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Under The Banner Of Heaven's Andrew Garfield Explains Why The Timing Was Right For A Crime Thriller - Exclusive

While Andrew Garfield made his triumphant return to the superhero genre in "Spider-Man: No Way Home" in 2021, the actor has proved several times since his breakthrough role as the web-slinger in 2012 that he's interested in all types of roles.

Among his credits, Garfield acted under the auspices of iconic director Martin Scorsese in the historical epic "Silence" in 2016, followed by a best actor Oscar-nominated role in director Mel Gibson's riveting, fact-based WWII drama "Hacksaw Ridge." The past year has been especially eventful for Garfield, beginning with his starring role as real-life televangelist Jim Bakker opposite Oscar winner Jessica Chastain in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye." Garfield experienced some Oscar glory himself in 2021, earning his second best actor nomination — this time for his turn as "Rent" creator Jonathan Larson in director Lin-Manuel Miranda's bittersweet musical "tick, tick ... BOOM!"

Yet for all the genres Garfield has played in over his remarkable career, he's never ventured into the crime thriller space. That all changed with his lead role in "FX's Under the Banner of Heaven," a new, seven-part miniseries where Garfield plays Detective Jeb Pyre. A devout family man of the Mormon faith, Jeb's confidence in the religion is shaken after learns the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder of a local, Brenda Lafferty (Daisy Edgar-Jones), and her infant daughter in the city's Latter-day Saints community.

Also starring Gil Birmingham as Pyre's partner, Bill Taba, the limited series is based on author Jon Krakauer's best-selling true-crime novel "Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith," which was released in 2003. In an exclusive interview about the series, Garfield shared with Looper why he decided to dive into the crime thriller genre more than 15 years after he kicked off his acting career.

Garfield was thrilled to explore a role much different than other portrayals

Andrew Garfield said his fascination with "Under the Banner of Heaven" began with the release of the novel, and from there, it was a matter of waiting for the right person to adapt it for the screen.

"I loved the Jon Krakauer book, when it first came out. I read it and ate it up. Like everyone else, I was wondering, 'Oh, someone's going to be turning this into a film or a TV show and I wonder how,'" Garfield reminisced. "Cut to 10 years or so later, and [creator] Dustin Lance Black says, 'Hey, I've adapted "Under the Banner of Heaven." I've been working on it for 10 years and I have some scripts I want to show you.' It's like, 'Oh my gosh' ... [I was] immediately interested because I love the subject matter so much and I love Dustin, and it quickly became a no-brainer."

Fresh off the enthusiastic receptions to his portrayals in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," "Spider-Man: No Way Home," and "tick, tick ... BOOM!" Garfield reflected on what separates his role in "Under the Banner of Heaven" from his three previous projects.

"Part of the attraction, absolutely, was that it was very different, a genre that I've never done. A genre that ... I love watching. I'm curious to see how I would feel being a part of it," Garfield told Looper. "Also, the character is a much more internal stoic kind of human being than I've been playing in the last [year] ... He's pretty far from a televangelist or a flamboyant musical theater writer or an angsty superhero. [He's] a very internal, solid, ordinary, centered dude — a father, a husband and a cop, and a Mormon. It's fun to stretch in that way."

"FX's Under the Banner of Heaven" is streaming exclusively on Hulu, with new episodes premiering every Thursday through June 2.