Andrew Garfield’s reflections on grief and mourning a parent are just beautiful
Actor Andrew Garfield may have dropped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to promote his latest movie, tick, tick… Boom, but his interview is going viral because of what he had to say about losing his late mom and how he’s been handling grief.
It’s simple and profound and eloquent and it feels like anyone who’s suffered a loss can relate.
During the chat, the Spiderman star reflected on life, death, and grief, discussing both the death of his mom and of Jonathan Larson, who created the musical Rent, and whom Garfield portrays in the film.
Garfield’s chatting and singing (and suit) are great, but the part that had us grabbing the tissues starts at around the 4-minute mark.
“You yourself have suffered great grief with your mother, and I’m sorry for your family’s loss,” Colbert begins, while discussing Larson’s death at age 35 of a sudden heart issue. “I’m wondering how doing this show or any show — how art itself — helps you deal with grief.”
“I love talking about it, by the way, so if I cry it’s only a beautiful thing,” Garfield begins, already tearing up.
“This is all of the unexpressed love,” he continues. “The grief that will remain with us until we pass because we never get enough time with each other, no matter whether someone lives until 60 or 15 or 99. I hope this grief stays with me because it’s all of the unexpressed love that I didn’t get to tell her, and I told her every day, she was the best of us.”
Garfield’s mom, Lynn Garfield, died of pancreatic cancer in 2019, before production on the movie began.
“For me, I was able to step into this in a way were I could honor this incredible life of Jonathan Larson, who was taken far too soon. He died at the age of 35, on the night of the first preview of Rent, off Broadway, in some strange twist of fate that he was taken that soon. This film is to do with this ticking clock that we all have, that we all know, somewhere deep down that life is sacred, life is short, and we better just be here as much as possible with each other, holding on to each other,” Garfield said.
“I got to sing Jonathan Larson’s unfinished song, while simultaneously singing for my mother and her unfinished song,” he says, breaking up again. “I am indebted to everyone who’s brought me to this place so I can honor the most beautiful person I’ve ever experienced in my life through my art and use it as a way to heal and sew up the wounds.”
“And both John and my mother were warriors for art,” he concludes. “They knew the power of art and knew the power of leaving the world in a slightly more beautiful state than how they found it.”
Garfield’s father and brother were in the audience for the show, and got a thank you from Garfield at the end of his segment. He ended his touching speech with a handshake and a thank you for Colbert, who was visibly moved.
Garfield has opened up about the sudden loss of his mom in the past, and how it relates to his life, telling GQ, “I find spiritual pursuit to be the only pursuit, really, for me, and that’s with my work and otherwise. There’s an acute awareness of just the ephemeral nature of this. And that is what gives it all meaning. I think the consideration of what’s going on behind everything is the only thing I’m interested in.”