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Hollywood actor Andrew Garfield fasted and took up celibacy for role as priest

by Sophie Drew

Actor Andrew Garfield abstained from sex and took up fasting in order to prepare to play a priest. 

The 39-year-old played a 17th Century Jesuit priest in the 2016 film Silence. 

In addition to this, he spent a year studying under Jesuit writer Father James Martin, who helped Garfield research Catholicism. 

"I did a bunch of spiritual practices every day, I created new rituals, I was celibate for six months and I was fasting a lot," Garfield said in Monday's episode of the "WTF with Marc Maron" podcast.

"It was very cool, man," he continued. "I had some pretty wild, trippy experiences from starving myself of sex and food at that time."

The film - which also stars Liam Neeson and Adam Driver - is based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Shusaku Endu. 

It sees two Jesuit priests travel from Portugal to Japan to spread Catholicism and locate their missing mentor. 

At the time the film was set, Christianity was supressed in the Asian nation. 

Following its release, John Ehrett of The Federalist praised the film highly, saying, "Silence is a must-see masterpiece about the paradoxes of faith." Ehrett further added, "Complex yet reverent, Silence explores the meanings and dilemmas of Christian faith, and decisively sets a new benchmark for religious films."

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