‘Tick, Tick … Boom!’ Star Andrew Garfield on His ‘Spiritual’ Devotion to Jonathan Larson’s Legacy

Variety's Awards Circuit Podcast: 'Tick, Tick ... Boom!' star Andrew Garfield says working with Lin-Manuel Miranda was a 'no-brainer.'

Andrew Garfield Variety Cover Story
Cliff Watts for Variety

Andrew Garfield describes winding up as the star of the film “Tick, Tick … Boom!” as a “very strange, magical cosmic experience.” Not only working with director Lin-Manuel Miranda, whom he had “a big kind of artistic crush on,” but developing an emotional kinship with the person he portrays, the late playwright Jonathan Larson.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut centers on the story of “Rent” playwright Larson, during his time as an aspiring composer in New York City who toils over whether he traveled down the wrong career path. It’s also Garfield’s debut in a film musical, and he shows off his singing chops.

Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast recently spoke with Garfield about “Tick, Tick … Boom!,” working with Miranda, and much more. They began by discussing how Garfield first got involved with the project. Listen to the episode below!

“When I heard that [Miranda] wanted to talk to me about something, I immediately just thought, whatever it is, I know it’s going to be deep, emotional, heartfelt, funny, joyful, meaningful,” Garfield says. “I know, it’s gonna run the gamut of great story. So it was an immediate no-brainer for me. And then add to that, he introduced me to Jon Larson through his work, a deeper dive beyond ‘Rent’ and into who he was as a human being. And then it was this kind of very cosmic strange thing where he was introducing me to what felt like a long lost brother, whom I’d never met before. Here was this kind of beautiful kinship that I was able to start creating with the spirit of Jon Larson.

“And then from that came this overwhelming desire to give John another life,” Garfield says of Larson, who died at 35 on the eve of the first off-Broadway preview of “Rent.” “It became this kind of spiritual devotional experience where every morning, I would wake up and I would devote myself at the altar of Jon Larson, and therefore the altar of art and the altar of carrying on with one’s creative calling.”

Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast is hosted by Clayton Davis, Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Jenelle Riley and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in movies. Michael Schneider is the producer and Drew Griffith edits. Each week, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every week.