The Jesuit retreat Andrew Garfield made in preparation for filming Silence left him “filled up with… all this longing to spread the teachings of Christ, which I truly started to adore.”
Garfield, who was raised in a secular Jewish home and is famous for starring in The Amazing Spider-Man and Hacksaw Ridge, opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about the spiritual impact of his preparation for portraying a Jesuit missionary.
“He gave me spiritual direction as if I were a Jesuit in training,” Garfield explained, speaking of Fr. James Martin, who served as an advisor to the film.
“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.”
Rodrigues is the name of Garfield’s character in the film. Fr. Martin led Garfield through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola.
“It’s almost like a 12-step program,” Garfield said of the centuries-old spiritual program. “In fact, it’s the basis for a lot of 12-step programs: a longform 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.”
By the time it came for filming, he explained, “I was filled up with all this information and all this longing to spread the teachings of Christ, which I truly started to adore.”
Silence, which comes out in theaters December 23rd in the United States, is directed by Martin Scorsese and is based on a 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō.