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Listen to Andrew Garfield’s Beautiful Tribute to Preserving His Mother’s Memory Through Art and Grief

Andrew Garfield’s excellent performance in Tick, Tick …BOOM! seems poised to put him into Oscar contention but his kind heart and eloquent spirit are what really cement his place as one of our most thoughtful and interesting celebrities. That fact was on display yet again when he dropped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and opened up about the loss of his mother. The result is a very powerful and emotional meditation on his feelings on grief and how his work onscreen preserves her memory.

The exchange starts around 4:20 below. Throughout the talk, he refers to “we” — meaning his brother Benjamin, who was in the audience.

“I hope this grief stays with me,” he says. “Because it’s all the unexpressed love that I didn’t get to tell her.”

In Tick, Tick …BOOM, Garfield plays Jonathan Larson, the playwright who wrote the musical about his experience writing his best-known work Rent. Larson passed away of an aortic dissection stemming from undiagnosed Marfan syndrome the very night Rent premiered in New York City. His work would prove, of course, enormously inspirational to millions — including a young Lin-Manuel Miranda, who directed the film adaptation of Larson’s play.

Colbert’s had his own brushes with grief, losing his father and two brothers in a plane crash when he was just ten years old.

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“I’m indebted to anyone who’s brought me to this place,” Garfield said. “So I can honor the most beautiful person that I’ve ever experienced in my life through my art and use it as a way to heel — to sew up the wounds.”

Tick, Tick …BOOM! is on Netflix now.

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