Andrew Garfield has had a big year. From recently being cast as the new Spiderman in Mark Webb's reboot of the series, to two back-to-back roles of considerable acclaim in Mark Romanek's "Never Let Me Go" and David Fincher's "The Social Network," Garfield has leaped from an up-and-comer to a clear presence in young Hollywood. Thankfully, he's kept his modesty and dedication to his work in tow. When he spoke to indieWIRE about his past year, it was clear that his rise to celebrity status is not what he's most proud of.
"The only real difference [between now and a year ago] is that people have seen the films and seemed to have responded positively, which I is really nice," Garfield said of the latter half of 2010, when both "Never Let Me Go" and "The Social Network" premiered within weeks of each other. "But outside of that, it's just been kind of another year of working hard. And working on things that I really, really care about. That said, it does makes a great difference to how you wake up in the morning and it's nice to know that this thing you were a part of has touched someone in some way or has provoked them in some way or inspired them or reassured them or whatever. Of course it's a wonderful, wonderful feeling. But actually it's secondary to the actual filming experience. It has to be. Otherwise it's much too heartbreaking. Because the majority of the projects you're going to be a part of aren't going to get a good response. Everyone out there has their own opinion, and we all have our own subjective realities."
Garfield said that both filming experiences were collectively his "favorite" of his young career, which began with work on British television in the mid-2000s, and has also included significant roles in "Boy A," "Lions For Lambs," and "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus."
"With 'Never Let Me Go,' it was working on such deep and soulful material with such a gifted group of actors, as well as a very gifted director and writer and cinematographer," he said. "It was actually a really joyous experience making what's actually such a sad film. It was also a really exploratory experience. There was nothing didactic about how we were directed, it was all very free and open and we could really play."
Garfield said that to go from "Go" into "The Social Network" was equally exhilarating.
"To be a part of a cast with actors I'd admired so greatly... as well as this director, writer and producer that were sort of a holy trinity," he said. "I mean, David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin and Scott Rudin. It was very strange and exciting to be in that company. And then of course, during shooting, it was very fulfilling. We were given this incredible script to work with. We had this incredible dialogue and these richly drawn characters we got to embody and inhabit."
In both casts, Garfield was surrounded by casts made up of almost entirely other actors of his generation, from Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightly in "Never Let Me Go" to Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara, Armie Hammer and Max Minghella in "The Social Network." Garfield said that being surrounded by so many young actors on both sets was "beyond wonderful."
"We kept each other on our toes," he said.
Garfield also cherished the reunions the casts have had time and time again through a series of promotion tours, film festival screenings and premieres.
"It's so, so lovely," he smiled. "When you are a part of something that people respond to and like, you feel very fortunate to be involved in any small way. So us coming back together in a celebratory way going 'can you believe this? I thought I was terrible in it? Oh me too! I thought I was terrible in it.' We had no objectively about the films, because we were only focused on our jobs. Above all, somehow... the casting directors managed to assemble a group of young people that were not only incredibly talented - and I'm not including myself in this - but we also all just got along, and still do... So when we see each other at these very strange events, it's kind of like we are kind of an anchor for each other. We will kind of congregate and root ourselves to each other and stand strong and await all of the aggression. Because events like film festivals and premieres are odd and kind of scary to be at. So it's really, really nice... As it is to just come together and be proud of something."
Garfield and his cast members - particularly those from "The Social Network" - are very likely headed for another round of reunions as awards season begins heating up. "Network" is clearly one of the frontrunners of this year's Oscars, and Garfield himself a good bet for a supporting actor nomination for his work as Eduardo Saverin, one of the co-founders of Facebook.
"It's something that luckily I don't have to think about," he said. "Because if you think about it you'll kind of implode and you'll stop focusing on the role. These are things that you can't control... And I also think it's a real ensemble effort, with Jesse [Eisenberg] as the epicenter. I think we all worked as hard as each other and we all worked for each other and for the story. And every day on set we were focused and guided by David Fincher, who put the story to us at every turn. There was never any ego in his direction and he never, ever made a superfluous choice as to how he wanted the scenes to be played. It always to move the story forward and make sure the story was being told in the best possible way. So I mean, I have no idea about awards... I'm really kind of confused about it. But if people liked the movie and liked us as a cast of actors, then I'm not going to argue with it. I'll just smile and say 'that's really cool that you think that, and that that's really generous.'"
Check out this audio clip for more from Mr. Garfield.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is part of a daily December series that will feature new or previously published interviews, profiles and first-persons of some of the year's best filmmakers, writers, actors and actresses.
Previous Honor Roll 2010 Entries:
December 6: "I Am Love"'s Tilda Swinton and Luca Guadagnino
December 5: "Waste Land" Director Lucy Walker
December 4: "Restrepo" Directors Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
December 3: "Another Year" Actress Lesley Manville
December 2: "Please Give" Director Nicole Holofcener
December 1: "Winter's Bone" Director Debra Granik