Andrew Garfield has received rave reviews and awards for “Tick, Tick … Boom!” but his performance in the musical also has a deeply personal meaning.
In an emotional appearance on Monday’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the actor explained how Rent composer Jonathan Larson’s acting in the film helped him cope with the grief he felt after losing his mother Lynn to pancreatic cancer in 2019.
“By the way, I love talking about her, so if I cry, it’s just fine,” Garfield explained. “It’s all unexpressed love, grief that will stay with us until we leave, because we never spend enough time with each other, regardless of whether someone lives to 60, 15 or 99 years old” …
“So I hope this grief stays with me because it’s all the unexpressed love that I couldn’t tell her,” he added. “And I told her every day. We all told her every day. She was the best of us. “
Director Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tick, Tick … Boom! follows Larson when he was working as an artist in New York before he wrote Rent. Approaching his 30th birthday without significant theatrical merits, the composer finds himself at the crossroads of personal and professional.
Watch Andrew Garfield’s chat with Stephen Colbert below.
Rent made a splash on Broadway and influenced a generation of theater artists, including Miranda. Unfortunately, Larson himself was never able to witness the success of the musical. He died in 1996 at the age of 35, just hours before Rent was due to give its first off-Broadway preview.
In a conversation with Colbert, Garfield compared his mother to Larson, since both were “warriors of the arts.”
“I had to sing Jonathan Larson’s unfinished song, while singing for my mother and her unfinished song,” he said. “I am indebted to everyone who brought me to this place, so I can honor the most beautiful person I have ever met in my life with my art and use it as a way of healing, use it as a way to stitch wounds.” …
Garfield, the 2017 Academy Award nominee for Hacksaw, previously talked about Lynn’s death in a September interview with Variety magazine. He recalled how he almost turned down the role of disgraced TV evangelist Jim Bakker in “The Eyes of Tammy Fay” after learning about his mother’s cancer diagnosis, but decided to sign up at her insistence.
“She said, ‘I will fight you if you don’t do it because of me,” he said. “I told her, ‘Okay, but promise me that when it’s time to go home, you will let me know.”
The actor recalled leaving the Eyes of Tammy Faye to spend “the deepest two weeks of my life” with his mother shortly before her death.
“The good news about me and her is that we left nothing unsaid,” he told Variety. “To be with her, my father and brother, all her friends, my nephews. He was full of grace in the midst of a terrible tragedy. “