Andrew Garfield has developed a habit of giving incredibly honest interviews. Outside of maybe Helen Mirren, I can’t think of any celebrity right now who has less of a filter with reporters. However, unlike Helen Mirren, his words don’t have that “no f*cks given” attitude. Actually, he seems to give ALL the f*cks. We’ve seen this before from Garfield, this flood of conscious approach in which no thought is left unsaid, that sometimes borders on, and often crosses right over into just plain painful. When he sat down with Vulture to promote his new real estate thriller, 99 Homes, he started off by saying outright he didn’t know why he was there. Not just there in that room, there as in doing this job.
Why the fuck am I doing this? Coming in today to do interviews, I’m like, Why? I know that I’m an actor and it’s part of the job, and I feel lucky I get to do that, but with the interviews, it’s such a weird thing. What do I have to say?
I have very little patience for actors who shit on promotional interviews and press junkets. Yes, they are exhausting, and you get asked the same dumb questions 100 times, which is likely to make anyone go insane. But as someone who spent much of my life working in the theatre, with the majority of my friends working as struggling actors, directors, writers, and designers in both theatre and film, it’s annoying as hell when people being paid millions of dollars to make a movie complain about the extra work they have to do beyond just the artistic side. If you want to be an actor, there are plenty of projects out there that don’t require huge international press tours. You do not get paid millions to just make a movie— you are also then responsible for selling that movie. It’s part of your job. Deal with it.
Andrew Garfield, though, has clearly passed the “I hate doing interviews” stage of celebrity, and has moved to the “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life and what’s the point of doing anything if we’re all going to die and be forgotten one day anyway?” stage. To be fair, it has to be really hard talking about this movies’ subject matter in interview after interview, having to discuss the way the poor are systematically screwed over.
It’s so heavy even talking about it. Hearing you talk, I just suddenly feel like my head is wrapped in cellophane. How do we wake up, how do I wake up, what do I do? Because I can stand here and be like, “We need to fucking do shit.” I can say that. But if I’m not doing anything, what the fuck am I really doing?When the interviewer, Kyle Buchanan, suggests, “Art is part of it. Art can make people see things in a different way than an editorial in a newspaper,” Garfield responds with “Why don’t you just do this interview? You’re saying the right shit.”
There’s something almost beautiful and respectable about the way Garfield lets his entire self pour out in every interview. I just wish what he let out wasn’t so worrisome. He has a lot that he’s working through, as a person and as an actor. (Not that he seems to know how those two things are separate.) And, for better or for worse, he’s doing it right in front of us.
Garfield: Something shifted with the Spider-Man stuff. It was a character that I wanted to play my whole life and not one part of me was indifferent … but I got incredibly uncomfortable with the attention that just came with that job. It was nothing to do with me, it was to do with this idea of celebrity. Hopefully I’m just more myself as I get older and as I grow, but in our culture they’re telling us to be something totally fucking different.Hopefully, now that Garfield has gotten a taste of (and been burned by) the superhero mega-blockbuster machine, he’ll find his place doing movies like 99 Homes that make him feel good about his celebrity. He ended the interview (which you should absolutely read in full) by saying,
Buchanan: You feel like the culture is hostile to you?
Garfield: Yes. I’m not accepted. None of us are accepted in this culture. We’re only accepted if we are … well, name it.
Buchanan: White, famous, heterosexual …
Garfield: …Handsome, charming, charismatic, thin-enough eyebrows to be beautiful, but thick enough to still be masculine. We are told constantly we’re not enough, we’re told constantly that we don’t have enough, we’re told constantly that we’ll never be enough. It’s that dangling-carrot thing.
That was my experience with the Spider-Man thing. It’s like, “Oh, fuck, my life is now great!” But in fact, I’m still fucked up in my own ways, and insecure, and scared, and don’t really know who I am. Celebrity is the new religion, as far as I can see, along with money, power, status. It’s all the same umbrella — the seductive forces of evil, really.
I sincerely want to help create beauty in the world and move a culture of separateness back towards community. I really, really do, and I think art is a powerful way of doing that. I hope this film is a little step towards that in terms of a conversation. It may be an indictment of all of us.