Andrew Garfield’s eloquent speech on grief’s wounds will make you sob


Andrew Garfield and in tick, tick... BOOM!

Andrew has spoken movingly about using his art to help him heal from grief after his mother’s death (Picture: Netflix/CBS)

Andrew Garfield’s moving monologue on the grief of losing his mother and how he channelled that into the role of Jonathan Larson in the film adaptation of tick, tick… BOOM! has profoundly moved his fans.

Appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday night, the Spider-Man star labelled his grief for his mother ‘unexpressed love’ as he detailed how his art had helped him cope with his bereavement and ‘sew up the wounds’.

As Stephen gave the 38-year-old the floor, he choked up slightly as he went to start speaking and then reassured everyone: ‘I love talking about it, by the way, so if I cry it’s only a beautiful thing – this is all the unexpressed love, right?’

He continued: ‘The grief that will remain with us, you know, until we pass because we never get enough time with each other, right? No matter if someone lives ‘til 60, 15 or 99, so I hope this grief stays with me because it’s all the unexpressed love I didn’t get to tell her – and I told her every day – we all told her every day – she was the best of us.’

Turning to the connection between his mother’s death this year and his part as Rent composer Jonathan Larson in tick, tick… BOOM, the actor explained how it linked to the feeling of someone being taken ‘far too soon’ after Larson died aged 35 on the night of the first preview of Rent Off-Broadway, meaning he never saw its success.

‘This film is kind of to with that,’ he explained. ‘It’s to do with that ticking clock that we all have. We all know somewhere deep down that life is sacred, life is short, and we better just be here as much as possible with each other, holding on to each other.’


Andrew plays composer Jonathan Larson in tick, tick… BOOM! (Picture: Macall Polay/Netflix via AP)

As his voice wavered and he visibly became emotional, Andrew pressed on, saying: ‘And for me, I got to sing Jonathan Larson’s unfinished song whilst simultaneously singing for my mother and her unfinished song.’

He described himself as indebted to Larson, director Lin-Manuel Miranda and ‘everyone who’s brought me to this place so that I can honour the most beautiful person that I’ve ever experienced in my life through my art, and use it as a way to heal, use it as a way to sew up the wounds’.

Andrew’s mother Lynn died from pancreatic cancer in 2019 while he was filming The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Lin-Manuel shared Andrew’s moving interview, writing: ‘Thank you Lynn and Richard Garfield for raising such a brilliant, wonderful son. My goodness.’

Richard Garfield, son Andrew Garfield and mother Lynn Garfield pose at the 2018 O&M Private Tony After Party at The Carlysle Hotel on June 10, 2018 in New York City

Andrew with his parents, Richard and Lynn, in 2018 (Picture: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

Fans were touched too, with one commenting: ‘Andrew Garfield is… a beautiful soul. Just a pure and beautiful soul.’

Another tweeted: ‘These close losses are so hard. Andrew Garfield’s explanation of it being unexpressed love just hit me in a good spot. I’m crying but it’s good tears.’

The actor recently revealed in the roundtable for tick, tick… BOOM! that neither he nor Lin-Manuel Miranda knew if he could sing ahead of starting work on the film together.

Speaking to and other press, Andrew explained: ‘It was a voyage of discovery that, really, Lin began. I really owe it to Lin for having the foolishness maybe – or the foresight – to think that I could reach where I needed to reach in order to honour John.’

Tick, tick… BOOM! is available to watch on Netflix now.

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