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Andrew Garfield says TIFF drama 'Breathe' inspires 'more laughter than crying'


Published on September 12, 2017

TORONTO — Oscar-nominee Andrew Garfield says he laughed and cried when he read the script for his latest film, "Breathe," about a man afflicted with polio who is given three months to live.

Garfield stars alongside Golden Globe winner Claire Foy of "The Crown" in the real-life story of Robin Cavendish, who was diagnosed with polio at age of 28 in 1962.

Cavendish was paralyzed from the neck down and could breathe only with the help of a mechanical ventilator.

He refused doctors' orders that he remain in hospital and returned home — which was unheard of at the time. He would go on to help invent a wheelchair with a built-in ventilator that restored his freedom.

Cavendish died in 1994, some 36 years after being told his condition was terminal.

Garfield told a press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival that the film is ultimately upbeat as it showcases the couple's "pioneering spirit."

"I read (the script) and I just cried constantly, and laughed a lot, and cried more, and then laughed more — more laughter than crying but a lot of crying. So that was like loads of laughter," Garfield said Tuesday.

"It was just one of those incredibly life-affirming stories that you can't help but be inspired by and you can't help but be changed by."

"Breathe" is the directorial debut of Andy Serkis, best known for his performance-capture role as Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" films. He also directed and stars in the upcoming "Jungle Book" remake, which is due out next year.

The Canadian Press