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Your Favorite Spider-Man Went Celibate & Starved for a Movie You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

For my Tom Holland girlies, I’m sorry to disappoint.

(The Tobey Fans as well.)

Instead, today we’re talking about the adored and everyone’s secret (or not so secret) celebrity crush Andrew Garfield. He recently recalled publicly on a podcast the life-changing experience he went through in 2016 for critically-acclaimed director Martin Scorsese’s film Silence.

In the movie, Garfield takes on the role of a priest, who along with another priest and friend, played by other fan-favorite Adam Driver, travels cross-country during the 17th century from Portugal to Japan. They go to find their absent mentor (Liam Neeson) and to spread the word of Christianity, during a time when the religion and all clergymen were prohibited through many efforts.

To fully exhibit the role of his character, Garfield took the route of method acting: a popular but controversial technique many actors indulge in to become emotionally and physically connected to the persona they are perfecting. A notorious exhibition of method acting was done by none other than Heath Ledger for his outstanding performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight: Ledger supposedly locked himself in a hotel room for a straight month to perfect the isolated and unhinged characterization of a villain, as well as curating a detailed character diary and trying out different deep voices that altered how he forever sounded.

To become one with his part as a priest, Garfield made some intense changes to his lifestyle: he started to heavily research and practice Catholic spirituality through meditation and rituals, as well as fasting for six months (which led him to lose a ton of weight) which coincides with the reality of the character he played. Rationed portions and harmful illnesses plagued the island, so the ‘barely surviving facade’ was an essential part of his role in Silence. Although this wasn’t forecasted to mirror Ledger’s method acting practices, he recalls also experiencing culture shock in Taiwan where the movie was being shot and how the unfamiliar atmosphere and limited food choices led him to often isolate himself more than he socialized, which added to the perfecting of his intense and strict character.

Last but of course not least, just like many priests, Garfield abstained from sexual situations during his method acting practices, and coupled with his lack of nutritional food and physical contact, he recounts the experience as being “wild and trippy.” Truthfully, the public doesn’t know as much about our favorite actors as they think they do.

Although some method acting practices get a bad rep, Garfield’s take on embodying his character to the T through realistic components shows his determination to perfect his work. As most of us are likely audience members rather than performers, it can be easy to forget how challenging transforming yourself into another persona can be, especially when your job is on the line. After reading about this though, curiosity is piqued if he did any work for Spider-Man… bonding with tarantulas, perhaps?

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Mia Rampersad is a sophomore at FSU studying Creative Writing. She enjoys reading, exercising, and fashion.