When Lin-Manuel Miranda first confirmed Andrew Garfield the script for Tick, Tick … Boom!, the actor felt like Miranda was introducing him to a “long-lost brother” that was composer and playwright Jonathan Larson.
“When I heard that [Lin] wanted to talk to me, it was an immediate ‘yes,’ no matter what the project was, because I knew that he was going to be making something that was rich and deep and complex, and intelligent and emotional and joyful, and thematically meaningful,” Garfield tells THR Presents, powered by Vision Media. “I just knew that, because that’s what he does: He makes things that are that way. And I was in the height of my Hamilton obsession as well. So it felt like he was just roaming around and influencing my psyche anyway, and then when he spoke to me, he asked me if I knew anything about Jonathan Larson. And I said, ‘I know he wrote Rent, and I love Rent.’ But that was the extent of my relationship with Jonathan … And he slid the music and lyrics for Tick, Tick … Boom! across the table to me at lunch and said, ‘This won’t make sense to you now. But I promise you, it will.’ And no truer words have ever been uttered, because it was like he was introducing me to a long-lost brother that I didn’t know I had through Jonathan Larson. The spirit of Jonathan as we know it, because he’s no longer with us.”
Garfield defined that he by no means actually had an audition, however Miranda did ask a good friend of Garfield’s whether or not he might sing, and they assured him he might, though Garfield had by no means sung professionally earlier than. Garfield informed Miranda he wanted a minimum of a yr to arrange for the vocals that might be required of him. What actually helped him in his method, nevertheless, was that Larson wasn’t “concerned about how he sounded — he just wanted to be heard.”
But the singing facet wasn’t the one prep Garfield needed to do to immerse himself into the position.
“The main hours of most days were spent singing and learning piano and learning the choreography, and then there was the other stuff that usually is my only focus, which is the study, the research, the immersing myself into the land of Jonathan Larson in the psyche, the soul of the character,” explains Garfield. “But I think that stuff started to feel like a vacation. Because the other stuff was so new and so scary, that actually I was probably able to go even deeper into my other preparation because I wasn’t being so precious about it like I would usually be, because my preciousness was going toward learning these new skills.”
He provides: “The study of Jonathan became this very joyous thing because the acting part, I knew I had a better handle on, because I’ve been doing it for 18 years at this point. And I knew that I had a method that felt like it could be trusted to immerse myself in all things Jonathan … there were so many conflicting aspects of him that I just found so beautiful, powerful and human and fascinating … He was just this incredibly complex person, and there was so much to sink my teeth into and to be applied from scene to scene, and to really give a full, detailed meal of who this person was.”
Because Garfield noticed numerous Larson mirrored in his personal persona, he once more calls the late playwright, who died in 1996 on the age of 35, his “long lost brother, especially in how we both approach work and art … and he’s someone that believes that art and poetry and music can change the world. And I believe that too, and that might be deeply misguided.”
Flash ahead to Feb. 8, 2022, and Garfield acquired his second Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Larson. “To be able to be nominated for an Oscar in any way, shape or form is just a hilarious, surreal and amazing thing that I don’t take for granted, but then to have it be for this and to have it be further shining a light on Jonathan Larson and his work and his life … Like, he gets the majority of the cake. I’ll take a slice of it, but [he] and Lin-Manuel Miranda get the majority of the cake as far as I’m concerned.”
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