The Amazing Spider-Man 2 won’t be Andrew Garfield’s only on-screen appearance this summer. At an April 27 sneak preview of his second movie as the infamous superhero, the star revealed he’s currently at work on a public service announcement for Worldwide Orphans Foundation, the group that co-hosted the screening.
“I met [Worldwide Orphans Foundation CEO] Jane Aronson while shooting The Amazing Spider-Man and it was destiny for sure,” Garfield says. “We were meant to meet and know each other in a deep way. Even though I have two parents, I’ve experienced that universal orphan feeling. That’s why it’s so easy for me to devote time and energy to this organization.”
The English actor is an ambassador for the foundation, which helps orphans around the world grow up to achieve fulfilling, empowered lives, and he has traveled to Ethiopia and Haiti with the organization. “It’s mind-altering to experience and witness any different way of life, of course, but the innate difficulty and the injustice of what these infants go through is so profoundly wrong,” Garfield says.
After playing an orphan-turned-super hero like Spider-Man, the actor feels an increased responsibility to be a role model in his own life. “I was inspired by diving deep into what it is to have an orphan as wounded as Peter Parker,” says Garfield. “Peter Parker is a metaphor for all of our lives. We all are ordinary, we struggle, we all have flaws. We have something extraordinary to give. We have some super power. Whatever that gift is, it’s so important for young people to identify.”
Aronson says the actor makes an ideal partner for her organization. “On our trips, the orphans felt so connected and so close to Andrew,” she says. “They got that human touch that they didn’t have.”
It’s a deep-seated feeling that resonates with the doctor, who’s dedicated her life to working with orphans. “After 17 years, I still love coming into an orphanage and just sitting with the kids.”
For his part, Garfield says that Spider-Man echoes some of the struggles he’s seen orphans go through. “The film deals with the simple idea that if you’re not seen or heard or given a place in your society,” he says, “it creates an unhealthy response and a sickness in the soul.”
While Spider-Man might be a comic book hero, his oft-repeated mantra that with great power comes great responsibility is clearly something that Andrew Garfield has taken to heart.