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Andrew Garfield Says Making ‘Spider-Man’ Was ‘Heartbreaking’: Focus Was on Money Over Soul

Garfield, next up in Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Tick, Tick...Boom!," got candid about his experience starring in the MCU tentpole.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, Andrew Garfield, as Spider-Man, 2012. ph: Jamie Trueblood/©Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

©Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Andrew Garfield shot to international stardom playing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s beloved web-slinger in “The Amazing Spider-Man” in 2012, and then reprising the role in the 2014 sequel. Until then, he was mostly an indie character actor, starring in films like “Never Let Me Go” and “The Social Network.” While featuring in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is certainly a tony role for any up-and-coming actor, Garfield recently got candid about his experiences starring in the Sony films in an interview with The Guardian.

“I got my heart broken a little bit,” the American-British actor said. “I went from being a naive boy to growing up… How could I ever imagine that it was going to be a pure experience?”

He added, “There are millions of dollars at stake and that’s what guides the ship. It was a big awakening and it hurt.” (For context, the first Garfield Spidey film grossed more than $758 million worldwide, while the second amassed just above $709 million.)

“Comic-Con in San Diego is full of grown men and women still in touch with that pure thing the character meant to them. [But] you add in market forces and test groups and suddenly the focus is less on the soul of it and more on ensuring we make as much money as possible,” he said. “And I found that — find that — heartbreaking in all matters of the culture. Money is the thing that has corrupted all of us and led to the terrible ecological collapse that we are all about to die under.”

Then he added, “I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding. [Pause.] I mean, it’ll take a bunch of years before that happens.”

Garfield spoke to IndieWire earlier this year about his transition from the realm of “Spider-Man” to dramas such as 2021’s “Mainstream.” And next up, he stars as “Rent” playwright Jonathan Larson in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s feature directorial debut, “Tick, Tick…Boom!”

“I wanted to be Spider-Man since before I was able to speak,” he said, “but I think a lot of what I’ve done since has been about balancing myself out in a way. I think ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ and ‘Silence’ were a part of that. I think ‘99 Homes’ was a part of that.”

Either way, he’s off Spider-Man duties, as Tom Holland has assumed that post. Holland stars in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” opening on December 17 in theaters.

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