Andrew Garfield on His Increased Profile and the Differences in Acting on Stage & Film


If you have yet to hear about this Andrew Garfield fellow, you obviously haven’t been paying attention to the significant coverage of his starring role in Broadway’s recent revival of Death of a Salesman and the even bigger coverage of his turn as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man

It’s quite a jump for an actor who previously was best known for his supporting role in The Social Network.  Garfield spoke to the Wall Street Journal about filming The Amazing Spider-Man and how he is dealing with his much higher profile in the acting world.

As for the difference between starring in a play like Death of a Salesman and a movie like The Amazing Spider-Man, Garfield points out the obvious: a play is more physically draining and an actor has to get it right the first time.  He elaborates, “I probably shoot it in the exact same way. I think the only difference is you have to consider the back row, the people paying from those seats because they need to feel the play as much as the people in the front row. So you’ve got to look after your voice. That was pretty restrictive, I had to really take care of my voice and not do too much outside of the play because it was a really shout-y play. And a difficult emotional one. Doing play like that is not good for your body because your body doesn’t know that it isn’t real. You body is convinced that it is going through trauma every night so that’s a tough thing. That’s the nice thing about movies, you can f-up and f-up and f-up but as long as you have the time and the takes and the money; like on the Fincher movie [The Social Network], we had so many takes, so many opportunities to make mistakes until we got what David wanted. On a movie like Spider-Man it was different because we didn’t have as much time, which is a shame, and there were so many different parts.”

As an example of something that grew in the film, Garfield points to Spider-Man’s tendency to wisecrack.  He says, “That wasn’t in the script. A lot of that was improvised and added later. But Spider-Man has always been that to me. The witty guy that messes with people and is self deprecating and has a keen sense of humor. The anonymity that the mask gives him allows him to run free with that. The carjacker sequence, for example, was all improvised. It was all play really and it was important to me and to Marc [Webb, the director]. We were desperate for this to be the Spidey with the sense of humor.”

As for how the role in the sure-to-be mega-blockbuster will change his career, Garfield admits that it has raised the bar in terms of the caliber of talent he expects to work with.  He says, “I think you just follow your heart based on instinct and knowing who you are and what you care about. I get to rest and to choose what I do. I don’t have to take jobs to put food on the table right now. We all go through many iterations of pecking order in this life but once you’ve had the best sushi in New York, the best directors in the business, you don’t want to go to YO! Sushi.”

Representatives for YO! Sushi could not be reached for comment, but I doubt Garfield’s bash will prevent them from being among the millions going to see The Amazing-Spiderman.

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