Andrew Garfield stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote his Netflix film tick, tick…BOOM! the Lin-Manuel Miranda-directed film adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical pre-Rent musical.
Garfield, who plays Jon, a young theater composer who’s waiting tables at a New York City diner in 1990 while writing what he hopes will be the next great American musical, has appeared on the CBS late-night show numerous times, as recently as June.
But this time he burst into song.
“Lin’s amazing because he’s the kind of person who can see you better than you can see yourself. He had seen me in Angels in America and he said to me ‘I think you can sing’ and I said ‘I think you might be wrong’,” he told Colbert.
Garfield worked closed with vocal coach Liz Caplan for the film.
“She gave me the confidence. I was singing and Lin snuck in the back, ‘the bastard’. His shoe flew across my face and he said ‘Andrew Garfield, you can sing, I don’t have to recast you’. The shoe of joy, the shoe of bliss.”
Garfield, whose brother, a lung doctor, and father were in the audience, also shared sweet memories about his mother Lynn Garfield, who died before production on the film started.
“You suffered great grief with your mother,” Colbert said.
“I love talking about it, by the way, so if I cry it’s a beautiful thing. The grief will remain with us until we pass. We never get enough time with each other. I hope this grief stays with me because it’s all of the unexpressed love that I didn’t get to tell her and I told her every day, she was the best of us. For me, I was able to step into this in a way that I could honor this incredible life of Jonathan Larson, who was taken at the age of 35, on the night of the first preview of Rent, some strange twist of fate. This film is to do with this ticking clock that we all have,” Garfield said.
“For me, I got to sing Jonathan Larson’s unfinished song, while simultaneously singing for my mother and her unfinished song. I am indebted to everyone who’s brought me to this place so I can honor the most beautiful person I’ve ever experienced in my life through my art and use it as a way to heal and sew up the wounds.”