Behind the Scenes of Martin Scorsese’s SILENCE:
While Preparing for Missionary Drama, Actor Andrew Garfield Says He Fell in Love with Jesus
By Diana Tyler, Contributing Writer
Actor Andrew Garfield, best known for his roles in THE SOCIAL NETWORK, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and Mel Gibson’s HACKSAW RIDGE, recently revealed that during the making of his current movie, he fell in love with Jesus.
The movie, SILENCE, is a historical drama set in Japan. Based on the 1966 novel of the same name, it tells the story of two 17th Century Jesuit priests who travel from Portugal to Nagasaki to find their mentor and spread the message of Catholicism. The priests, refusing to believe their mentor has renounced his faith after being tortured, risk their lives and endure incredible suffering on their journey to discover the truth.
Garfield’s character, Father Sebastião Rodrigues, is eventually captured and experiences struggles quite similar to those of his mentor. He’s tortured, forced to witness the torturing of others and is even plagued by his own mind with unanswerable questions regarding his beliefs and the unfathomable ways of God. Ultimately, he is met face to face with the hardest question of all: Whether or not to commit apostasy if doing so will save the lives of other Christians.
To prepare for the part, Garfield asked Father James Martin of America Magazine to guide him through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For those unfamiliar, the monastic exercises are disciplines designed to help people experience a deepening relationship with and connection to God through four focused weeks of prayer and meditation exercises.
Garfield worked with Father Martin for a full year on the Exercises. In his interview with America, the actor said, “The “main thing that [he] wanted to heal, that [he] brought to Jesus, that [he] brought to the Exercises, was this feeling of not-enough-ness.” He explained this feeling as “that forever longing for the perfect expression of this thing that is inside each of us. That wound of not-enough-ness. That wound of feeling like what I have to offer is never enough.”
“There were so many things in the Exercises that changed me and transformed me,” Garfield said, “that showed me who I was. . . and where I believe God wants me to be.”
When he was asked which part of the Exercises stood out to him most, the actor gazed off into the distance, clutched his chest, and with laughter in his voice, answered: “God! That was the most remarkable thing: falling in love, and how easy it was to fall in love with Jesus.”
This fascinating interview will no doubt leave readers wondering whether Garfield is now a born-again Christian, or if his experience was nothing more than in-depth research, and his reaction to it emotional and superficial. Rather than wondering and speculating about the nature of Garfield’s beliefs, what seems more appropriate, and certainly more beneficial, is to pray for his beliefs.
It’s clear that seeds have been planted in the actor’s heart, but, as Jesus taught, one of the Devil’s strategies is to come and snatch the seeds before they take root and grow into a full bloom of faith (Luke 8:12).
Many of us can relate to Garfield’s excitement. After having spent a significant amount of time in God’s presence, either alone in prayer or with other believers attending a Christian conference or church retreat, we’ve known the absolute joy of feeling inextricably connected to our Creator as well as the desire to learn more about Him and His will for us. We also know, however, that the Enemy hates that joy, almost as much as he hates us as followers of Christ. He doesn’t wait long before he attacks us with fiery darts of doubts, distractions, carnal desires, and negative influences that can quickly derail us.
For all its glitz and glamour, Hollywood can be, and many times is, a very dark place filled with lost and hurting people who are searching for truth and healing and overcome with the feeling Garfield described as that “wound of not-enough-ness.” Prayerfully, God will arrange more divine appointments during which actors, directors, screenwriters, and producers may be exposed to His mercy, love and saving grace.
Finally, let us pray that the seeds which are planted may be watered and nurtured, producing a harvest of lush, sturdy trees which bear fruit for the world to see.
Diana Anderson-Tyler is the author of multiple books on Faith and Fitness and she is a co-owner and coach at CrossFit 925. Diana can be found on Twitter here.