In Martin Scorsese's long-in-the-works passion film, "Silence," Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver play 17th-century Jesuit priests who journey to Japan to find out what happened to their mentor, played by Liam Neeson, who is rumored to have renounced his faith after Christianity is outlawed. Unwilling to accept this terrible news, Garfield and Driver are smuggled into the country despite facing nearly certain death, torture or imprisonment for practicing their forbidden faith.
Garfield said that Scorsese's enthusiasm about the project was "contagious." In December, the actor told Moviefone, "Marty was very excited to finally be making the film, so it was very contagious, that feeling."Garfield said he was in the right place at the right time to play the part of a priest struggling with his faith. "These themes were really interesting to me. I was exploring these themes in my own life anyway, so that there was something serendipitous, obviously, about the fact that I was in a place to explore them. I think [Scorsese] sensed that. I think he was excited that I seemed very, very willing to dive in with him. I think that was a big part of why he ultimately wanted me to play the part."
He was impressed with Scorsese's ability to quickly adapt to changing conditions while filming. "When fog would roll in, he'd at first be pissed off and then he'd like, 'Let's have a scene in the fog.' [He was] very, very open to collaboration, very trusting that all will work out as it's meant to and open to all the elements."
Filming on location in Taiwan, which stood in for feudal Japan, was arduous. Besides rough terrain and foul weather, Garfield's character undergoes considerable mistreatment as a practicing Christian. "Every day was pretty tough, in a good way, in a way that pushes you beyond what you know," said Garfield. "And that's all I really want, is to expand and grow as a human being and as an actor. I want that kind of challenge."Garfield was thrilled to work for the legendary director for the first time. "For me, this was so exciting because of Marty, because of him being the master filmmaker that he is." He said he gave his all to the demanding film: "I could show up and offer my whole heart and soul and I know that [Scorsese] would handle it with so much sensitivity and intelligence and intuitiveness."
Among the things the actor learned during production was to trust himself. "The thing that I'm still learning, that I'll always be learning, is to just trust myself, that's what Marty would always tell me: 'It's right there, you've got it all right there.'"
"Silence" is now playing in select cities and expands to more theaters on January 13.