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Andrew Garfield on coping through loss through his new movie ‘Tick, Tick... BOOM!’

Playing the character helped him process the loss of his mother

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Andrew Garfield in West Hollywood, California.

Andrew Garfield attends the 2021 GQ Men of the Year Party at The West Hollywood EDITION on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in West Hollywood, Calif.

Richard Shotwell, Invision, Associated Press

Andrew Garfield’s appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Cobert” featured lots of singing, stories from the set of “Tick, Tick... BOOM!” and an honest conversation about grief.

What is “Tick, Tick... BOOM!” about?

The movie, “Tick, Tick... BOOM!” is a musical biography based on “Rent” author Jonathan Larson’s work and life, featuring Vanessa Hudgens and directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The musical follows Larson, a promising young theater composer who navigates love, friendship and the pressures of living in New York City as an artist, per IMDb.

  • Larson died tragically young at 35 on the morning of the first off-broadway preview performance of “Rent,” according to Playbill.
  • While it is based on a true story, not all events happened in Larson’s life. A few characters, such as Hudgens’ character weren’t real.

What Andrew Garfield said about “Tick, Tick... BOOM!”

Garfield, who lost his mother last year, felt connected to the movie in a deeper way and used the creative process to deal with his loss.

  • “I love talking about this,” Garfield said. “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.”

Through this movie, he got to sing Larson’s unfinished song while keeping the memory of his mother close to his heart.

  • “I’m indebted to everyone who has brought me to this place so I can honor the most beautiful person that I’ve ever experienced in my life,” he said, tearing up.
  • For Garfield, Larson and his mother had a lot in common: They were both artists who “knew the power of leaving the world in a slightly more beautiful state than when they found it.”

Tick, Tick... BOOM! is available in theaters and on Netflix.