Andrew Garfield has played everyone from a Jesuit missionary (in Silence) to Spider-man (in, well, The Amazing Spider-Man), and but he’s not about to slow down any time soon. This year, he starred alongside Claire Foy in the Andy Serkis-directed biopic Breathe about the heroic polio survivor Robin Cavendish, and next he’ll play Prior Walter Angels in America‘s return to Broadway. “I’m a masochist,” he joked. “I think as soon as I finish Angels in America I’m gonna just do really easy things for the rest of my life.”
Although that seems unlikely, perhaps Garfield could find a second act as a professional tennis table player. It is, of course, his secret skill. Here, the actor takes W‘s screen test, and shares the outrageous story of his first kiss, his heart-warming New Year’s Eve tradition, and the moment he knew he’d made it in Hollywood.
When was the moment you first felt like you’d made it in Hollywood?
When I was puking in Prince’s toilet. I was out in L.A. for the first time, and I had auditioned for Robert Redford for the first film that I ended up doing called Lions for Lambs that he directed. I was staying on my manager’s assistant’s coach in West Hollywood, and he was like, “Hey, you need to get a suit for tonight. You’re gonna be my plus-one to all these Golden Globe parties” and I was like, “I don’t wanna do that, but okay.” So went to the Beverly Center and I was in H&M, and I was trying on a suit, and I got a call from my agent at the time telling me that I had just got the part to play opposite Robert Redford.
I went out that night with a very, very different attitude than I had previously had, and I ended up at one of those silly parties, and I was in line with Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz, just in front of them. So I went in and didn’t know I was gonna vomit, but as soon as I got in there, I realized that I was gonna vomit. [Laughs] And I vomited. And I came out very sheepishly knowing that these two beautiful Latina women had to go to the bathroom where I had just tarnished the sacred space of Prince’s bathroom.
I don’t think we’ll ever top your birthday story, so I’m going to ask you, what was your favorite New Year’s Eve?
No. Definitely not gonna top the birthday story with a New Year’s story. New Year’s sucks. I only have very sentimental, very heartfelt New Year’s stories. The silly New Year’s stories are end up in me very out of my mind laying in a puddle in my friend’s back garden. You know, it’s always an anticlimax. I don’t dig it. I do a ritual every New Year’s where I go with my closest friends in England and we write down all the things that have happened in the last year or all the things that we wanna let go of, all the things that we need to clear out, and we write them all down, and we go up to the top of Primrose Hill, which is a beautiful place in London, and we burn the paper. And then all the things that we wanna let go of to allow in what we want for the next year, whether it’s for us, for each other, or the world, or whatever. Beautiful ritual. It’s an old like ancient indigenous ritual.
I love that ritual.
Yeah, there was one amazing New Year where I was in Hawaii with my mother and a very close person in my life and all of my other family had gone to sleep, and we stood on the coastline where the ocean meets the sand, and it was just us, the three of us, and it was the most intimate New Year’s moment. It was very, very beautiful with two people that I love very much, and under the magic of Hawaii, as well. So I’ve had very nice, beautiful, calm New Year’s, but any wild New Year’s is not worth telling. It always ends up as kind of a shit story actually.
Where was your first kiss?
Okay, so I’d just gone to a new school and it was a coed school – my first term at coed school in the South of England. I was 12, 13, and, you know, hormones raging, and I had just been introduced to this new group of friends, and there was another new girl at school who said, “Oh, my parents are out of town. I’m gonna have a party” and it was literally–I can’t explain, I don’t know what happened–but it was bacchanalian at 13. Everyone was just like, “Oh, we get to all kiss each other” and it was about 150, 200 people, and I think that was the night of my first kiss, her name was Amy Frances.
But then three minutes later, I kissed another girl in my year–I’m not gonna say her name–but there was nothing special about it. It was like, “Let’s get this out the way. Let’s do this.” And it was about five hours of everyone going, “Have we made out yet? No?” But it was all very above board, and amazing, and free. At a certain point my friend Simon was like, “Isn’t that your mum?” and I looked to my left, and I think I was in the middle of something with a girl that I really liked, and I saw my mother and I just dropped her and was like, “Okay, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.” It was like midnight. It was a magical night for a 13-year-old where anything was possible.
Did you talk to these girls afterwards or…
Oh yeah, we had the next six years in school together, so that was just the beginning of a long friendship. It was weirdly innocent and very sweet, but I think we all just went, “We can do this.” It was like when you first get your license or something. You go “I can – this shouldn’t be allowed that I’m driving a car, a death machine, on my own. This shouldn’t be allowed that we can just like put our tongues against each other’s tongues.” It was one of the great nights. It was one of the great nights, and we still talk about it, me and my friends from 20 years ago, we’ll be in a pub or we’ll be at dinner and be like “Remember Dora’s party?” Yeah.
