are perceived and how I feel about them. I try not to think too much about my career from an outside perspective. We all live in public, so there’s a camera on everything now—whether you’re famous or not—so you’re not just here in the moment with a fellow man, there’s also a camera over here watching you. What I see is people so willfully inviting the camera to watch and observe everything, and then suddenly there’s a third person there that you’re aware of and pandering to, so then you start asking questions like, ‘How does my career look?’ ‘How do I look?’ ‘Does it matter how I look, or is it important that I’m just here with my fellow man?’ Sorry, I’ve taken it to sort of a macro level.”

After Garfield spoke about dealing with being in the spotlight, he spoke about The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which many felt disappointed by. As far as Garfield is concerned, some important parts were left on the cutting room floor. He reveals, “I read a lot of the reactions from people and I had to stop because I could feel I was getting away from how I actually felt about it. For me, I read the script that Alex [Kurtzman] and Bob [Orci] wrote, and I genuinely loved it. There was this thread running through it. I think what happened was, through the pre-production, production, and post-production, when you have something that works as a whole, and then you start removing portions of it—because there was even more of it than was in the final cut, and everything was related. Once you start removing things and saying, ‘No, that doesn’t work,’ then the thread is broken, and it’s hard to go with the flow of the story. Certain people at the studio had problems with certain parts of it, and ultimately the studio is the final say in those movies because they’re the tentpoles, so you have to answer to those people.”

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