Before he conquers the big screen as the new Spider-Man in 2012, young actor Andrew Garfield can be seen in Columbia Pictures’ acclaimed drama The Social Network, the controversial film detailing the Harvard dorm room origins of social media megasite Facebook.
Garfield plays Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook with fellow Harvard undergrad Mark Zuckerberg. The two were former best friends but deviated as Facebook became immensely successful and eventually parted ways.
The actor-on-the-rise talks about The Social Network in the following interview:
Q: How tricky was it to portray Eduardo Saverin with the story of Facebook still being written?
Andrew Garfield: It’s rare that a subject is tackled immediately after its conception, but we had a script and Aaron Sorkin [the screenwriter] researched the story very well. I find it very interesting that it was told from multiple perspectives and no one was portrayed right or wrong.
Q: Given director David Fincher’s exacting reputation, what was your experience of working on The Social Network?
Garfield: It was just the greatest, really. The amount of trust that you feel for him, that you can place all of your trust in him if you’re a fan of his work. Which I am, I’m a fan of all of his movies so I love his taste and I love the performances that he gets from people. You can let go in a scene, and you don’t have to worry about doing what you want to do because you know that whatever he’s got in mind is going to be better than what you want to do. He does do a lot of takes.
Q: The lore is that he often gets up in the 70s.
Garfield: Oh, yeah. Every time. But it’s the best, the most freeing filming experience I’ve had, and the most enjoyable filming experience I’ve ever had just because of the sheer freedom. And you leave everything there. You do the scene every single different way you could have ever done the scene. He just wants you to fuck up so that you become more alive in the moment. And we’re working on the Red cameras, it was digital, so he’ll just delete things if it doesn’t work.
It’s boring sometimes and it’s painful, but then what’s the point otherwise? I’m a total advocate of that. For young actors especially who are hungry to explore the craft of acting, and working with Aaron Sorkin’s words, and then having Fincher steering you and guiding the ship, we all kind of wanted to savor every moment.
Q: Did you get to spend much time with [co-star] Justin Timberlake?
Garfield: Yeah, such a good guy. At first I was very intimated because he has this iconic status. Which is such a weird thing for a human being to have. He’s just a good person, genuinely funny, engaging, warm, supportive. Very generous. That was one of the other great things, there was no competitiveness between any of the actors on the set.
Q: Really? I’m surprised. I would think that because of the nature of the story that that would actually help the dynamic onscreen.
Garfield: Yeah, David Fincher was pitting us against each other in the scenes. But outside of that, he cast a group of people that got on very well. Everyone felt very lucky to be there, so that permeated the feeling on set. But Justin was amazing, and great to work with, and I love Jesse Eisenberg so much.
Q: Did you guys get any time together off set? Go to ball games or anything?
Garfield: Yeah. We did. Me and Jesse, after Boston we were shooting in Baltimore for four days, and we spent Halloween in Baltimore on our own hanging around this awful shopping mall with a Hard Rock Café and a Cheesecake Factory and a Borders. And then we saw a Ravens game. We saw a Celtics game when we were in Boston, which was amazing. And Jesse got the green clover drawn on his face. He has all these different personality facets. He’s so smart and so funny and so cerebral and neurotic and vulnerable. But then very defensive and then kind of stupid and irreverent. But mostly funny, and can turn any situation into something Seinfeldian. He may differ with this because he’s a contrarian, but I feel like our relationship reflected the best friends thing during shooting. For me, anyway.
Opening across the Philippines on October 27, The Social Network is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.