Actor Andrew Garfield (a White man in his late 30s with brown hair) poses in a pool of water, dressed in a white shirt and green suit jacket, pulling his hair back somewhat seductively
Credit: Variety

We Need To Talk About The Garfussy: the Andrew Garfield Renaissance

By Ashmita Shanthakumar

Ashmita dives into the second pandemic currently raging: the entire internet gushing over Mr Garfield.

What can I say about Andrew Garfield? For one, I’m happy he’s finally receiving the mainstream attention he deserves (if you’re a tumblr user or an OG The Amazing Spider Man fan, you probably never stopped seeing him). After his incredible return as Spider-man in Spider-man: No Way Home, quirky roles in both The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Mainstream, and most prominently his Oscar nominated role in Tick Tick Boom, he’s had a real renaissance on screen and online with an intense fan resurgence. Let’s look back on his career and background and what makes him so captivating …

Andrew Russell Garfield born in LA and raised in England. He didn’t consider acting as a career until one of his friends persuaded him to do it as an A-level. He later attended the Central School of Speech and Drama (a UK conservatoire) for three years and received acclaim for his part in theatre productions. You might remember around this early 2000s period, his small parts in British TV shows, such as Doctor Who’s iconic “Daleks Take Manhattan” episode). Getting his foot in fancier projects, he then starred in American films, such as Lions for Lambs, Never Let Me Go, and more. His performance in The Social Network was notable for its heart and vulnerability (which contrasted heavily with Zuckberg’s robotic disposition).

Garfield has long been an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. While he doesn’t identify as queer he says that he, “has an openness to any impulses that may arise … at any time”. One of the first inklings of his support for the community was when he refused to apologize for suggesting in an interview that Peter Parker be bisexual and have a boyfriend. SONY executives put pressure on him but he refused to back down, affirming, “OK, so you want me to make sure that we get the bigots and the homophobes to buy their tickets?”. Garfield has played prominent LGBTQ+ roles including Prior Walter in Angels in America on Broadway, for which he won a Tony award. In his portrayals he has shown his grace and love for the LGBTQ+ community, and has expressed how grateful he is for having the opportunity to be part of their story. 

Andrew Garfield’s iteration of Spider-man in The Amazing Spider-man series is beloved by many, with his quippy sensibilities and romance with Gwen Stacy (and his on-off again relationship with Emma Stone in real life) engrossing fans. When it came to his performance in No Way Home, I was blown away. Even though I’ve seen the movie in theatres three times now I still get excited at his appearance. The emotional moments where he spoke to his experience of grieving Gwen and his poignant save of MJ, along with his interactions with his fellow Spider-man, hit home how amazing *pun-intended* of a spider-man he really was and is. A general consensus is that in this latest film, he was acting circles around everyone and was the highlight of the movie. It made me wish he got more movies in his franchise, but who knows, Marvel may have some steam left in them yet …

A big part of the Andrew Garfield Renaissance is his eloquent and fun disposition in interviews. For most of us these clips are the only time we get to glimpse an actor’s personality as themselves and not as one of the characters they play. Whether it’s his reading of thirsty tweets  (where he goes on a tangent about octopi), his hearty laughing at his zodiac signs, or his passionate denials of reappearing as Spider-man, you can tell he is an extremely personable person to be around and has a unique lens for his craft. Most significantly, you can gauge from interviews, Garfield’s sensitive and impassioned outlook on the world. His perspective on grief after his mother’s death (that he offered in a Stephen Colbert interview) was genuinely moving, saying, “I hope this grief stays with me. Because it’s all the unexpressed love that I didn’t get to tell her”.

Whether this article has taught you something new about Andrew Garfield or piqued your interest in exploring his filmography, I hope you choose, in some capacity, to stand on the right side of history and engage in the Andrew Garfield Renaissance.


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