Andrew Garfield remembers’starving’ himself of sex and food while filming ‘Silence.’
Andrew Garfield has revealed that he went celibate and fasted for several months before playing a Jesuit priest in the 2016 film “Silence.”
On Monday, the British actor appeared on the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron” to promote the true-crime series “Under the Banner of Heaven,” in which he plays a detective whose faith is shaken when he is called to investigate a brutal murder in his local Mormon community.
In addition to discussing the new limited series, his early acting career, and his mother’s death, Garfield discussed working with Martin Scorsese on “Silence,” a film about two young Portuguese priests (Garfield and Adam Driver) who embark on a perilous mission to Japan in the 17th century.
The 39-year-old also discussed method acting, saying there were “misconceptions” about the technique.
Garfield spoke with Marc Maron about the Emmy-nominated true-crime show “Under the Banner of Heaven.”
Before filming, the Spider-Man star said he studied Catholicism with a Jesuit priest, went on a 31-day spiritual retreat, and abstained from “sex and food.”
“You end up in quite a deep space,” Garfield explained. “It’s a process of transformation.”
“I was celibate for six months… and fasted extensively,” he added. “Starving myself of sex and food for that period of time gave me some pretty wild, trippy experiences.”
While researching the role, Garfield said he was inspired by method acting and was “bothered by the misconception” that exists about the technique.
“It isn’t about being a jerk to everyone on set. It’s really just about living truthfully under fictitious circumstances while also being extremely nice to the crew and being a normal human being, and being able to drop it when you need to and stay in it when you want to.”
Garfield plays Sebastio Rodrigues, a Jesuit priest who travels to Japan to learn the fate of his mentor in “Silence.”
According to the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, method acting is a technique founded in the 1900s by Russian theatre director Konstantin Stanislavski and further developed by legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg.
According to the institute, it encourages actors to use their “physical, mental, and emotional selves” to create a character while drawing on their own life experiences for the role.
Actors such as Marlon Brando, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Robert De Niro have all used the immersive technique, which allows actors to stay in character throughout a project.
Lady Gaga told British Vogue last year that method acting helped her portray socialite Patrizia Reggiani in the fashion biopic “House of Gucci,” for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe.
Other actors, however, have expressed reservations about method acting in the past, with Meryl Streep saying she “was so depressed” while playing Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada.”