Clearly coming from the ‘Revenant’ school of full immersion acting, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver stopped just short of becoming actual men of the cloth for new movie ‘Silence’.
The passion project of director Martin Scorsese has been over 20 years in its inception, so it stands to reason that Garfield and Driver took their roles as Jesuit missionaries pretty seriously.
Speaking to The New York Times, Garfield said: “If I’d had ten years, it wouldn’t have been enough to prepare for this role.
“I got totally swept up in all things Jesuit and very taken with Jesuit spirituality. The preparation went on for nearly a year, and by the time we got to Taiwan, it was bursting out of me.”
Prior to arriving on set, the pair had attended a seven-day retreat of silence at St. Bueno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales.
“On retreat, you enter into your imagination to accompany Jesus through his life from his conception to his crucifixion and resurrection,” Garfield adds.
“You are walking, talking, praying with Jesus, suffering with him. And it’s devastating to see someone who has been your friend, whom you love, be so brutalised.”
So seriously did they take their vows of silence that, reportedly, when the two actors met at the retreat, they just waved at each other across the refectory.
A movie with ‘Oscars’ written all over it, Driver also dropped a hefty 51 pounds for his role, adding ‘it’s about control, and as an actor you want to have control’.
Telling the story of two seventeenth century priests sent to locate their missing mentor (played by Liam Neeson) in Japan, it’s based on a 1966 novel by the Japanese writer Shūsaku Endō.
Scorsese has been trying to bring it to the screen since 1990, with the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio del Toro, and Gael García Bernal all previously attached.
The movie, filmed in and around Taipei, has been made for just over $50 million (£40 million), a fraction of Scorsese’s usual budgets, with all the main talent ‘working for scale’, i.e. the minimum wage allowed by the Screen Actors Guild and other movie workers’ unions.
Also starring Ciarán Hinds and Tadanobu Asano, it’s due out in the UK on January 1.