At the time, the 33-year-old “Amazing Spider-Man” star was describing the preparation process for his role in a London production of “Angels in America,” for which he has received critical raves. “My only time off during rehearsals – every Sunday I would have eight friends over and we would just watch [‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’]. This is my life outside of this play,” he told audience members at a July 3 post-performance talkback, according to Gay Times.
Garfield was widely criticized for the remarks, with many claiming the actor was being disingenuous and oversimplifying the challenges many experience when they identify as LGBTQ.
The Second City’s Christian Tucci joked that he was “heterosexual without the physical act,” writing, “I hereby identify as an ‘Anchorman’-quoting straight man. Aside from having zero romantic or sexual desire for the opposite sex.” Others, like journalist Nico Lang, were more pointed in their assessment, accusing Garfield of “pulling a James Franco,” a nod to Franco’s alleged history of “queerbaiting” in films and interviews, with his comments. “Straight actors, please stop this nonsense,” he wrote.
Garfield addressed the backlash in a new interview with the BBC’s Newsbeat, saying his comments had been misconstrued. His statements were intended only to “speak to my desire to play this part to the best of my ability and to fully immerse myself in a culture that I adore,” he said.
“That discussion was about this play and how deeply grateful I am that I get to work on something so profound,” he said. Noting that “Angels in America” was “a love letter to the LGBTQ community,” he added, We were talking about, ‘How do you prepare for something so important and so big?’ and I was basically saying, ‘I dive in as fully as I possibly can.’”
The actor, who has been an outspoken supporter of queer rights for some time, doubled down on his stance in the interview. “My only longing is to serve and to keep the world spinning forward for the LGBTQ community in whatever way I’m meant to,” he said. “It’s important to a community that I feel so welcomed by.”