Andrew Garfield is working his way up to a very busy and eventful back half of 2021. And while the actor’s first 2021 outing might have rightfully disappeared into the morass of pandemic streaming also-rans, it’s looking like future Oscar possibilities abound. First up, Garfield will strap into some award-baiting prosthetics and accent work as disgraced (but still shilling for the Lord and bogus COVID supplements), Jim Bakker, starring alongside an equally unrecognizable Jessica Chastain in director Mike Showalter’s The Eyes Of Tammy Faye. After that, the Under The Silver Lake star will show off his singing skills under the guidance of none other than In The Heights and Hamilton musical theater legend Lin-Manuel Miranda in the film adaptation of playwright Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick, BOOM!
As the actor danced out joyously to the cheers of Stephen Colbert’s returned Late Show crowd and the raucous intro music of Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Garfield was, indeed, hyped up to hype his pair of upcoming projects. But first, Garfield and Colbert talked Broadway shop about their shared admiration and love for the late impresario Mike Nichols, who famously directed the actor to a Tony nomination as Biff in the 2012, Phillip Seymour Hoffman-led Death Of A Salesman. Calling Nichols “ a hero to me,” Garfield regaled fellow Nichols acolyte Colbert with unsurprisingly poignant (and funny) tales of Nichols graciousness toward him and seemingly everyone who ever walked onto a Broadway stage. (The unnamed actress who received Nichols’ succinct praise, “You’re Audrey Hepburn!” after one performance can probably sleep well at night still.)
Telling Colbert about Nichols’ own words of encouragement for him, Garfield—deftly dropping in and out of various accents, as is his way—related how the iconic director once reassured the ever-insecure young actor, “Dear boy, I’m not worried about you, because you’re just like me. You don’t think highly of yourself at all.” Citing his Nichols-approved gift for “divine dissatisfaction” with his own efforts to achieve something “perfect—a spiritual height we will never get to,” Garfield cut his reminiscence short since, as he told Colbert, “I don’t want to cry.” Continuing in that heartfelt and thoughtful vein, however, Garfield responded to Colbert’s questions about his acting philosophy by describing his incongruously moving ritual of spitting on the hallowed Broadway boards before appearing in the 2017 production of Angels In America. Speaking of his responsibility to all the “the gay brothers and sisters who, you know, died and fought during the AIDS epidemic,” Garfield made a rather touching case that the whole spitting tradition involves a promise to “the ancestors” that he’s prepared to leave “all of myself here, even the less pretty parts.”
Garfield also stretched his endearing Broadway enthusiasm to Colbert and his Late Show team, telling the the clearly-touched host that Colbert, Batiste, and their crew “leave a little space in the top of the auditorium for something divine to move as you come in in here.” But enough off all that sincerity, as Garfield also confessed how being an actor is also all about bullshitting your way into a job, even if that means straight-up lying to a Tony Award-harvesting legend about being able to sing. To be fair, it was all the masseuse’s fault, as Garfield told how one Greg Miele, apparently a masseuse to all the stars, talked up Garfield’s untested singing talents to Lin-Manuel Miranda one day as the massage therapist was really putting the hurt on the Hamilton creator in the run-up to making tick, tick, BOOM!
Garfield, informed by Miele of his supposed Ariana Grande-meets-Pavarotti pipes in a phone call after that flesh-pounding meeting, ascertained that shooting wouldn’t be taking place for the better part of a year before bald-facedly assuring Miranda that, of course Andrew Garfield has the training and skills to essay a famous musical theater lead. Colbert commiserated, explaining how he’d once assured a director that, of course, he could understudy for pal (and Late Show Peabody Award presenter) Steve Carell in a role requiring a mastery of a particular brass instrument. “Necessity is the mother of...,” Garfield opined understandingly, before Colbert chimed in with his own version of the saying, “... employment.”
The Eyes Of Tammy Faye comes out on September 17, while tick, tick, BOOM! hits theaters later this year.