On Thursday night in Cancun, Mexico, new "Spider-Man" director Marc Webb and his producers took the stage at a press event to make a long-awaited announcement — one feverishly anticipated and debated since the collapse of Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" in January: the name of the new Spider-Man.
"Though his name may be new to many, those who have seen his work will know this young man embodies an exceedingly rare combination of intelligence, wit and humanity," Webb said onstage. "Without further ado, meet your new Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield."
And with that, the 26-year-old Garfield walked onto the stage to a chorus of applause, his life never to be the same again. For while he does have a significant filmography to his name, he's never experienced anything that can compare to being the face of a blockbuster comic-book franchise.
Born in Los Angeles, he was raised outside London and got his start as an actor on the stage. In 2006, he was dubbed outstanding newcomer at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for his West End stage work and in 2007 shared the London Theatre Critics' Circle Most Promising Newcomer Award. By that point, Garfield had already stepped in front of the camera for big- and small-screen work.
He appeared alongside Robert Redford, Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep in "Lions for Lambs," prompting Variety to name him one of 10 Actors to Watch. "I'm just lucky to be there working on the same project as them, although I don't really expect to be recognized later by audiences," he told the magazine.
Across the pond, he blew British audiences away with his performance as a secretive kid in "Boy A," a TV movie that won Garfield a BAFTA Best Actor Award. Perhaps his most well-known role to date, though, is a turn opposite Heath Ledger in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," in which he played a gangly kid and romantic rival to Ledger as they both competed for the affections of Lily Cole.
While "Spider-Man" won't hit theaters until the summer of 2012, this year is already shaping up to be a profile-raising one for Garfield. He stars alongside Jesse Eisenberg this fall in the highly anticipated, David Fincher-directed "The Social Network" and also with Keira Knightley in "Never Let Me Go," an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's haunting novel of the same name.
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