Andrew Garfield on “Silence”: A Priest Helped Me “Create My Own Very Deep, Intimate Relationship with God”

BY AARON CLINE HANBURY CULTURE / CULTURE December 13, 2016

Actor Andrew Garfield says that preparing for the movie Silence—in which he plays the role of a Jesuit priest and missionary in Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of the novel by the same name—taught him a lot about Jesus Christ.

For the film, Garfield studied Christian writings, and Jesuit priest Father James Martin served as a mentor for his journey.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor explained:

He gave me spiritual direction as if I were a Jesuit in training. It became a very personal journey for me.

It’s almost like a 12-step program. In fact, it’s the basis for a lot of 12-step programs, a long-form meditation and prayer spent imagining the life of Christ, story by story, gospel by gospel, and sitting with his teachings, sitting with Him as He discovers who He is in the wilderness, and really meditating upon His life and even crucifixion.

The result of all this training? Garfield told HR, “I was filled up with all this information and all this longing to spread the teachings of Christ, which I truly started to adore.”

This doesn’t mean that Garfield is a Christian. He made clear during a different sit-down with THR interview that he is “not a Christian person,” but rather “a pantheist, agnostic, occasionally atheist, and a little bit Jewish—but mostly confused.”

The statements echo what he recently told to RELEVANT about preparing for the role. In our cover story, Garfield said he immersed himself in the writings of Trappist monk Thomas Merton, and related to his own struggles with doubt.

“I connected with [Merton] so much because he seems to be always on the knife edge between faith and doubt. He seems to understand that the opposite of doubt isn’t certainty, that living with doubt is just as much a part of living with faith as faith itself.”

If you’ve not yet seen the trailer for Silence, check it out:

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