Getting ready for a role can often be one of the toughest parts of being an actor. Sometimes, this can mean spending countless hours in the gym to build the right physique. Other times, this can mean quite the opposite. When Andrew Garfield played Spider-Man he had to go through the former transformation. For his new movie Silence, it was the latter.
We had to look as if we had been on a long, arduous boat trip from our native Portugal. ... Right at the beginning of the film, we kind of had already gone through our dysentery phase. The choice of what costume to wear is the same as losing that amount of weight. It's just a necessary thing for the reality of the piece. So that was very challenging, not eating is very challenging.
In Silence Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver play Jesuit priests who travel from Portugal to Japan in search of their mentor. As the story takes place in the 17th century, the journey is an arduous one that leaves both men physically weakened by the time they reach their destination. While there are ways one could recreate the look of a starved and weakened man with digital effects, Silence isn't that kind of movie. As such, Garfield tells Yahoo that there was no question that he was going to actually lose the weight in order to have the right look for the film.
Putting on weight is a fairly simply process. You eat. Even if you need to gain lots of muscle the process of doing so is simple enough, even if the work isn't all that much fun. Losing enough weight to look like you haven't eaten well in months is a tough thing to do while still actually eating well enough to not put your health actually in danger. Tom Hanks famously filmed Cast Away in two parts, filing the beginning and the end of the movie first, then losing a lot of weight in between in order to handle the rest of the movie. Jared Leto also put his body through the strain to show a body ravaged by the AIDS virus. He won an Academy Award for the effort. Time will tell if the same is possible for Silence.
Both Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver put the work in to make their characters look like they had gone through the difficult journey from Portugal to Japan. It's an impressive dedication to the craft. Silence opens in limited release tomorrow with wide release scheduled for January 6.