In Martin Scorsese’s religious drama Silence, Andrew Garfield portrays a devout Jesuit missionary who yearns to hear and be heard by God. His character, Father Rodrigues, is sent to find his missing mentor in feudal Japan, but once there his beliefs are tested by the terrible persecution faced by him and other Christians.
While the film is set in the 17th century, for Garfield, the exploration of faith is as compelling as ever.
“We’re in a culture right now obsessed with the external,” the actor told EW in a recent video interview. “What seems to be true or what seems to be is far more vital and interesting and important to us than what actually is. We don’t even seem to care what is anymore.”
Addressing Rodrigues’ struggle, Garfield said, “it’s that thing of, if a tree falls in the woods and no one’s there, does it still make a sound? Did Rodrigues give up the faith? I don’t believe he did. I believe his faith got deeper and stronger because of the massive sacrifice of his own egoic desires. And because of that self-sacrifice, he then got to serve God in a deeper way.”
At least, that’s Garfield’s interpretation. “Everyone’s going to have their own feeling,” he added.
Watch the video above for more from Garfield. Silence is in theaters now.