Exclusive: Andrew Garfield

Mimi ON Feb 02, 2011 AT 3:27 pm

Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go

Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go

To say Andrew Garfield is on a roll right now is something of an understatement. In addition to his part as a human clone opposite Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley in Never Let Me Go and his role as Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, in The Social Network – even earning him Oscar nods – Garfield will soon don Spider-Man’s signature red and blue suit in Marc Webb’s 3D reboot of the Marvel comic.

Born in Los Angeles in 1983 to Anglo-American parents, Garfield moved to England with his family aged three and later studied at London’s Central School of Speech & Drama. In 2007, he made Variety’s 10 Actors To Watch, having come to Hollywood’s attention in the TV film Boy A, playing a recently-released child murderer, which led to him being cast as a disaffected student in Lions For Lambs, opposite the film’s director-star Robert Redford. He followed it with roles in The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus and as an ambitious newspaper reporter in the award-winning miniseries Red Riding.

Here, speaking both on the set of Never Let Me Go and after filming was completed, Garfield talks about the attraction of playing Tommy, working with Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan and how dieting for his character’s completion scenes made him appreciate just how much he loves food…

Andrew Garfield as Spiderman

Andrew Garfield as Spiderman

What was it about the role of Tommy that attracted you?

Gosh man, it’s one of those rare ones, one of those rare stories that comes along where you go, ‘This is utterly unique, this is epic’. I hadn’t read the book but I read the script and thought, ‘This is fascinating and interesting and odd and deeply, deeply human and sad’. And then I read the book and it just filled all the space in my imagination in. You go, ‘This is life and death, this is an epic story of life and death and how short our time is, everything we experience in our own life’. These kids aren’t any different, it’s just a much more extreme situation for them. So I got excited about that and I had met Mark Romanek in Los Angeles when he started casting, just me and him and his camera and I found his energy to be really exciting and playful and open and free and that was one of the funniest auditions I’ve had in a while, and I felt immediately that I wanted to do this. It was one of those rare things where everything gets in unison and why wouldn’t I do it? It’s a no-brainer and I find it difficult to make a decision to do something unless it’s a no-brainer and this one was, Fuck yes, if they’ll have me.

How did you work out how to play Tommy who, after all, is a human clone?

The simple fact is they have no mother, they have no father, they have no birthday, they have no identity, really. The only identity they’ve learnt is of a school environment. They haven’t been nurtured in a way that is relative to me. In my own personal life I’ve had a lovely upbringing. My family are beautiful people and they showered me with love, but I think the most important thing is that underneath all of this behaviour and the learning, is a human soul. That’s how I see it. It’s similar to someone being brought up in foster care, similar to someone who has been in an institution all his life, who has learnt behaviour to protect himself or herself more. So there’s a great physical landscape to play with and the relationships are kind of slightly skewed, but underneath it all there is this very empathetic, human thing. They are humans, they’re human clones. So I’m trying to approach it with an open heart, I guess, trying to make it as personal to myself as possible. As soon as I separate myself from Tommy then it’s like I’m reaching and I’m showing something. If I just accept he’s somewhere inside of me, then I find it within, and hopefully it reads.

You mentioned open heart, but in your character’s case it’s kidney and lungs and whatever else is required as a donor…

Precisely man, precisely. It’s a horrible story because it devalues human life. Whether they’re clones or not, they’re made up of the exact same things as you and I and even though it’s not happened, even though we haven’t started harvesting human clones for their organs, there are certain parts of our society that see certain classes as worthless. I don’t think it’s exclusive to this Never Let Me Go world, I think it’s a reflection on how we treat each other, actually.

Click here to continue reading our interview with Andrew and to see the TRAILER for Never Let Me Go…

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