What did you tell your mom on the way home?
Oh no, thankfully she was looking around the party. But as soon as I saw her, I pulled myself together, and apologized vigorously to the girl that I was with, and said, “Okay, let’s go. Why did you come in the garden? Why did you come in the garden? Get in the car.” [We were] not drunk either! Not drunk, just kissing. Oh, the best. It was like this collective awakening. It really was. It was like the end of perfume where everyone was just like “Oh, my God” and then mother arrives, and then it’s ridiculous.
Who’s your current cinematic crush?
I just saw Lady Bird. Saoirse [Ronan]…Laurie [Metcalf]’s amazing… and Greta [Gerwig], you know. I think what Greta has done is shockingly accomplished, and I have a little crush on her for that, as well as, of course, Lucas Hedges. He’s my heart. He kills me, and you know, the whole cast. Everyone’s just wonderful.
Do you have any secret skills?
I play table tennis. I’m rather good at table tennis. I used to play when I was a kid. I love the game. I love it so much. It’s like the nerdiest game, but it’s like so quick and it’s why I like basketball as well, I think, ’cause it’s so fast, but this is even quicker. It’s all hand eye coordination. It’s like a martial art, and I love it.
Do you play all the time?
No, I haven’t played in a long time. I like playing with like old Russian guys at like a JCC somewhere. Actually, I’m not gonna tell people where the place is ’cause it’s kind of a secret.
Gal Gadot, Emma Stone, Margot Robbie, and More Are the Best Performances of the Year
“This year on Halloween, my daughter and I went trick-or-treating, and I had on this huge mask so I could see everyone but they couldn’t see me. Whenever I saw a Wonder Woman costume on a girl or a boy, it was so exciting. My daughter, who was dressed as a unicorn zombie, would run up to me and say, “Did you see that Wonder Woman?” They were everywhere!”
Gal Gadot wears Moschino Couture dress; Fabergé ring; Off-White c/o Jimmy Choo shoes.
“[Jennifer Lawrence] came to see Cabaret and both of my contacts popped out of my eyes at the same time and my prescription is -900, which, if you know what that means, is like…I cannot see. So, they had to drag me off the stage in the dark and she came backstage afterwards and I was like, ‘I couldn’t see anything! It was garbage! It was a disaster!’ And she was like, ‘Enough, enough. I’m your dance mom. You need to calm down.’”
Emma Stone wears a Louis Vuitton dress; Cartier earrings.
“I am Vietnamese, and we don’t celebrate birthdays. My parents don’t actually know their birth dates—they just go by their signs. When somebody asks you how old you are, you say, ‘I’m born this month in the Year of the…’ I was born in the Year of the Sheep. Sheep don’t like to be the center of attention, and they don’t like being told what to do. That pretty much sums me up.”
Hong Chau wears an Etro dress; Chanel Fine Jewelry earrings; Tiffany & Co. ring.
“I’ve had a flirtation with Winston Churchill for years; there’s been a book of famous Churchill quotes on my bookshelf since childhood. To me, he was the man who won the war. And yet, when I was first asked to play the part, I thought, Don’t be ridiculous, and turned it down. But they came back, and it felt right. My wife said, ‘Look, you get to stand in Parliament and say these great words. What have you got to lose?’”
Gary Oldman wears a Canali suit; Boss shirt and tie.
“I always joke that Jason Dixon, the character I play in Three Billboards, is Barney Fife meets Travis Bickle. I spent a lot of time trying to perfect his southern Missouri accent. I did ride-alongs with a cop down there—he had a great twang. Accents should be practiced as if you’re drunk. Actors get a little tense when they have to do an accent. Drunkenness relaxes everything.”
Sam Rockwell wears a Marni trench; Editions M.R shirt; Simon Miller T-shirt; Huntsman pants; Rolex watch; Church’s shoes.
“My character in The Meyerowitz Stories is a sweet family girl, but when she sends films she makes in school to her family, you see her wild side. I’m naked in most of those films. I sat next to my dad at the premiere, and that was probably the most uncomfortable thing in my life. To see myself 75 feet tall and naked was not easy. I sank into my chair and heard my dad kind of laugh nervously. We pretended those scenes never happened.”
Grace Van Patten wears an Alberta Ferretti dress; her own jewelry.
“Being an actress, for me, is about my own transition. It’s about looking for answers. It’s about trying to survive in my life and also for the lives of others who face similar challenges. Life is scary, but art is not scary.”
