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Andrew Garfield: ‘I love my job but I was burning out’

The star of ‘Under the Silver Lake’ talks mad dreams, being scared of horror films and taking some time out to watch ‘Game Of Thrones’
Andrew Garfield holding an old camera
Andy Parsons
By Olly Richards |
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From ‘The Social Network’ to ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’, Andrew Garfield has starred in plenty of acclaimed films. But his latest, from David Robert Mitchell (‘It Follows’), is dividing critics. ‘Under the Silver Lake’ is an intriguing neo-noir thriller with Garfield as a strange young man investigating the disappearance of his neighbour. His journey takes him into an adventure that is nightmarish, surreal and very confusing. The actor tells us about starring in a movie that even he can’t make sense of.

This is a pretty mad film. Did you fully understand it when you read the script? 
‘No and I still don’t. It’s still a conundrum to me. I don’t think it’s designed to be understood. It’s designed to be experienced. It’s like a dream. I had a dream last night that I was flying on the wings of a dragon while playing sudoku and feeding my unborn daughter sushi. I’ll never know what that means but it means something… This film is what it is and it doesn’t apologise.’

Were you familiar with David’s work?
‘I’m a real wimp when it comes to horror films. I had to watch “It Follows” on my laptop in the middle of the day, occasionally taking breaks to look out the window, walk around outside in the sun, remind myself it’s not real. It was the freakiest, scariest thing I’ve ever seen but I loved it so much.’

‘I love my job and don’t see it as a job, but in the same breath I was burning out’

Some people absolutely love this film and others hate it. How do you feel about that?
‘I’ve been in films everyone’s loved. I’ve been in films people were a bit “meh” on, but I’ve never been involved in one that’s been totally polarising. I think it’s great! It’s the beauty of subjective art forms – I’m not into Andy Warhol, but I know a whole lot of people are.’

Onto ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’. Word has it there was nearly a scene with you, Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland together as Spider-Men. Was that something you were made aware of?
‘No, I wasn’t aware of it but that would have been fun. I loved the movie. I thought it was so mind-bending and inventive, in a way you don’t get away with in live action.’

You haven’t made a film since shooting ‘Under the Silver Lake’ in 2016. You did ‘Angels in America’ on stage in London and New York, but has it been a deliberate decision to take a break from movies?
‘I’ve had some family stuff happening, which is what’s predominantly taking up my time, and I don’t feel the need to share beyond that. I’ve been feeling a pressure, which I think everyone feels at the moment, to be always producing and making and hustling… I love my job and don’t see it as a job, but in the same breath I was burning out. I was back-to-back since the Spider-Man days. I’m just realising that I want to slow down.’

Andrew Garfield as Sam in ‘Under the Silver Lake’

What have you been doing?
‘Spending time with family and friends, going on trips, reading books, watching TV box sets. I caught up on all of fucking “Game of Thrones”. I had no idea! I watched “Breaking Bad”! I hadn’t seen any of this shit. Amazing shit!’

Ideal time to be getting into ‘Game of Thrones’, with the final series coming up.
‘I fucking nailed it! Did it in a month.’

Any theories on who is going to be on the throne at the end?
‘I kind of don’t care. I just want to see it play out. I love all the characters so much and they’re all so brilliantly played that I know that it’s going to be amazing. I just want to go along for the ride. I don’t want Tyrion to die.’

‘Under the Silver Lake’ opens in cinemas and on demand on Fri Mar 15. Read our review of the film here.

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