Actor Andrew Garfield is naturally lanky, so his trainers for the “Amazing Spider-Man” realized they had a major challenge if they wanted to bulk him up. Instead of force-feeding him around the clock, they chose to model Garfield’s physique after the wiry, muscular martial-arts star, the late Bruce Lee.
Initially, Andy Armstrong, the stunt coordinator for the “Amazing Spider-Man,” wanted to train the 6-foot Andrew to become ripped and huge. But that plan quickly went by the wayside since Spider-Man is a teenager in the new film and Garfield’s lean frame just wasn’t suited for the beefcake look.
“When we first met him, [Andrew] was quite nerdy, a skinny guy: a young kid, really,” Armstrong told MTV. “He wanted to get genuine strength. Our only reference point when approached [by producers] to help create the character was an early 1960s picture of Bruce Lee’s torso. That was the form they’d love this character to be based on.”
Armstrong then put Garfield on a strict workout regimen, and the actor became more sinewy rather than beefy.
“I showed this [Bruce Lee photo] to Andrew, and brought him a trainer who told him he could do this Hollywood-style: bulk up, and six weeks into training [he’d] have huge chest, shoulders and arms, but no real strength,” recounts Armstrong.
“Andrew and the trainer went the other way. They stripped him down to probably around 100 pounds, then built him back up in core strength. He was the same size when he started, but his strength was incredible.”
Despite his lack of mass, Garfield’s physical transformation was dramatic. “One of my riggers just said, ‘Wow. Look at him!’ [He became] that picture,” Armstrong recounts.
“It was that ’60s picture of Bruce Lee’s body, nothing but sinew and muscle. He realized this as well. He became an inch and a half taller, just in posture. He was sensational.”
Garfield, who starred in the 2011 hit the “Social Network,” admits he has no discipline when it comes to working out, but threw himself into the role of Spider-Man—for which he beat out friend and fellow Brit, Robert Pattinson.
Despite his success, colleagues (including co-star and real-life love Emma Stone) say Andrew, 28, remains as down-to-earth and nice as ever.
“He has no more ego or attitude in any way, shape or form,” says Armstrong. “Very few people on the planet could really encompass that without some massive change to their psyche. He’s a tremendous guy and I have massive admiration for him.”