Daniela Vega wears a Max Mara dress; David Webb earrings; Piaget necklace; Chanel Fine Jewelry ring (right hand); Tiffany & Co. bracelet and ring (left hand); Gianvito Rossi shoes.
“My husband is an artist, but he still has a hard time watching me sometimes. During The Killing of a Sacred Deer at the Cannes Film Festival, he was both hypnotized and shattered. When he hears me scream or cry from a certain place in my soul, it’s almost like it goes straight into him. His brain and heart don’t discern between acting and real life.”
Nicole Kidman wears a Prada top and skirt; Chanel Fine Jewelry ring; Jimmy Choo pumps.
Where was your first kiss? This is going to sound like a murder story, but it was in the woods, outside of a baseball park. I had lost my turtle. Curtis, the guy I kissed, found it.
Was that your first pet? No, it was a schnauzer named Ozzie. He hated us so much. He never wanted to be in the same room with us.
So what’s your porno name—first pet plus first street name? Ozzie Ormond.
What was your favorite Halloween costume? A picnic table. My mom wouldn’t let me be a witch or a ghost or anything demonic, so I cut a hole in a plastic cloth and went as a picnic table. The problem was I had a crush on this guy named John, and I was so pumped for Halloween because it was our chance to interact. And then I put my face in the tablecloth and was like, “Hi, John. Are you my boyfriend?”
Jennifer Lawrence wears a Dior dress; Dior Fine Jewelry earrings and ring.
“When I first read the script for Get Out, I thought, Are you allowed to do this? Are they really going to let this black guy kill all these white people? I think the most fascinating art pieces come at a price to the person making them. And this movie took a risk. On opening night, I went to see it in a theater in the hood in Atlanta. The crowd clapped, they cheered, they yelled, ‘Get out, man! Yo—get out!’ It was all the stuff that we hoped the audience would say.”
Daniel Kaluuya wears a Gosha Rubchinskiy x Adidas Football sweatshirt and sweatpants; ’47 hat; Gucci socks; Kaluuya’s own sneakers.
“I booked The Florida Project when I was 6. I’m 7 now. It was really fun because during shooting I got to eat ice cream! I want to start my own YouTube channel, and the name of it will be I Am Crazy for Ice Cream because I am crazy for ice cream. I’m also so into fashion. I wear shorts in the movie, and they were so short. It was a struggle getting them on. Now, I’m like, ‘Mom! Where are my skirts? No more shorts!’”
Brooklynn Prince wears a Baby Dior dress; La Coqueta shoes.
“I’m naked quite a lot in Beach Rats, and it’s a little strange to act when you’re naked. When the boom operator is standing over you, and you’re not wearing anything, it’s awkward. But, in the end, I didn’t find it difficult. I’m pretty comfortable with my body. Not in an ‘I’m happy to flaunt it for £5’ kind of way, but it does go deep into the psychology of someone trying to figure out their own sexuality, and their identity.”
Harris Dickinson wears a Calvin Klein 205W39NYC shirt, pants, and boots.
“As an actor, people put you in categories. It’s ‘Oh, she has an accent,’ or ‘She doesn’t have an accent,’ or ‘She can do this accent,’ or ‘No, she can’t.’ They’ll say, ‘She’s a pretty blonde, so I don’t know if we can see her in a comedy.’ So I know that for Fatih Akin to pick me was a big risk because he’s very well known in Germany as a director who casts unknowns or people he discovers who are not actors at all. In the beginning, he got a lot of backlash for it. And, in truth, I don’t think I could have played this character five years ago. Now I’m ready to shed any beauty look. I want to be stripped of any pretense, of any glamour.”
Diane Kruger wears a Rosamosario romper; Christian Louboutin shoes.
“When I was 14, I auditioned for an Off Broadway play. The scene was about a bris, the Jewish tradition of a child having the tip of his penis snipped off. Being the nice Jewish kid that I was, I did not know what a bris was, and I decided to pronounce it brie. Bris as brie. So I did the monologue, and, at the end, the director said, ‘Thank you very much, and it’s pronounced bris.’ I did not get the part.”
Ben Stiller wears a Gucci coat; Olatz pajamas.
“When I was 6, my favorite film was Robin Hood: Men in Tights. It’s got a lot of adult jokes, and it was really inappropriate for a child to see. In school, they asked us, ‘If you were to make a potion, what would you put in it?’ Even then, I could recall lines of movies, and I said, ‘The testicles of a newt!’ I got called up to the front of the class and was asked why I put testicles in my potion. I had no idea what testicles were—I just loved the film.”
