The mask lets you be what you want to be: Andrew Garfield

Jun 28, 2012, 06:34 IST | Janhavi Samant

Actor talks about playing Spiderman and how it has changed his life

At first sight, Andrew Garfield looks very much a teenager. It makes one wonder how this lean youth will play the wily Spiderman. For a long time, Andrew wondered that himself. In fact, he expected to be one of the first in the audience to say, “Who cast this English fool?” when he first signed the film. Stepping into Tobey Maguire’s shoes hasn’t been easy.

Today, he’s more or less adjusted to the demands and expectations of wearing Spidey’s mask. “The mask allows you to be whatever you want to be. It’s very liberating, you know, like Internet chat boards,” quips Andrew now while leaning back casually in his chair.

The actor, who will be playing one of the world’s favourite superheroes in The Amazing Spiderman, talks to Hitlist about his new role, and how it will expectedly change his life:

Was it fun losing weight?
Hmm. I was on a serious diet, where I could eat any tasty stuff. It was just basic energy stuff and it sucked! But I enjoyed some aspects of it. It feels good to be in great physical shape. That part is definitely satisfying. It’s a small price to pay. It is after all an actor’s job to get into good shape; in fact we are employed to do just that.

Tell us about playing Peter Parker.
It took time to sink in. I mean I loved what Tobey Maguire did. I have really admired his Peter Parker. However, after trying my hand at it, I have managed to approach the role by instinct rather than in a cerebral method. And I have learnt so much myself. Playing this role showed me how difficult it is to be good. I have also learnt so much about relationships and the importance of family. It is important to stay true to ourselves.

Have you found it difficult to identify with the underdog?
Oh no, physically I have always felt like the underdog. I used to be a gymnast and was quite small in my teens. My growth was kind of stunted, while my brother was big and heavy. And there was a point when I was all messed up and felt that life was so confusing. I had all the anxiety of being a teenager, thinking I had it all figured out. I have always been a huge Spiderman fan. So yes (laughs), I could identify with Parker’s self-esteem issues quite well. I also love being physical and so I enjoyed all the action and stunts involved.

After your role in The Other Boleyn Girl, there has been a lot of speculation on the Internet about you being gay. Comment...
People think every actor is either homosexual or in a relationship with everyone else in the world. I try not to react to that. As it is, actors are self-obsessed. One can’t get caught up in these kinds of stories. It can’t define who you are.

Did you manage to meet Stan Lee (The creator of The Spiderman)?
Yes. I couldn’t believe it. He was so amazing and unbelievably cool. I got to pick his mind about the character and the legend. He was so kind and generous spirited.

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