Andrew Garfield, fresh off his first Oscar nomination as Best Actor for “Hacksaw Ridge,” said Mel Gibson’s movie about real-life WWII hero Desmond Doss is especially important right now given the “deeply wounded time we’re in.”
“Desmond feels to me like an antidote to all of the values that our current president seems to hold,” the American-born British actor told TheWrap Tuesday.
“Desmond is a kind of opposite — he lives his life in the opposite fashion to the values of our leader is now filtering down from the top,” said the actor, who voted last year in both the U.K.’s Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidential election. “It’s heartening that people are responding to Desmond.”
Garfield is pleased that Academy voters have responded to the movie, which earned six nominations, including Best Picture. “It’s a story and a character that embodies the virtues and values of compassion, humility, sacrifice, love for your fellow human beings,” he said. “Obviously, we’re in a very divided state right now and it’s a deeply wounded time we’re in, and I think Desmond is a healer — he’s someone who goes into the deepest wounds of humanity and does the hard work of healing.”
“Not only does he heal his fellow American soldiers, but also healed his enemy soldiers as well — he doesn’t understand the concept of ‘enemy,'” the actor said. “He embodies those virtues of humility, love, self sacrifice, or authenticity and truthfulness and people are responding to it because it’s very hopeful — especially with whom we’ve just elected as president of America.”
Garfield, who also starred in Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” — which earned a single nomination, for cinematography — called the experience of working with two legends in filmmaking “overwhelming.”
“You can’t quite compute it — I still don’t understand it,” he said. “I’m really grateful that I had those experiences back to back. They are filmmakers who are so confident and genius in what they do and it makes me — it makes everyone around them — better, it brings up everyone’s game. That’s all you want is to work with fantastic filmmakers to tell stories that feel urgent and important in the times you’re in.”
“Silence,” which was mostly shut out in film awards, also bombed at the box office its opening weekend, only earning $2 million although its production budget was estimated around $40 million. However, the movie has been a critical success with a 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — and Garfield agreed the film is “a masterpiece.”
“‘Silence’ is a masterpiece that Scorsese made. I think it’s a film that will last time beyond this awards season,” he added. “Scorsese is the high priest of cinema and he’s made something that’s transcended conversations … he’s telling a story that is so deeply profound and so thought-provoking and heart-provoking, that it stays with you long after.
“Obviously, would I want his work and the actors’ work to be recognized? Yes,” he continued. “But I’m so proud of the film — I’m equally proud about that as ‘Hacksaw Ridge.’ I know it’ll be a film people will come back to over and over again — the work it does to the audience is very deep and transformative.”