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Spider-Man was a superhero that Andrew Garfield once dreamed about being. But when he was finally able to play the character, it wasn’t what he imagined it would be.

How Andrew Garfield handled his Spider-Man fame

Andrew Garfield standing in front of a bush.
Andrew Garfield | Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Garfield was already fairly well-known in the entertainment industry before Spider-Man. His role in David Fincher’s The Social Network helped further propel him into Hollywood’s spotlight. But it was his turn as Spider-Man in the titular film The Amazing Spider-Man that helped catapult Garfield’s superstar status.

It was a character Garfield had his eye on since he was still an aspiring actor. But after obtaining his dream role, the Oscar-nominated actor was introduced to the darker side of fame. And it was a side-effect of his newfound celebrity that he wasn’t prepared for.

“It was a character that I wanted to play my whole life and not one part of me was indifferent … but I got incredibly uncomfortable with the attention that just came with that job. It was nothing to do with me, it was to do with this idea of celebrity,” he once said in an interview with Vulture.

It didn’t help that, at the time, Garfield was still in the process of figuring out who he was as a person.

“It’s like, ‘Oh, f***, my life is now great!’ But in fact, I’m still f***** up in my own ways, and insecure, and scared, and don’t really know who I am. Celebrity is the new religion, as far as I can see, along with money, power, status. It’s all the same umbrella — the seductive forces of evil, really,” he said.

Andrew Garfield eventually grew disappointed with his Spider-Man fame

When Garfield first heard the news that he’d be cast as the iconic superhero, he was more than enthused. But that level of enthusiasm waned a bit when he realized he wasn’t actually going to be Spider-Man.

“When I found out about being cast in Spider-Man, it was like this bubble developed around me. I was floating in it for a while. And then, suddenly, it evaporated, and I was like, ‘Well, I’m just an actor. I don’t get to actually be Spider-Man.’ But maybe I’ll have moments where I’m convinced that I am and those periods of fantasy will get me through,” he once confided on Interview Magazine.

Apart from that, Garfield also began to miss the simpler times of being an actor after his popularity skyrocketed thanks to Spider-Man.

“[I liked] struggling… auditioning and getting turned down and wondering if I’m ever going to get another job. To achieve what you set out to achieve and realise it’s not what you want, it’s disappointing,” Garfield once told Radio Times (via Contact Music).

Garfield assumed that roles like Spider-Man would have him set for life, living in his own utopia.

“But you never get to utopia. The dream has become reality,” he added.

What led to Andrew Garfield leaving his Spider-Man franchise


Like Andrew Garfield, These Oscar-Nominated Actors Took a Break From Hollywood

Garfield was eventually replaced as Spider-Man by Tom Holland, who made his debut as the superhero in 2016’s Captain America Civil War. There were a few conflicting reports about Garfield leaving the franchise, including the speculation that he intentionally self-sabotaged his role. In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, although he didn’t give a definitive answer, Garfield did offer his perspective on the matter.

“What I’ll proudly say is that I didn’t compromise who I was, I was only ever myself. And that might have been difficult for some people,” he said.

Garfield also touched on what his original vision for his Spider-Man film was. But it was a vision that might have gone against the studio’s.

“I thought, if I can infuse all this ancient knowledge and wisdom into [Spider-Man], it could be profoundly affecting for young people in the audience. That was always my intention and what I tried to do,” he continued. “I was 25 and I was naive – not because of that, but because I was naive to the whole process of making one of those big-budget films.”