Andrew Garfield stars in 99 Homes as a Florida construction worker, who ends up partnering up with a pitiless real-estate broker.

Andrew Garfield on ’99 Homes’

At the start of 99 Homes, Garfield’s character Dennis Nash has lost his home in the midst of the foreclosure crisis. Desperate to get back the home in which he and his mother Lynn (Laura Dern) were raising his young son Connor (Noah Lomax), Dennis teams up with the ruthless Rick Carver, played by Michael Shannon.

“He is on the precipice between survival and some form of giving up, and that’s the precipice where I found a lot of the families and the men that I met in Florida when I was researching,” Garfield told uInterview in an exclusive interview. “There was this sense of ‘have to keep going’ and yet there’s no light.”

The most emotional scenes throughout 99 Homes are the ones depicting evictions. Garfield admits that it’s not difficult to get into the head space of a person who’s suffered such a crushing blow. But, the actor revealed that the scenes also came easily because Oscar-nominated actress Dern was working opposite him.

“Laura Dern was a big help. She’s such an actress you know. She’s such a brilliant, genius actress, so we managed, especially in that first eviction scene, it was really a team,” Garfield said. “Also, it’s not hard to put yourself in that position somehow, it’s not hard to imaginatively enter that feeling of being exiled, being discarded as trash. Everyone knows that to some degree, so that was really that entry point, that feeling of exile.”

Thankfully for Garfield, who concedes that economics is not his strong suit, writer and director Ramin Bahrani‘s script didn’t require him to fully understand the ins and outs of real estate or the national economy. Rather, it forced him to explore the emotions of the people affected.

“The system is kind of corrupt on the deepest level. It’s almost accepted, well it is accepted, that kind of corruption on all tiers has become systematic or systemic,” Garfield told uInterview. “See, I can’t even talk properly about this kind of stuff? My job was to go to the emotional core of it and that’s what I tried to do.”

99 Homes is currently in theaters.


Q: Where is your character at the outset of the film? -

He is on the precipice between survival and some form of giving up, and that’s the precipice where I found a lot of the families and the men that I met in Florida when I was researching. There was this sense of ‘have to keep going’ and yet there’s no light. That’s even kind of pulling me further towards it; I’ve lost sight of the light. How you continue to be a functioning human being when there’s no space or opportunity to give yourself to your society, to give yourself to your community, that’s where he is.

Q: How did you summon the emotions for the film’s eviction scenes? -

Laura Dern was a big help. She’s such an actress you know. She’s such a brilliant, genius actress, so we managed, especially in that first eviction scene, it was really a team. Bobby Bukowski helped a lot with his camera and his sensitivity. Also, it’s not hard to put yourself in that position somehow, it’s not hard to imaginatively enter that feeling of being exiled, being discarded as trash. Everyone knows that to some degree, so that was really that entry point, that feeling of exile.

Q: What was your most difficult scene with Michael Shannon? -

They were all pretty contentious and kind of nasty. The energy that was created was pretty nasty, as it should have been I guess. The character of Rick is not a man you easily get close to; he doesn’t really care about you as a human. That was my experience in the scenes with him. I was always excited for the family scenes. When I saw on the schedule where we had just days of me and Rick Carver I was just like, ‘Ugh,’ which is what Dennis feels. Dennis is in that same situation. He’s like, ‘I’ve gotta do this in order to take my son to an arcade, I’ve gotta do this in order to bring my son a happy meal at the end of the day.’ So it all worked in that respect.

Q: What did you learn about the financial crisis in your research? -

It was more the emotional impact of that specific, precise, personal emotional impact that was effected upon the families and the individuals that went through it. My brain doesn’t work in the way that an economist brain does. I’m not very good at that kinda stuff. So my way in, my job is to inhabit the emotional life of that experience. Thankfully, I didn’t have to know the ins and outs of why, and the wherefores. But, you know, what’s evident in the film obviously and what was evident in my research and Ramin’s research is that the system is kind of corrupt on the deepest level. It’s almost accepted, well it is accepted, that kind of corruption on all tears has become systematic or systemic. See, I can’t even talk properly about this kind of stuff. My job was to go to the emotional core of it and that’s what I tried to do.