Actor Andrew Garfield developed a love for all things Christian as he studied to portray a 17th century Jesuit priest in Martin Scorsese's new movie Silence.
The Amazing Spider-Man star landed the role of Father Sebastiao Rodrigues a year before filming began and immersed himself in religious teaching in a bid to perfect the part, studying the literature of the Jesuits and meeting regularly with Father James Martin, a priest who served as an adviser on the movie.
"He gave me spiritual direction as if I were a Jesuit in training," Garfield tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It became a very personal journey for me, a dual journey: It was me and Rodrigues, walking together, so that I could allow the events of the story to affect me in the way that a young, ambitious, intelligent, articulate, learned Jesuit would respond to being dropped into the front lines of the battle for Christianity."
In the film, the Brit and castmate Adam Driver portray priests attempting to find Christian converts in Japan.
To help them understand their characters, the actors were sent to a Jesuit retreat in Wales, where Garfield completed the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola.
"It's the basis for a lot of 12-step programs (for recovering addicts), a long-form meditation and prayer spent imagining the life of Christ, story by story, gospel by gospel, and sitting with his teachings, sitting with him as he discovers who he is in the wilderness, and really meditating upon his life and even crucifixion," Garfield explains to the publication.
"I was filled up with all this information and all this longing to spread the teachings of Christ, which I truly started to adore."