Andrew Garfield is on the cover of this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, and inside the magazine, he talks about his new movie Under the Banner of Heaven. The film tells the story of two brothers who become Mormon Fundamentalists and embark on a killing spree.
Garfield, who plays one of the brothers, says that he was interested in the challenge of playing a character who is so different from himself.
The plotline of the Under the Banner of Heaven
The Under the Banner of Heaven is based on a true story, and Garfield says that he did a lot of research to prepare for his role. “I read a lot of books about Mormon history and culture,” he says. “I talked to people who had grown up in Mormon families.” Garfield also spent time with the film’s director, Ron Howard, discussing the character and the film’s themes.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Garfield says of working with Howard. “He’s such a master storyteller.” Under the Banner of Heaven is set to premiere on FX on September 30.
Names of the characters in the Under the Banner of Heaven
Here’s a breakdown of the primary cast members:
- Andrew Garfield as Pyre
- Rohan Mead as Morris
- Beau McHattie as Ron Lafferty’s Son
- Scott Michael Campbell as Brigham Young
- Daisy Edgar-Jones as Brenda
- Christopher Heyerdahl as Ammon Lafferty
- Britt Irvin as Sarah Lafferty
- Tyner Rushing as Emma Smith
- Taylor St. Pierre as Jacob Lafferty
- Sam Worthington as Ron Lafferty
- Alayna Edwards as Jolene Lafferty
- Emily James as Ron’s Daughter
- Nicholas Carella as Bernard Brady
- Scott Olynek as Officer Noah Denney
- Abelynne Langille as Eilidh (Matilda’s Eilidh)
- Wyatt Russell as Dan Lafferty
- Zachary Ray Sherman as Porter Rockwell
- Jerod Blake as Desk Cop
About the Under the Banner of Heaven
Garfield portrays Ron Lafferty, a Utah man who, along with his brother Dan (Wyatt Russell), kidnapped and killed two men they believed were interfering with God’s will. The Limited Event Series is based on Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction book of the same name and explores the mindset of religious extremists and how they rationalize their actions in the name of their faith. Garfield spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about his research for the role, what it was like to work with Emmy winner Ann Dowd and why he keeps taking on challenging projects.
“I like a challenge,” Garfield says of his choice to play Lafferty. “That’s something that excites me and gets my blood going, is to try and understand somebody who I have zero understanding of or compassion for — initially.
With this character, in particular, it was hard for me to find anything redeeming about him, and that was the challenge.” Garfield immersed himself in Mormon culture while preparing for the role, something that he says was “eye-opening” and helped him understand where Lafferty was coming from.
Andrew Garfield on Mormonism and Finding Fascination in “How We Make Meaning” for “Under the Banner of Heaven”
“It was one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever done, to try and understand how somebody could believe what they believe,” Garfield says of his research.
“How do we make meaning? How do we find purpose? Where do our morals come from? What is a god? What is spirituality? These are all questions that Under the Banner of Heaven tries to explore, and I think it does so in a really beautiful way.”
The actor also opened up about how he became a Mormon while filming Under the Banner of Heaven.
“I was raised Catholic and my mom is Jewish, so I’ve always been interested in religion,” Garfield says.
“When we were shooting in Utah, I started attending the Mormon church services just out of curiosity.”
“I loved it,” he continues. “It felt like coming home in a way, even though I’m not Mormon. There was something about the community that resonated with me.” Garfield says.