Earlier than he made Tick, Tick… Growth!, Andrew Garfield was not a lot of a singer. “Within the first play I did — only a children’ neighborhood theatre manufacturing after I was 14 — we did Bugsy Malone, however I performed Fats Sam, the one non-singing function,” he says. “Later I failed miserably in my singing strand at drama faculty. After that, I put my singing ambitions on the shelf.”
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was the one who impressed him to mud off that shelf. After seeing Garfield carry out on stage in Tony Kushner’s Angels In America, Miranda invited the actor for lunch and instructed him about Jonathan Larson and Tick, Tick… Growth!, Miranda’s adaptation of Larson’s one-man present about his struggles for fulfillment earlier than creating the hit stage musical Lease. Garfield remembers the director telling him, “Should you’re not tone-deaf, I believe you will get your voice to a spot the place you will be Jon.”
Garfield thought it might work if he was prepared to place within the vocal coaching, and likewise as a result of Larson himself was not “a extremely educated, refined singer. He was an extremely passionate rock singer… I believe the important thing for me was this man was singing as if it’s life and dying, [metaphorically] for him and his personal life, and likewise [literally] for the lives of individuals like his pal [Matt O’Grady, who inspired the character Michael], who was HIV-positive.”
Garfield then devoted a full 12 months to vocal coaching earlier than the shoot. “I put within the hours, on the respiration, engaged on my vary,” he remembers. “I had a complete village serving to me — Liz Caplan, the superb singing trainer, plus Lin’s musical staff, Alex Lacamoire, Invoice Sherman and Kurt Crowley [executive music producers] and Lin himself.” Going all in, Garfield additionally discovered to play piano.
All of the whereas he additionally needed to overcome his fears that he would possibly let Miranda and the staff down, particularly when singing in the identical manufacturing as “thoroughbreds” resembling Robin de Jesus and Vanessa Hudgens. “I used to be questioning, ‘Do I’ve the chops? Can I get this skillset to be of service to the movie?’”
Garfield — who picked up a SAG finest actor nomination for Tick, Tick… Growth! — provides that that is one thing most actors really feel with any function. “It occurs each single time. Am I letting the aspect down? The very last thing I wish to be is the gradual coach in the back of the pack. That’s the nightmare.”
Despite the fact that it was a private threat, Garfield jumped on the likelihood to work with Miranda on his feature-directing debut. “I knew this was going to be a wealthy meal of a narrative and it was going to be stuffed with emotional depth and ambition. Whenever you have a look at Lin’s work, it’s all these items.”
Garfield additionally linked to the director’s enthusiastic fashion of working. “I discover him so joyful and energetic and optimism, and he has this type of six‑12 months‑outdated’s artistic power that’s untameable and unbridled. It’s contagious.”
Brothers in arms
Earlier than assembly Miranda, Garfield had appreciated Lease however didn’t know Larson’s full story. As seen in Tick, Tick… Growth!, Larson was a struggling younger composer ready tables at a New York diner whereas making an attempt to jot down the following nice American musical, and feeling the stress to make it earlier than he turned 30. (Tragically, Larson died on the age of 35 of an aortic aneurysm simply earlier than Lease’s first Broadway preview.) “The extra I dipped my being into Jonathan Larson, the extra I realised I used to be assembly this long-lost brother that I didn’t realise I had. I felt this kinship with him,” explains Garfield.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Garfield had much more time to consider the function — the Netflix-backed manufacturing shut down after simply eight days capturing in March 2020 earlier than resuming in October that 12 months. That pandemic pause left Garfield pondering much more in regards to the half leisure performs in folks’s lives and likewise what sorts of roles are vital to him. “My brother is a physician in London and I’m simply so impressed by all the pieces he has needed to face these final two years. And I realised on the finish of the day, he goes house and he desires to look at one thing and escape or be entertained. Throughout these final two years, it grew to become way more vivid to us what issues. That’s precisely the journey Jon goes on, the attention of this shortness of life.
“One of many issues I discover shifting about this movie is that it’s the story of the artist as a youngster and it’s a narrative of a failure, not success,” he continues. “Then what do you do within the face of failure and loss? Which course will we go in? Will we reaffirm our dream?”
Garfield loved an eclectic 2021, due to his transient look in world blockbuster Spider-Man: No Means Residence and likewise enjoying disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker reverse Jessica Chastain in Searchlight Footage’ The Eyes Of Tammy Faye. Garfield shot the latter challenge in late 2019, and segued straight into Tick, Tick… Growth! rehearsals.
“Our second workshop was simply after we wrapped Tammy Faye. Lin mentioned to me, ‘I’m listening to a Jim Bakker/Jonathan amalgamation hybrid and I positively don’t need this,’” Garfield remembers with fun.
“These two characters are simply so reverse. Jon is stuffed with life and stuffed with connection to spirit and Jim is misplaced and empty and in disconnection to himself and spirit and so linked to ego. It was a painful place to be [playing Jim], after which enjoying Jon grew to become the soothing balm.”
Garfield tackles one other real-life story in FX miniseries Below The Banner Of Heaven, which wrapped capturing in Calgary in December. Primarily based on Jon Krakauer’s true-crime novel of the identical title, tailored by Dustin Lance Black (Milk) and directed by David Mackenzie (Hell Or Excessive Water), Garfield performs a Mormon police detective investigating a homicide. “It’s an ensemble solid and it has these wild themes, and relies on a tremendous true story,” he says. “I’m excited for folks to see it.”