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Andrew Garfield has harsh words for capitalism’s effect on art, including his acting roles

Andrew Garfield is not about hustle culture.

Andrew Garfield - Getty
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Andrew Garfield is an artist, through and through.

That much was made clear in a recent interview between the 39-year-old actor and GQ. During the interview, Garfield took time to gush about his time as Spider-Man, his history in theater and onscreen, and even to deride the effect capitalism has on art. The age we’re currently living in puts many artists in a tough spot, and Garfield isn’t a fan.

Speaking with Alex Pappademas on Nov. 15, Garfield dug into the inherent tension between a need for consistent income, and the genuine desire to pursue art wholly unmotivated by profit.

Discussing the “eternal struggle” that results from this tension, Garfield called the “capitalistic period” in which we are currently living “deeply disgusting and horrific and ugly and all those things, as well as beautiful.”

Noting that it’s “a fascinating time to be alive,” Garfield lamented the “grind” that so many of us find ourselves mired in, and discussed the need to find balance. News of his own short break from the world of acting sparked instant headlines, as people wondered when he would return to the spotlight, and Garfield noted this as a stellar example of how society encourages people to be constantly “on.”

Joking that he is prepared to be a “slave to capitalism,” Garfield noted his privilege, both as an accomplished actor and an adult who’s found a way to strike balance between hard work and well-earned time off.

“I’m of a generation slightly older than the iPhone generation,” he said. “That kind of ‘hustle culture’—I lived pre-that, I suppose. But it’s a tricky one, because I’m for hard work. I was raised by a swimming-coach father. I like feeling devoted. I like grinding at something that I care about, for sure.”

If not for the need to generate a solid income, and his passion for the many film roles he takes on, it seems Garfield would be perfectly content as a poor, but thriving, theatre actor. He emphasized how satisfying he finds stage work, and noted that theatre work feels “evergreen” in a world where everything is fast-paced.

“If I can do theatre for the rest of my life to an audience of 50 people a night, I know that my life is going to be satisfying,” he said.

Garfield is still years—perhaps even decades—away from retirement, but its comforting to know that even once he’s left Hollywood behind, his longtime fans can likely find the celebrated actor taking it easy back in London, cropping up in the occasional stage production, and thriving on the “world of spirit, the world of imagination” that he so loves.

Nahila Bonfiglio
About the author

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila carefully obsesses over all things geekdom and gaming, bringing her embarrassingly expansive expertise to the team at We Got This Covered. She is a Staff Writer and occasional Editor with a focus on comics, video games, and most importantly 'Lord of the Rings,' putting her Bachelors from the University of Texas at Austin to good use. Her work has been featured alongside the greats at NPR, the Daily Dot, and Nautilus Magazine.