For Andrew Garfield, his new project Tick, Tick… Boom! has a special place in his heart. He took on the role of the late Jonathan Larson in the movie musical shortly after the death of his mother, Lynn Garfield, who died after a lengthy battle with cancer in 2019.
Garfield was a guest on Monday’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and host Colbert asked the 38-year-old actor about how the loss of his mother impacted his performance in the tragic show.
“I love talking about her, by the way, so if I cry, it’s only a beautiful thing,” Garfield assured the host as his older brother and father watched in the audience. “This is all the unexpressed love, the grief that will remain with us until we pass because we never get enough time with each other, right? No matter if someone lives until 60, 15, or 99. So I hope this grief stays with me because it’s all the unexpressed love that I didn’t get to tell her. And I told her every day. We all told her every day she was the best of us.”
He said the feeling that there wasn’t enough time with his mom directly relates to the film’s message.
“This film is to do with that. It’s to do with this ticking clock that we all have,” he explained. “We all know somewhere deep down that life is sacred, life is short and we’d better just be here as much as possible with each other, holding onto each other. For me, I got to sing Jonathan Larson’s unfinished song while simultaneously singing for my mother and her unfinished song.”
Getting visibly choked up, Garfield added, “I’m indebted to everyone who’s brought me to this place so that I can honor the most beautiful person that I’ve ever experienced in my life through my art and use it as a way to heal, use it as a way to sew up the wounds.”
Earlier this month, ET’s Matt Cohen spoke with Garfield at the AFI Fest premiere of the film, where he again discussed his mother’s influence in the Netflix production.
“This film, she’s in every frame for me,” he told ET. “There was an endless sorrow in having to say goodbye to my mother. But I know she’s here. I know she’s here.”