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On the Rise: Andrew Garfield of “The Social Network”

On the Rise: Andrew Garfield of "The Social Network"

An actor lined up to take on one of the biggest comic book franchises in the world wouldn’t normally make the cut for our On the Rise column. But when that young thespian, in this case 27 year-old shaggy haired Andrew Garfield, lands on the Hollywood tent pole ladder three years into his career, kudos deserve to be dolled out accordingly.

The actor can be seen in the massively hyped and praised (that’s an understatement) “The Social Network,” once it hits theaters this Friday. His next project is bound to brew even more anticipation. In 2012, Garfield will be be donning all-American spandex to sling webs and fight crime as Spider-Man in Marc Webb’s reboot of the Sam Raimi franchise. Like you didn’t know that already.

When Garfield was handpicked by Webb from a pool of vying contenders, many bemoaned the fact that Garfield was a Brit. Hate to disappoint, but he’s not, despite sporting a cropped English accent. Well, not 100-percent anyways. Garfield was in fact born in Los Angeles back in 1983 to a British mother and an American father. “I don’t support a football team,” Garfield told The Guardian, when asked about his background. “I’ve never had any affinity with any one particular thing. It means I can be in the sun and I don’t have to worry about a visa.” Not a bad deal.

He adopted his speech pattern after moving to Surrey, England, when he was three. During his early years he was a gymnast, a skill that will no doubt be handy in the Spidey role. As he told The Independent in 2008, “I’m good at physical things, though sometimes they’re a bit silly like Guitar Heroes, that’s a Playstation game, or hackey sack, silly physical things.” A nerd, and limber? Sounds like Peter Parker to us.

Prior to landing the role set to catapult him to the top of the Hollywood heap, Garfield built up a formidable resume, with roles in Robert Redford’s “Lions for Lambs,” Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” and Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go” (currently playing in a handful of cities and set to open wider October 8), opposite Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley.

He received his best acclaim for his turns in two little-seen films, both shot in England. For John Crowley’s “Boy A,” Garfield netted himself a BAFTA Award, as a young man released from prison years after committing an unforgivable crime. In “The Red Riding Trilogy,” released in U.S. theaters earlier this year, Garfield plays Eddie Dunford, a young reporter who gets himself entangled in series of heinous murders.

If these roles seem far removed from the cartoonish adventures of a comic book creation, credit Garfield’s ability to switch between genres due to the massive scope of his burgeoning ambition. “My dad is ambitious in a motivational way, and I share his need to be accomplished and his need to win,” he told The Guardian. “But as you are not always going to, this can be a curse. I’m insatiably curious. That’s another curse. I want to fit too much into one day. I want to live in New York and Rwanda and Australia all in a day. I want to be the best at it. I want my life to be validated by being the best.”

Seems like his ‘curse’ is panning out just fine.

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