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Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield rejects strict representation in acting roles, says it kills 'empathic imagination'

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Photo by Michael Stewart/Getty Images

Actor Andrew Garfield rejected the idea that people should only portray people of their own demographics and explained that it kills "empathic" imagination."

Garfield made the comments in an interview with The Telegraph when he was questioned about controversy over his portrayal of a gay character when he is straight.

"I think it's two different conversations getting conflated," Garfield replied.

"One is about equality of opportunity, and I'm completely in on that. Because we should want a world in which no matter your sexual orientation, your color or your heritage, everyone gets a fair whack," he explained.

"But the other is about empathic imagination, and if we only allow people to be cast as exactly who they are, it'll be the death of it," Garfield continued. "So, the two separate conversations have to happen simultaneously. Because I'm not willing to support the death of empathic imagination. It's what we need most as a culture, and it's beautiful. It's the only thing that's going to save us right now."

Garfield had previously addressed the controversy in 2017 by claiming that he was a gay man "just without the physical act." Many on the left were outraged at his comment and lashed out angrily on social media.

Among the actors who were criticized for casting outside of their demographic is Scarlett Johansson who was forced to drop a role portraying a transgender person in 2018. She was initially defiant against the uproar from the left but later apologized.

Still later, she lashed out at critics and said that it was not her job to play politics in her acting roles.

"Your job is to reflect our experience to ourselves; your job is to be a mirror for an audience, to be able to have an empathetic experience through art. That is what your job is," Johansson explained. "The other stuff is not my job."

Garfield is best known for his portrayal of Peter Parker in the wildly successful Spider-Man superhero franchise.

Here's more about representation in acting:

Scarlett Johansson's casting as transgender man draws backlash www.youtube.com

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