Margot Robbie wears a Dolce & Gabbana top, shorts, and shoes.
“I was late to the game on The Room, which is considered by many to be the worst movie of all time. For years, I would see this billboard in L.A. that Tommy Wiseau, the actor and star of the movie, had paid to have up on Highland Avenue. It was a picture of him, sort of glaring down at you, with the words THE ROOM and a phone number. I was like, ‘What is this? Do you call the number and this crazy, weird, vampirelike guy can be in your movie?’ But then I started reading The Disaster Artist, which was written by one of the other actors in the movie, and before I was halfway through, I just knew it was such an incredible, bizarre story, unlike any other in Hollywood, about outsider artists trying to achieve their dreams. I was instantly drawn to Tommy. It’s almost like we were made for each other.”
James Franco wears a Balenciaga shirt; his own pants.
“To play Molly Bloom, I thought about what women have to become in order to find power in a society where men are making all of the rules. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh—the Kardashians are an incredible example of women who have their own sense of entrepreneurial power.’ And in real life, Molly looked a lot like them. For research, I actually watched Kim’s tutorial on face shading and contouring. As the movie goes on, Molly transforms into this idea of what a woman has to be in order to be heard: The heels get higher, the necklines are lower, the hair is longer. It was quite a departure for me, physically. And the strange thing is, I don’t look like myself at all in this film, and so many people have said to me that I’ve never looked better.”
Jessica Chastain wears an Oscar de la Renta dress; Sophie Buhai earrings.
“Until I read the script for Lady Bird, I had never encountered a female heroine who very much sees herself as a female heroine. In films, you rarely see young girls who love themselves. Lady Bird takes the self-confidence thing to a new level. She knows she’s going to be someone. And she has something to say, even if she doesn’t quite know what it is yet.”
Saoirse Ronan wears a Chanel dress.
Did you have an audition outfit back when you were starting out? I had multiple outfits. Much like a costume box. I would change between auditions. I remember changing in the car on the freeway. I’m still a fast changer. And discreet. I have a talent for taking my clothes off quickly.
What was your first favorite film? The Sound of Music. It was very influential. And I got to meet Captain von Trapp while filming All the Money in the World [Christopher Plummer replaced Kevin Spacey after Spacey was pulled from the project]. We were about to be in this movie together, and I thought, How soon is too soon to ask Christopher Plummer to sing “Edelweiss” into my phone for my daughter?
Michelle Williams wears a Louis Vuitton dress.
“I play real people a lot. And it is a huge responsibility. Anytime you are playing somebody who was alive, for good or for bad, that performance becomes a version of an official record of what happened: what motivated them, what obstacles they faced, and how they got through their particular struggle. There’s a degree of leeway that you can allow yourself as long as you’re not turning good guys into bad guys, or knowledge into ignorance. Having said that, it’s a little easier playing someone who’s no longer living. Because then you don’t have to meet them.”
Tom Hanks wears a Tom Ford suit, vest, and shoes; Boss shirt; Rolex watch.
“I had a successful soap opera career in Mexico, but I left my fame and my comfort and I moved to Los Angeles because I wanted to make films. I was very, very famous in Mexico, and in the States I was working as an extra. People thought maybe I was running from the police. Why else would I leave everything I had to play a maid? I told them, ‘This industry is going to change. We are too strong of an economic force to be ignored forever.’”
Salma Hayek wears a Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello dress; Cartier earrings.
“I was loosely attached to Call Me by Your Name for four years. It never seemed like it was coming together, and then it did. Now I’ve spent nearly two years promoting it. So, in many ways, it will be the project of my youth. When I’m older, I’ll look at this film and remember what it was like to not be jaded, old, and washed up. I’ll look back and say, ‘Oh, when I was young…’”
Timothée Chalamet wears a Sandro jacket and pants; Schiesser tank top; Sermoneta Gloves gloves; Calvin Klein 205W39NYC boots.
“My first kiss was at a party, when I was 12 or 13, during my first term at a coed school, so, you know, hormones were raging. A girl named Dora had this party when her parents were out of town, and it was literally a bacchanalia for 13-year-olds. No one was having sex, but it was just like, ‘Oh, we all get to kiss each other.’ And there were around 200 people there. It was about five hours of everyone going, ‘Have we made out yet? No? Let’s go!’ To this day, my friends and I will be in a pub or at dinner and say, ‘Remember Dora’s party?’ and sigh. It was an awakening.”
Andrew Garfield wears a Shrimps coat; Michael Kors sweater; Sunspel sweatpants.
Watch: Andrew Garfield’s Idea of Heaven Is Disneyland and Brownies