89th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsAndrew Garfield is currently starring in a London production of "Angels in America," and he was asked about his research for his role as a gay man with AIDS. His answer got a strong reaction -- and probably not the kind that he wanted.

During a panel discussion, an audience member said they read an interview in Gay Times magazine saying Garfield had been locked into this process for a year. They asked what sort of resources the actor had in terms of research, or did it all come from "Angels in America" rehearsals.

Gay Times was at the panel and relayed Garfield's response:

"As far as I know, I am not a gay man. Maybe I'll have an awakening later in my life, which I'm sure will be wonderful and I'll get to explore that part of the garden, but right now I'm secluded to my area, which is wonderful as well. I adore it, but a big concern was what right do I have to play this wonderful gay role? I had to trust that it was the right thing and Tony [Kushner, writer of 'Angels in America'] had asked me and maybe if he'd asked me, it was the right thing. It was as about doing honor, doing justice and knowing my herstory. The preparation had begun before (rehearsals began) with a lot of my friends. (The play is) As much devoted to my friends in the gay community as it is those that passed during the epidemic."

Later in the talk, "RuPaul's Drag Race" and that also helped him find his character.

"My only time off during rehearsals – every Sunday I would have eight friends over and we would just watch Ru. This is my life outside of this play. I am a gay man right now just without the physical act – that's all."

Because of those flippant comments, Garfield has fielded some backlash from fans.

Others are defending Garfield:

He didn't exactly say he's gay because he watched RuPaul (is he bi for his Ryan Reynolds and Stephen Colbert kisses?), but what he said was definitely ripe for misunderstanding. He was being lighthearted, but humor does not always translate well -- especially on a serious, sensitive topic -- and to many he came off as insensitive and ignorant. Still, even the most well-intentioned of us have had foot-in-mouth disease, albeit on a less public scale, and maybe he'll take that fan up on their apology letter offer.

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