The 33-year-old actor explained in an interview with BBC’s Newsbeat that his remarks about preparing for his role as a gay man in the London revival of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America were were “twisted” and “taken out of context.”
In the play, The Amazing Spider-Man star plays Prior Walter, a gay man battling the reality of AIDS during the height of the 1980s crisis that killed hundreds of thousands in the gay community.
During a NT Platform discussion earlier this month, Garfield talked about how he prepared for the role, including how he spent time consulting his LGBTQ friends. “[The play is] as much devoted to my friends in the gay community as it is those that passed during the epidemic,” he said.
He also turned to an iconic drag queen: RuPaul. Garfield and friends made their way through every season of the Supermodel of the World’s hit series RuPaul’s Drag Race. “My only time off during rehearsals – every Sunday — I would have eight friends over and we would just watch Ru,” Garfield said.
“This is my life outside of this play,” he continued. “I am a gay man right now just without the physical act – that’s all.”
“That’s of course not what I meant at all,” Garfield told Newsbeat. “That discussion was about this play and how deeply grateful I am that I get to work on something so profound. It’s a love letter to the LGBTQ community. We were talking about, ‘How do you prepare for something so important and so big?’ and I was basically saying, ‘I dive in as fully as I possibly can.’”
Garfield said he wants to help the community in any way he can.
“It’s important to a community that I feel so welcomed by. The intention in my comments was to speak to that, speak to my desire to play this part to the best of my ability and to fully immerse myself in a culture that I adore,” he added.
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Garfield may have immersed himself in gay culture, but many members of the LGBTQ community criticized him for confusing that with the full extent of gay life.
“You’re a talented guy, but you seem to be completely oblivious to what is coming out of your mouth,” actor Scott Evans (Daytime Divas) wrote.
“The straight white privilege of Andrew Garfield,” said comedian H. Alan Scott. “Must be nice to be able to be gay without any of the hardships.”
Garfield previously faced backlash from the gay community after famously locking lips with Ryan Reynolds during the Golden Globes in January, which caused many to criticize him for making a joke of a kiss between two men.