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Andrew Garfield on “The Social Network” and playing Spider-Man

By Sean O’Connell Andrew Garfield is going to be a huge star.

And I’m not going out on a limb to proclaim that simply because the young British actor recently signed on to play Spider-Man – a lottery ticket of a role – in Marc Webb’s anticipated Marvel Comics reboot.

Instead, I’m basing it on Garfield’s on-screen performances of late. The 27-year-old actor more than held his own alongside Oscar nominees Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan for Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go.” And he deserves all of the awards buzz Justin Timberlake seems to be getting for David Fincher’s “The Social Network.” In that film, Garfield creates the only character we come close to caring about, and nails his crucial scene (a late confrontation with Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg in the West Coast offices of social media giant, Facebook).

I’ve also been lucky enough to interview Garfield twice in recent weeks, in Toronto for “Go” and in New York for “Network.” He’s funny, charming, grounded but aware of his pending fame. He’s easy at conversation, really listens to every question, and gives you a considered answer. We spoke about the relationship his character, Eduardo, had to have with Jesse’s Mark if “Social Network” was going to connect to its audience.

“I can talk about that for days and weeks and months and years,” Garfield said about working with Eisenberg. “There were some subconscious forces going about during our rehearsal process. Maybe it was just from my own perspective, but my subconscious knew that I had to kind of fall in love with him, see him as a brother, and have a genuine love for him. And it was very easy to project that on such an innocent face and an innocent soul. It’s so weird and awkward saying this about him. [Laughs] But I have been a fan of Jesse as an actor ever since I saw ‘The Squid and the Whale.’ It was just a wonderful thing to have a genuine connection with someone and allow that to bleed into not being filmed.”

As a follow up question, a fellow journalist asked Garfield – with tongue in cheek, I hope – if he has any future plans to announce.

“Yeah, no, I’m going to be Spider-Man,” Garfield said, adding nothing more to his answer.

He sat back in his chair, and saw the wealth of potential stretched out in front of him. His smile lit the room.

“Never Let Me Go” is in theaters now. “The Social Network” opens on Oct. 1.

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