Andrew Garfield was trying to answer questions while eating a chicken and broccoli and salad, and was surprisingly good at it. While he wouldn't admit that the super healthy lunch was the "Spider-Man diet" -- "I mean, it's food that I'm eating"-- he was surprisingly open about answering questions about his gigantic upcoming role when I caught up with him earlier today in Toronto to talk about Never Let Me Go during a roundtable interview. His answers were vague, of course, and he insisted repeatedly that it's still early stages of planning between him and Spider-Man director Marc Webb-- but for an actor who swears there's nothing to talk about yet, he still had plenty to say.
He repeated again that the character meant a lot to him as a child--"It's given me so much hope as a skinny little streak of piss, who feels more powerful inside than the looks on the outside." He compared his plans for working on it to the way he tackled Never Let Me Go with Mark Romanek or The Social Network with David Fincher-- "I'm going to approach it with the exact same thing. It's another role that I just want to play." He also confessed it will be "very cool" to meet Stan Lee and name-checked a whole lot of different Spider-Man comics series to prove he truly knows his stuff. And this has nothing to do with Spider-Man, but he was also wearing a Back to the Future watch. Check out what he had to say below, and come back later for much more from him, his Never Let Me Go collaborators, and all the rests from TIFF 2010.
What's your sense of this moment, as your career is on the cusp of something so huge?
I'm very happy. I'm not thinking about that in that respect. Never Let Me Go is a story that I care about deeply and wanted to be a part of desperately, so I auditioned my ass off. I worked hard filming it, everyone did. And then I went into a short film with Spike Jonze ["I'm Here] and approached it with the exact same intention. I did a film with David Fincher and approached it with the exact same intention. i'm just going to act the same way. I'm going to approach it with the exact same thing. It's another role that I just want to play. I feel very passionate about it, it means a great deal to me and it always has since I was four years old. It's all the same to me. I just like working.
Do you want to reach bigger audiences by doing a big film like Spider-Man?
That's a byproduct maybe. But it's not something that comes into my thought process. I want my life to be my life, and I want my work to be my work. I don't want to identify one with the other. What's important is life comes first. My family comes first, and my friends, and my happiness comes first. It just so happens I get happiness out of working hard. I get happiness out of working on something hard. The idea of fame isn't something that interests me, the idea of celebrity isn't something that interests me.
This is the first round of press you've done since the Spider-Man announcement. Has it occurred to you that you'll be answering Spider-Man questions for the next 10 years?
You just put that in my head! No, I haven't really given it that much thought. As I was saying, I'm going to approach it like I approach any other role. I'm just going to work as much as I can, because it's been such an important symbol to me since I was four years old. It's meant so much to me, and it's given me so much hope as a skinny little streak of piss, who feels more powerful inside than he looks on the outside. Every skinny boy's dream. I'm very lucky.
Most times it's a decade until a series is rebooted, and this is like three or four years. Does that give you any pause to do something different?
No. What's wonderful about Spider-Man is it's no one's and it's everyone's. It means so much to so many people. It's mythology and a legacy. There is no definitive version. You look back at the Dick Cook Stan Lee comics to the Ultimates and the Incredibles and the Amazings, then you go to the original cartoon series in the 70s and how that translated to the one in the 90s that Avi Arad was involved in, it's constantly shifting and reflecting the time and being as relevant and topical as it can be. I think it's going to shift again. I don't know in what way, but it's going to be defined by where we are as a society, and hopefully people are going to enjoy it, because I think we're going to enjoy making it.
Have you met Stan Lee yet?
No, I haven't. That's going to be very cool though.