9 Things We Learned From Zendaya and Andrew Garfield's Interview

Alexi Lubomirski for Variety
Alexi Lubomirski for Variety

Zendaya and Andrew Garfield got together for Variety's "Actors on Actors" feature to discuss their work on "Spiderman: No Way Home," and they shared plenty of revelations. In their recent interview, the actors discussed being on set of the movie and the difficulties and existential questions of the acting trade, and they relived some inside jokes and favourite memories of each other.

"Spider Man: No Way Home" came out on Dec. 17, 2021, and made waves in the Marvel world, becoming the highest-grossing film ever released by Sony Pictures. It stars Zendaya as MJ and Holland as Spider-Man himself and features a Spider-Man reunion for the ages. Zendaya also delivered a gut-wrenching performance as Rue in the second season of HBO's glitter-saturated teen drama "Euphoria," a performance that had many people a bit worried about the actor — including Garfield himself.

From Garfield's real thoughts about Zendaya's performance as Rue on "Euphoria" to Zendaya's perspective on being on set with Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, and Garfield, here are nine things we learned from the stars' conversation.

01
Andrew Garfield Was Concerned About Zendaya After Watching Her Play Rue on "Euphoria" Season 2
Getty | Emma McIntyre

Andrew Garfield Was Concerned About Zendaya After Watching Her Play Rue on "Euphoria" Season 2

Zendaya's performance as Rue on the second season of "Euphoria" is a gruelling exploration of the agony of addiction — and many people worried about the actor after seeing some of her more painful scenes, including Garfield. "I was like, 'Are you OK?' How did you make sure you were OK while you were doing that?" he asks, specifically referencing episode five, which focuses on Rue seemingly hitting rock bottom.

"It's tough," Zendaya admits, adding that she had been "afraid" to shoot the episode and that she "did get a lot of messages from people checking in on me, which I appreciated." She goes on to explain that her "approach was to try it as human as possible without ever shying away from the devastation and the ugliness of what that can create."

02
Andrew Garfield Spoke in an American Accent the Entire Time He Was on the "Spider-Man" Set
Getty | David Livingston

Andrew Garfield Spoke in an American Accent the Entire Time He Was on the "Spider-Man" Set

Garfield stayed in character on the set of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" so much so that Zendaya apparently "kept forgetting" that he is English.

For Garfield, it was about preserving the character's integrity and staying consistent on set. "With an accent for me, I just don't want to confuse my body and I don't want to confuse someone else's system. It's just simpler," he says.

03
Both Zendaya and Andrew Garfield Find Meaning in Helping People Through Acting
Getty | VALERIE MACON

Both Zendaya and Andrew Garfield Find Meaning in Helping People Through Acting

Apparently, even someone as successful as Garfield also sometimes feels like he's not doing enough for the world. "My brother's treating COVID patients as we speak, and I'm wearing a lovely jacket talking about 'Spider-Man,'" says Garfield. "But then he goes home and watches 'Spider-Man' with his boys. Oh no, I'm just trying to justify my existence." Garfield also adds that he has an acting teacher who emphasises the importance of delivering healing performances: "'If it isn't healing, then we are not doing it right,'" he quotes.

Zendaya echoes Garfield's sentiments about the importance of delivering performances that can heal and provide catharsis for viewers, adding that helping people through her performances is very important to her. "I think for me being in service of other people's healing through my work means that what I'm doing makes sense," she says.

04
Zendaya and Andrew Garfield Have an Inside Joke About Tobey Maguire
Getty | VALERIE MACON

Zendaya and Andrew Garfield Have an Inside Joke About Tobey Maguire

At one point in the interview, Zendaya mentions an inside joke she shared with Garfield about Maguire's "crazy forearms." While it takes Garfield a minute to remember the joke, he eventually catches on. "He had these crazy —" Garfield begins, with Zendaya finishing, "Forearms," and Garfield adding, "Good joke bank you got there in that noggin of yours. That was really good."

05
Zendaya Never Wants to Be a Pop Star
Getty | Albert L. Ortega

Zendaya Never Wants to Be a Pop Star

Zendaya got her start playing a singer and dancer on "Shake It Up," released an album, and appeared on multiple "Euphoria" soundtrack songs, but the verified triple threat is glad to stick to acting as opposed to attempting a music career.

"As an actor, there's a level of anonymity that I get to have, which I really like," she says. "And I get to sort my stuff, whatever that is, through a character and nobody needs to know about it." But as a pop star, she says, "It's all you all the time."

06
Tom Holland Was Reportedly "Nervous" to Shoot With Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield
Getty | Stefanie Keenan

Tom Holland Was Reportedly "Nervous" to Shoot With Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield

Zendaya reveals that her boyfriend, Holland, was "so nervous" about Garfield and Maguire coming on set. "He was like, 'I don't want to step on anyone's toes,'" Zendaya says. Apparently, though, Holland never let his nerves show, and he and Zendaya hung out at rehearsals with Garfield and Maguire.

Holland's nerves also didn't stop him and Zendaya from engageing in their usual on-set antics. "We were like, 'I think they don't know how much fun we like to have when we're doing this job,'" Zendaya says. And from the sounds of things, the "Spider-Man: No Way Home" set was a bit of a party. "I'm pissing myself laughing, but I was dying," she said. "You guys had me dying — like crying laughing — in between takes all the time."

07
Zendaya Was Still Working on Finishing "Euphoria" Season 2 as Episodes Were Airing
Getty | David Livingston

Zendaya Was Still Working on Finishing "Euphoria" Season 2 as Episodes Were Airing

Zendaya was well aware of "'Euphoria' Sundays," when the entire internet would seemingly log on to post about the latest episode of the show. "It became a sporting event," she says. "I think it's hilarious."

Still, it made her "really nervous," she says, "because we were still in the middle of editing." While the fifth episode was coming out, Zendaya was still working on rewriting a version of "I'm Tired" with Labrinth, which would air in the finale. However, she was happy to see the sense of collectivity and community that "'Euphoria' Sundays" created.

08
Andrew Garfield's First Acting Gig Was a Doritos Commercial
Getty | Phillip Faraone

Andrew Garfield's First Acting Gig Was a Doritos Commercial

Garfield may be raking in millions from his onscreen roles now, but his first acting role was in a Doritos commercial in Spain. He made two grand from the performance, which felt like a million bucks at the time. "I thought I was done," he says, adding that he showed his dad the check and said, "I don't need to work at Starbucks for the next week."

But he wasn't always prepared for the spotlight. In his first "Spider-Man" role, Garfield admits he "wasn't ready." He adds: "I was like . . . I don't know who I am yet. And my prefrontal cortex is still forming."