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Film

Andrew Garfield names his modern inspirations

Tobey Maguire as Spiderman is a tough act to follow. In the 2000s, Maguire cemented his place in the hearts of Millennials through his stellar performances as Peter Parker between 2002 and 2007. Of course, now, Gen Z regards Tom Holland as their real Spidey, but in between the two lay Andrew Garfield, who first took on the role as the infamous web-slinger in The Amazing Spider-Man.

Following his recognition as Marvel’s arachnid superhero, Garfield earned acclaim for his role as Desmond Doss in the 2016 World War II film Hacksaw Ridge and as Jonathan Larson in the musical drama Tick, Tick… Boom! last year. He has also previously appeared on Broadway and received a Tony Award nomination for his appearance in the 2012 revival of Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman.

Garfield was born in Los Angeles but moved to Surrey with his family when he was three years old. His mother is from Essex, and his father’s parents were also from the UK. He took an interest in acting when he was 16 when a school friend told him that the A-level theatre studies class could not run unless they found one more pupil to join the register.

Garfield recently revealed the people who inspire his life and work. He said: “There is a wonderful mythologist called Michael Meade and I have been reading a lot of his books and listening to a lot of his talks,” he explained. “He has an amazing podcast called Living Myth, which is deeply inspiring and contextualising where we are from a mythological standpoint, which is a lost art in the Joseph Campbell kind of way. So I am really, really into him and his stuff. He is a very wise man, and not well known actually.”

Michael Meade is also the founder of the Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to promote healing through the power of mythology, particularly in at-risk groups such as the disaffected youth, the homeless, prisoners and returning war veterans.

Elsewhere, Garfield reveals that he takes great inspiration from the world of poetry: “I have also been reading Mary Oliver, […] a wonderful American poet, plus I’ve also been reading her short essays.” Mary Oliver’s work is drawn from the natural world, as opposed to the human realm. Reading her poetry is akin to taking a walk through the world’s most wondrous natural settings.

The poetic inspiration for Garfield does not end there, however. He adds: “I read an amazing thing online recently, from the poet E.E. Cummings. I really like him as a poet and there was this great quote at the top of the page: ‘To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.’ That’s given me a lot of inspiration, those words and those ideas, because we are constantly told to not be what we actually, in fact, naturally are.”

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