In 2012, Andrew Garfield looked like a man about to have root-canal surgery. Which is less enthusiasm than you’d expect from an actor on the brink of becoming the superstar face of a Hollywood mega-franchise. It turns out Garfield was seriously freaked out by all the attention: the life-changing, no-going-back-ness of being famous.
Two years later, squeezing back into costume for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the British actor is as protective of his privacy as ever—still not answering questions about his real-life girlfriend Emma Stone (who plays Peter Parker’s ladylove Gwen Stacy). But this time he’s relaxed and smiling. Now 30 (“Am I a young man still? Or can I just say ‘man’?”), he seems to have shed a little of the self-doubt and mellowed, though he still brings that jumpy little-brother energy to Spidey.
“If I had had these opportunities when I was younger, I would have been Justin Bieber”
“I actually had more confidence for the second film because Spider-Man is more confident,” he says thoughtfully. “When Peter puts on the spandex he gets to save people’s lives. When he’s just Peter, he’s got to deal with just being Peter. It’s the same with me. When I’m not acting, I have to deal with myself and I go a bit crazy.”
As for fame, Garfield is just glad it came later on. “If I had had these opportunities when I was younger, I would have been Justin Bieber,” he says. “If you are a 16-year-old kid and you can do whatever you want, you’re making trillions of dollars and you have a leopard-print Ferrari, it’s not healthy. If I was going through what I’m going through now when I was 16, I might have ended up in jail.”
“I don’t want to be a 50-year-old in spandex”
With the second installment of the arachnoid blockbuster under his belt, Garfield is maturing into an expert on the character, as he proved when we quizzed him on all things Spider-Man. But how many more Spidey movies has he really got left in him?
“I can only do ten. No, seriously, I signed up to do three. Never say never. But I don’t want to be a 50-year-old in spandex.”
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens Fri May 2.