Andrew Garfield on the Ignatian journey that led him through ‘Silence.’
People make the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola for a variety of reasons. Preparing to play a featured role in a Martin Scorsese film is not one you hear often, but it’s probably not the worst reason. Men and women often make retreats to find some clarity about who they are or who they’re called to be. I suppose it was so for Andrew Garfield when he asked America’s James Martin, S.J., to guide him through the Exercises as he prepared to play the lead role in Mr. Scorsese’s new film, “Silence.”
Father Martin was hesitant at first. But Garfield was looking for something. Or someone. And that’s not a bad reason at all. In the end, it was enough for Jim. And more than enough for God.
It was a rainy day in Los Angeles when I had lunch with Garfield to talk about his experience of the Exercises. We met in a small bustling restaurant in Los Feliz, an old L.A. neighborhood that sits below the iconic Griffith Observatory just east of Hollywood. I was early. He was on time. We were both hungry.
Garfield seemed weary. It was just past noon when we met, and he was tired.
He had been working for weeks, promoting two movies, filming a third and preparing to return to London for an upcoming stage production. He carried a small collection of notebooks and a phone. Add a laptop and cup of coffee and you might have confused him for a grad student. It was New Year’s Eve, and he was having lunch with a spiritually curious Jesuit whom he had never met before. Not exactly the glamorous Hollywood life one would expect. More like an awkward religious blind date. I could appreciate the weariness.
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