Andrew Garfield has spoken of the grief of losing his mother to pancreatic cancer, saying it left him in “precise agony” and struggling to make sense of the world around him.
The 38-year-old actor, who was recently nominated for an Oscar for his role in the Netflix biography Tick, Tick… Boom!, started filming just after the death of Lynn Garfield, an Essex teacher , in 2019.
“It’s very, very difficult, I think with a loss like that the world rearranges itself and I say this knowing that I’m not unique in this experience,” he told Jackie Long on Channel 4.
“It’s so strange because it feels very unique when it happens, it’s like ‘oh my god, I’m the only person who’s ever lost their mother’, because it feels so lonely and specific.
“It feels like a definite agony and for a while I didn’t want to and couldn’t do anything. I was a little lost and the world didn’t make sense, and it still doesn’t make sense, because I miss her so much, and I hope it never makes sense because I want I always miss her.
Garfield plays Jonathan Larson in the biography, the lyricist and composer of the musical Rent who died on its opening day. It’s about the directorial debut of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, and chronicles the challenges Larson faced trying to break into the industry by writing a new musical.
Garfield has already received recognition for the role, winning Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy Motion Picture at the Golden Globes – something he thinks his mother would have been proud of.
“She was proud of my accomplishments, but she was much more proud of how I treated someone at Sainsbury’s or Asda who was watching us with our groceries. He was someone who cared about the little niceties in life,” he said.
“If I’m angry with someone, if I’m having a rough day and someone walks past me and they’re nice to me and I’m gruff, I’ll feel a little hand on my shoulder. It’ll be my mom’s hand, and I hear her say, ‘Andrew…’, and I’ll come back and say, ‘Hey, sorry, that was a little rude of me.’
“I hope she never takes a hand off my shoulder like that.”
Garfield previously spoke to Variety about his mother’s death, saying he had only just learned of her diagnosis before heading to North Carolina to shoot Tammy Faye’s Eyes.
He said his mother encouraged him to leave and agreed to let him know when it was time to come home. He returned to England to be by her side at the end of 2019.
Speaking to GQ in November, he said there was “nothing unsaid” between them.
“We had all the quality time we could have while she was here,” he said. “And these last two weeks that I have been able to be with her have probably been the most profound two weeks of my life.
“To be with her and my father and my brother, all her friends, my nephews. It was full of grace in the midst of terrible tragedy.