Hollywood at St Beuno's

Published on 27 Feb 2017

from the Daily Post 21st Dec 2016 & 3rd Feb 2017

(photo is of Ben Geldard, the Assistant Chef, with Andrew Garfield, the star of two Spiderman films, supporting actor in 'The Social Network’ and the lead in Scorsese’s new drama, Silence: UGC TNW)


Hollywood stars Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver “lost their minds” after spending a week at a silent retreat in North Wales to prepare to play Jesuit priests for the movie Silence.  The Oscar-nominated actor Garfield and his co-star Driver - spent eight days at St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Tremeirchion near St Asaph to get into the right frame of mind for their roles in Martin Scorsese’s new film.  Garfield, 33, said “It was a beautiful experience but when we got out it was like we had lost our minds.”

Garfield and Driver play two 17th century Portuguese missionaries in the movie based on the 1966 novel of the same name.  The film, shot entirely in Taipei, Taiwan, also stars Liam Neeson and tells the story of two Catholic priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor rumoured to have apostatised.

Booked under conditions of strict secrecy, both actors were checked into the centre under false names.  Pledged to silence, the pair reportedly did no more than wave when they saw each other in the refectory.

The Amazing Spider-Man star, Garfield had embarked on the “spiritual exercises in daily life” under the direction of Jesuit Father James Martin.

Director of the centre, Father Roger Dawson previously told the Daily Post: “I duly received a request from Father Martin asking if Andrew Garfield could come incognito to St Beuno’s for a week.  He added: “Both of them had to lose a significant amount of weight for their roles and were on special diets, so one of those ‘in the know’ was Sam, our head chef.

“Sam, who is normally a man of few words, was beside himself when he heard that Spiderman was coming to St Beuno’s, and I have never seen him so excited as when I took Andrew Garfield to meet him.

 ‘I can’t believe that I have got Spiderman in my kitchen,’ he said.”

In November, The Social Network star, Garfield told The New York Times. “On retreat, you enter into your imagination to accompany Jesus through his life from his conception to his crucifixion and resurrection.

Garfield was later praised for his convincing portrayal of a Jesuit and according to the New York Times, would even stop during places in the script and say: “A Jesuit wouldn’t say that” and writers would come up with something else.

Speaking about the film, Father Dawson said: “Going through the exercises as Andrew Garfield did, is a very serious commitment indeed to prepare onself for a role

“If you have to sum up Jesuit spirituality in a sentence, it’s about finding God in all things.

“The film is certainly about how do you find God in extreme situations, particularly at a time when God is silent.”