Andrew Garfield: ‘Tick, Tick… Boom was made in collaboration with ghost of Jonathan Larson’

Garfield plays the Rent writer in Lin-Manuel Miranda's new film.

Tick Tick Boom

Andrew Garfield is emerging as one of the early favourites for next year’s Oscar nominations – with his performance as Jonathan Larson in semi-autobiographical musical Tick, Tick… Boom! having won praise across the board.


And speaking to and other press ahead of the film’s release, Garfield spoke about taking on the role of iconic Rent writer Larson – who passed away aged 35 on the eve of his hit show’s debut in 1996.

Explaining that the film was made “in collaboration with the ghost of Jon Larson”, Garfield said: “For me, it felt like I was living kind of in Jon’s psyche. Like we were hanging out in different chambers of Jon’s memory, psyche, imagination – just who he was as a person, and in almost a timeless place.

“And I think that kind of thing starts to happen when you’re about to reach an important threshold in your life,” he added. “Memory, images, impressions, things start to break through when you’re about to do something that feels important or that feels affirming or scary.  suddenly you are met with all of the demons, all of the angels, and, and all of the rest. And that’s what it felt like being on the inside of it – in that same tradition of All That Jazz, I suppose.”

The film is framed in such a way that includes sections both with Larson performing on stage and also going about his everyday life – and Garfield explained that this was interesting in that it essentially allowed him to play two different versions of the character.

“I think that there’s definitely a huge distinction,” he said. “When we’re doing the New York Theatre Workshop stuff he is reliving this very fateful week, but reliving it cellularly, you know – like any good actor or performer does. And he gets to totally luxuriate in his own performers’ personality. And he was always at 11 – even if he was bashing out his Casio at home alone, if a song was coming through him, it was as if he was singing to the back row of the Carnegie Hall.

“That being said, I think to find those quieter, more intimate moments, more private moments were the real kind of the golden ones that Lin and I were really intent on mining, because his heart is not just on its sleeve, it’s just like it’s seeping out of every cell, it’s spilling all over the kitchen table.

“He can’t help but live this way. So those more internal private moments, while he’s watching, you know, Sunday with his friends, or while he is attempting to write this unwritable song, or while he’s absorbing the news that this musical is not going to get produced, those were the moments where we see Jon, getting closer to who he is, in a way, getting closer to that quiet, still, small voice and ultimately, the thing that he’s running away from.”

Tick, Tick… BOOM! is released in select UK cinemas on Friday 12th November and arrives on Netflix on Friday 19th November. Visit our Movies hub for more news and features or find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide.