Andrew Garfield Is Having a Crisis of Faith

Andrew Garfield Is Having a Crisis of Faith

Andrew Garfield can preach.

That much was evident when he played Jim Bakker in last year’s The Eyes of Tammy Faye, about the irresistible and ultimately corrupt televangelist and his wife, played by Oscar winner Jessica Chastain. Then in Tick, Tick…Boom!, he starred as musical theater composer Jonathan Larson, who had so much to say about the world through his music that, for a generation of fans, his show Rent remains a religious text.

Now, Garfield is back talking God again in Under the Banner of Heaven, the new FX series based on the book by Jon Krakauer. The series centers on the gruesome 1984 double murder of a mother and daughter that shook a devout Mormon community in Utah, connecting the tragedy back to the founding of the Mormon church by Joseph Smith a century prior.

Jeb Pyre, the local detective played by Garfield, is a fictional character. He is everything you’d expect from a pillar of the community: a good father, supportive husband, and fierce believer in Smith’s teachings. But the violent murders he is investigating and the suspected killers’ insistence that they were committed in the name of God have him in the unfamiliar territory of questioning his own beliefs.

The thing is, even out of character, Garfield preaches too. He delivers a great sermon. He’s a natural at it.

He is so thoughtful and considered about the questions being asked of him, the characters he is playing, and the ways in which his own humanity is changed by the art he is producing that you’re swept away as he speaks.

In the last year, he has played three characters in major projects that are, as Jeb Pyre experiences, having a crisis of faith. In each role, the man Garfield plays encounters something in his life that causes him to doubt his faith and how he perceives the world. Sure, there was a stint in a Spider-Man costume thrown in the middle there, but it’s hard not to look at his recent selection of roles and not see a throughline.

Is there something going on in his life that has him gravitating toward these character arcs? Does Andrew Garfield have a personal connection to this idea of interrogating one’s faith?

Over a Zoom call in the lead-up to Thursday’s premiere of Under the Banner of Heaven, he preaches his answer.

“I think if we’re lucky, that happens over and over and over again, where we get to expand our consciousness,” he says. “The only way we expand our consciousness, expand our hearts, is if they get broken open.”

Transcribed, those words read as woo-woo nonsense. But it is imperative you imagine how passionate Garfield is when he speaks them. He’s not grasping for poignance the way some actors do in their pursuit of pretentiousness. The way he talks about these things is undeniably and irresistibly heartfelt.

The next bit of his speech involves the words “cosmic” and “cataclysmic.” But you need to know that as he says them, it is deeply relatable and accessible.

“I think we probably come into life connected to…

Read Full Story At: The Daily Beast.

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