He plastered an all-too-human face on the backstabby founding of Facebook in “The Social Network” and just might win an Oscar for his troubles. He healed our broken geeky hearts when he assumed the role of Peter Parker after the “Spider-Man” franchise collapsed unexpectedly in January. And let’s not forget his powerful performance as a cloned human desperate to prove he has in a soul in the underrated adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Booker Prize-winning novel “Never Let Me Go.”
For all of these reasons — as well as for being such a damn nice fellow — Andrew Garfield is the man MTV News is most thankful for in 2010.
Just don’t tell that to him. Humble as ever despite talk of awards-season love and the prospect of taking on one of pop culture’s most beloved superheroes, Garfield has trouble accepting the fact that he’s deserving of all the hype. A conversation with him veers through talk of insecurities, I-better-not-screw-this-up fears and the self-consciously naive hope that his life isn’t about to change forever.
He is, in other words, an utterly charming guy, and we can’t wait to see what he brings to the screen in 2011.
MTV: So every year, we look back at the film folks we’re truly thankful for, and this year, you’re the man we’re most thankful for. Congrats!
Andrew Garfield: Wow, that’s stupid. That’s very, very silly. I guess if I make you feel better about yourselves, that makes sense.
MTV: We’re very insecure.
Garfield: No, I’m very insecure! I’m incredibly insecure. That’s crazy, but it’s very flattering.
MTV: Do you have a speech prepared for the occasion?
Garfield: Yes, I would like to, first and foremost, thank you for inflating my ego. I really only want to thank you.
MTV: It’s been quite a year for you, with “Never Let Me Go” and then “Social Network” and then you obviously landed “Spider-Man.” Does 2010 feel like a landmark year for you?
Garfield: I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve had the good fortune to work with people and on projects I care about. From “Never Let Me Go” to “I’m Here,” a short film I did with Spike Jonze, to the David Fincher thing, “The Social Network,” with all the casts and crews — I don’t take that lightly. It’s inspiring, and you feed off it. In that way, I’m incredibly happy. And moving on to the next job I’m going to be shooting, being given that responsibility, I see it as a real gift. It’s a character — I’m talking about the Spider-person — I’ve known for my whole life. He’s been a presence in my upbringing and a very symbolic figure and force of manhood and bravery and a moral compass. All of those things that have shaped me as a person, he’s been very much involved in.
MTV: It seems like maybe you were fairly well known in the U.K., but until recently, not many people in the U.S. knew who you were. How has your day-to-day life changed, if at all?
Garfield: It hasn’t changed yet. I say “yet” as if that will happen. Maybe naively, I think my life is going to stay the same in terms of anonymity. I feel it’s so important to have a normal life, to be able to walk down a city street and have a normal human experience in order to reflect that in the work. Otherwise, you can’t relate. It’s so funny how actors are perceived. It’s craziness. Even the way I got when I met Doc Brown the other day. What’s his name?
MTV: Christopher Lloyd from “Back to the Future”?
Garfield: Yeah, I met Christopher Lloyd. I lost my mind. I turned into a schoolgirl. I started screaming in his face. I went insane. But I guess because his performances had such a profound effect on me, it was like meeting a hero. I personally haven’t been on the receiving end of that, thankfully.
MTV: Well, people aren’t probably walking around shouting at you, “Hey, Eduardo,” your character from “Social Network,” but you’ll probably be getting a lot of, “Hey, Peter Parker!”
Garfield: Unless they let me play Peter Parker with a disguise so no one sees my face. I’ll play him with a beard and mustache.
MTV: Maybe a little “Benjamin Button”-style CGI facial work …
Garfield: Yeah, they could face-replace me, and then it’ll just be my body. People will recognize some other, better actor’s face.
MTV: You should bring that up with Sony.
Garfield: You think they’ll like it?
MTV: Totally. … I mean, not a chance. Anyway, has there been a surreal moment from 2010 that kind of encapsulates what a crazy year it’s been for you?
Garfield: I did have a strange moment when I was told I was going to play this role. I was like, “Oh, wow, this is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a kid.” There was a moment of total boyish excitement. It was this cosmic convergence where I was in the past, present and future all at once. In the future, I was thinking about my nephews that are going to have an uncle who’s Spider-Man, but then I thought that could be bad because kids can bully you for any reason, and it’s like, “Where’s your uncle now when I’m beating the sh– out of you?” I’ll have to go to their school a lot, but by that time I’ll be really old and fat and no one will believe I was Spider-Man. Then I was thinking about the past and when I was first shown a “Spider-Man” comic. It inspired me because I was one of those people who felt stronger on the inside than they looked on the outside. And then in the present moment, I was thinking this moment is something I’ll never forget.
Thanksgiving is a time for taking stock, expressing gratitude and, most importantly, overeating. We at MTV News have been gorging all year at movie theaters, so it’s about time we looked back and gave thanks to our favorite actors and filmmakers of 2010. Enjoy exclusive interviews with our winners all week long.
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.