"Andrew Garfield"

Primary Authors: Alec Westerbur, Kristine Copeland, David Deview

The primary authors are the individuals who drafted the first version of the material which could have been different than the currently published version.

A strikingly varied body of work distinguishes Andrew Garfield's resume. Although he is only 31 years of age, he has a formal grounding in stage acting and has appeared in screen roles such as the lead in The Amazing Spider Man (2012), one of the biggest-grossing film franchises of all time.

On 20 August 1983, Garfield was born in Los Angeles, California to Lynn Hillman, and Richard Garfield. Neither parent was in show business. Lynn ran a small interior design business and later became a teaching assistant. Richard was the head coach of the Guilford City Swimming club. His father's side of the family is Jewish. His grandfather, Samuel Garfinkle, who later changed it to Garfield, was born in London but his parents were Polish Jewish immigrants. Garfiels's grandmother was also born in London but was of Russian Jewish and Romanian Jewish descent. His mother's side of the family is English.

When Garfield was three years old, he and his family returned to the United Kingdom to live in Surrey. During his adolescence, he went to the city of London Freeman's School. At age 16, he developed an interest in acting instead of business which had been his original focus.

While in school, Garfield began acting in youth theatre productions. One of his theatre teachers did not consider him good enough to pursue acting, but Garfield did not listen. It was only when Phil Tong joined the theatre program at Garfield's school that his abilities were recognized. Tong was the new theatre teacher who had a lot of faith in Garfield's acting ability. "He seemed to have a very natural talent and I told him he should really do this at A-level." says Tong.

Once Garfield turned 19, he was accepted into the prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama in London and began his training in earnest. After graduating, he continued with acting classes in his family's hometown of Guilford in Surrey and appeared in local productions of a number of stage plays including Bugsy Malone. He went on to do other roles in regional theaters in England and began to win awards; even as he actively sought out television work.

When Garfield was in his early 20s, he was cast in a two-part episode of the cult hit Dr. Who (2005). Dr. Who is a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) production with fans all over the world. Garfield played a character named Frank who was a boy from Tennessee who was living in New York City's Hooverville during the Great Depression. By 2007, Garfield was taking on more projects in England, in television and on the stage.

Garfield's stage and television roles in England drew the attention of the producers of the American film Lions for Lambs (2007) which starred Robert Redford and Tom Cruise. Although the film was not a financial success, it was a very high-profile debut for Garfield. As had been the case during other points in his career, his acting drew critical acclaim and Garfield was positioned for consideration for larger film roles in higher budget films.

Just three years later, Garfield won the role of Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder of Facebook, in the film The Social Network (2010). Garfield's part did not result in as much screen time as his co-stars Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake; yet he won critical praise and numerous awards for his acting, such as a Golden Globe, an MTV movie award, and an award from the Screen Actors Guild. The film later went on to win three Oscars.

Next came the offer of the role of Peter Parker in the Spiderman series. To become associated with such a huge blockbuster film is often seen as a mixed blessing by an actor. It is difficult for young actors, or any actors, to conceive of a downside to a huge paycheck and fame, yet there are pitfalls to this type of success. Might they become typecast as a super-hero and not taken seriously in other roles? Would future roles ever again match or exceed the success of starring in a film as big Spiderman? Expectations change and incredible pressures are part of this sort of professional success. Toby Maguire , the actor who starred as Spiderman in the first film, had an opportunity to speak with Garfield about his experience in accepting the role in the sequel.

Although the first Spiderman movie starring Toby Maguire was an enormous hit, McGuire declined to sign for the sequel and Garfield was then offered the role. Garfield was interviewed by Toby once filming for The Amazing Spider-man 2 began. They began the interview by discussing the new film, and how excited McGuire was to hear about the new project. McGuire was enthused by the fact Marc Webb was directing it and that Andrew was going to be the new Peter Parker.

McQuire admires Garfield's acting, so he was curious about the process of getting the lead role. Garfield to stated that it was a basic but a rather long and pressure-filled process. Near the end of the interview, Garfield explained what it meant to him to don the iconic suit of his favorite super-hero. "I just feel such a great responsibility to the story and to the fans, because I know in my heart how much this character means to people, because it means that much to me. For the sake of all the people who care about it as much as I do-I want to bring the character to life and make sure they're as satisfied as they can possibly be. Peter Parker is such a positive character-he's pure wish fulfillment, an underdog. I grew so much from him when I was a kid, from the comics all the way up to the first movie you were in."

It was clear that, from the beginning, Garfield took his obligation to the role of Spiderman and to the viewing public very seriously. It is difficult to consider a film, which grossed over $700,000,000 in its worldwide release, a failure and box-office disappointment, yet, some critics made this claim. At the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, Garfield addressed the issue and laid blame. "I think what happened was, through the pre-production, production, and post-production, when you have something that works as a whole, and then you start removing portions of it-because there was even more of it than was in the final cut, and everything was related. Once you start removing things and saying, 'No, that doesn't work,' then the thread is broken, and it's hard to go with the flow of the story. Certain people at the studio had problems with certain parts of it, and ultimately the studio is the final say in those movies because they're the tent poles, so you have to answer to those people."

It is understandable that Garfield would come to the defense of the film. The Amazing Spider-man was his biggest film role and most successful film. He received worldwide recognition playing the lead role of Peter Parker. Spider-man had been Garfield's hero since he was a small child. "As an adolescent, Spider-man was what got me through tough times in terms of being a skinny kid."

While in the midst of filming Spiderman, Garfield was approached about a role in the Mike Nichols directed Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. He did not hesitate. "I was in the middle of a big blockbuster movie, and I wanted some great writing." Miller's 1949 play is a mainstay of American drama and a showcase for serious actors. From February until the summer of 2012, Garfield played the role of Biff Loman, sharing the stage with the late Oscar-winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Garfield earned a Tony nomination for Featured Actor in a drama. Overall, the production gathered seven Tony nominations.

Garfield has always drawn a sharp distinction between his public life as an actor and his private life. His relationship with his current girlfriend is no exception. He does not speak publicly about Emma Stone. Although it is rather obvious that they are in a relationship, when confronted by reporters, they refuse to make comments or answer questions. At the London premier of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Garfield was rather rude to a red carpet reporter who referred to Emma as his girlfriend. "Who's my girlfriend?" he snapped. "You're making an assumption to my personal life, and my personal life is not public property." After that, he had enough with the questions.

Garfield will star in Ramin Bahrani's 99 Homes (2014), and in Martin Scorsese's Silence (2015).

Andrew Garfield continues to do charity work with The Amazing Spider-man cast. Andrew also supports the Stand Up To Cancer Foundation, Starlight Children's Foundation, and Worldwide Orphans Foundation.

Works Consulted


Andrew Garfield on cover of Entertainment, 22 July 2013