Andrew Garfield’s time playing Peter Parker on the big screen was cut short after the critical and commercial beating “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” took in summer 2014. The Marc Webb-directed superhero movie was so universally loathed that it shut down Sony’s plans for a live-action Spider-Man movie universe and led the studio to partner with Disney and allow the character to be integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where he’s played by Tom Holland. Garfield recently told Uproxx he made it a priority after “Amazing Spider-Man 2” to distance himself from being thought of as a comic book movie actor.
“I think I’ve been aware of that possibility that such a seminal, iconic role can follow an actor around and it takes a lot to shift the consciousness of an audience, and shift the consciousness of people,” Garfield said. “But I feel like I’ve been really intense on doing that since finishing Spider-Man. And I feel I’m just a bit more comfortable that I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve in a sense of just coming back to being known as an actor that is interested in lots of different kinds of stories and different kinds of characters.”
Garfield’s post-“Spider-Man” career led him to starring as the lead in Mel Gibson’s war drama “Hacksaw Ridge.” Garfield starred as Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector in WWII who refused to be armed on the battlefield and ended up winning the Medal of Honor. Garfield’s work earned him his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Garfield also took to theater after “Spider-Man,” recently winning the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance in “Angels in America.” The actor’s most recent release is David Robert Mitchell’s “Under the Silver Lake,” which topped the indie box office in its debut weekend.
While Garfield made it a mission to remind audiences he is more than just Spider-Man, he’s not completely abandoning the most high profile character of his movie career thus far. “Under the Silver Lake” includes a meta easter egg when Garfield’s character, Sam, gets a “Spider-Man” comic book cover stuck to his bloodied hand.
“It was in the script when I read it,” Garfield told Uproxx. “And I thought, oh, I wonder if David put this in as a meta thing? Just because I’m reading it? And I asked him about it, and he said, ‘No, that’s just in the script. Should we take it out? Maybe we should take it out.’ And I said, ‘No, I love it.’ I love that there are little subtle ways that the script is nodding to itself, and the film is nodding to itself and winking at the audience. I love all that stuff. I find that stuff really gleeful as an audience member.”
Even more meta is that the “Spider-Man” cover is for an issue where Gwen Stacy comes back to life. In “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Gwen (played by Emma Stone) is killed and the film ends with Peter Parker mourning the loss of his girlfriend.
“I love that,” Garfield said of “Silver Lake’s” Spider-Man nod. “I was really adamant we keep it in. I really enjoyed that feeling of something being stuck to you that you’d like to just be able to move on from. You know what I mean?”
Head over to Uproxx to read Garfield’s interview in its entirety.