Andrew Garfield: From Spider-Man to Man of Faith
Though actor Andrew Garfield has in the past described himself as “pantheist, agnostic, occasionally atheist and a little bit Jewish, but mostly confused,” according to the Hollywood Reporter, it would appear that those days of darkness and tumult have passed him by.
In preparation for his new film, Silence — in which he portrays a Jesuit Catholic priest named Sebastian Rodriguez — Garfield spent his days practicing the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius.
The experience, he claims, has changed his outlook; he now acknowledges and even welcomes the presence of God in his life.
“What was really easy was falling in love with this person, was falling in love with Jesus Christ. That was the most surprising thing… That was the most remarkable thing—falling in love, and how easy it was to fall in love with Jesus.”
So the actor said in an interview with American Magazine, an interview in which he also described the grueling rehearsal process and the life-changing effect that it had on him.
The Story Behind the Transformation
Silence tells the story of a pair of Jesuit priests who end up losing their faith while facing persecution in Japan. It’s interesting, therefore, that Garfield’s experience would have the opposite effect, giving him a newfound connection with Jesus Christ.
Imagining himself in the daily life of Jesus Christ, placing himself “in each [New Testament] scene, much like being an actor,” gave him a much-needed and appreciated empathy for the Savior.
“I felt so bad for [Jesus] and angry on his behalf when I finally did meet him, because everyone has given him such a bad name… And he has been used for so many dark things,”
Said Garfield in the American Magazine interview. It was impossible not to empathize with Jesus under such circumstances.
The experience, Garfield says, is one that he would never wish to sacrifice, claiming that his empathy brought him “consolation” throughout the rehearsal process. It’s a consolation that may have been sorely needed.
To play Rodriguez, Garfield lost 40 pounds and spent six months living in celibacy — therefore displaying a devotion to his craft that’s usually attributed to Oscar-caliber actors like Daniel Day-Lewis.
Garfield’s experience and transformation are a testament to the fact that God is here and waiting for everyone, not just the ones who have taken him into their hearts from the very beginning of their lives.
In his interview with Stephen Colbert, Garfield says he’s always been leery of organized religion, not wanting to be pigeonholed when it comes to matters of faith, he found the things he learned about Jesus to be life-changing.