Andrew Garfield met a real Mormon detective for ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’

by Andrew Garfield Under the banner of heaven The character was inspired by an ‘insightful’ interaction he had with a real-life Mormon detective who had been through a similar case, the actor says Newsweek.

Garfield portrays fictional detective Jeb Pyre in the FX true-crime drama, which chronicles the 1984 murder of Brenda Wright Lafferty (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and her 15-month-old daughter, Erica.

As he digs deeper into the horrific murder and his connection to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), he begins to struggle with his faith, which Garfield’s source had also lived.

Andrew Garfield as Detective Jeb Pyre in ‘Under Heaven’s Banner’. The actor told Newsweek that his character was inspired by a real Mormon officer.
Michelle Faye/FX

Andrew Garfield on his ‘insightful’ interaction with a Mormon detective

The sleuth wished to remain anonymous, which show creator Dustin Lance Black also confirmed to Newsweek, but he proved to be an indispensable source for the actor.

“I managed to talk to someone in Utah who had been through something similar,” Garfield said.

“He spoke to me on condition of anonymity, but he was a Mormon detective and it was about a case that really tested his faith. A horrific case that had ties to the early days of the Mormonism, and he gave me a lot of insight.”

“His experience of struggling with his own faith while working on this particular case was kind of what put the flesh on my bones, making Jeb feel like he was a real human being going through something that human beings go through.

“It was an incredibly insightful relationship that I was able to develop with this person.”

How ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ was a perfect project to take after ‘tick, tick…BOOM!’

the tick, tick… BOOM! The star added that he wanted to be a part of the gritty true-crime drama because it was the furthest thing from musical comedy he could come up with.

Garfield explained: “For me, I really wanted to be part of the story, to be part of this set, I love the book, I love Dustin Lance Black, I love this cast of actors and for me…the the appeal of playing this role was that I had never done anything like this before.

“Recently, I’ve been doing characters that are much more physically expressive, emotionally expressive, more theatrical, wearing their hearts on their sleeves,” he explained.

“There was something exciting about me being a more stoic intern [character]a Mormon detective doesn’t stray farther than a musical theater, flamboyant writer.

“It was an exciting muscle for me to work and see if I could express a lot without expressing a lot, and the struggle he’s going through is fascinating, it’s extreme.”

About Pyre’s internal struggle to keep his faith, he added: “How can you be a man of integrity when, if you are a man of integrity and you go in search of the truth, it is possible that you lose everything you hold dear?

“How do you get to be so sacrificial, how do you lose all of your personal needs to serve something greater?

“That tension that causes the kind of almost nervous breakdown the Jeb is going through is really, really interesting to me.”

Under the Banner of Heaven airs Thursdays on Hulu.

Under the banner of heaven
Gil Birmingham and Andrew Garfield as Detectives Bill Taba and Jeb Pyre in “Under the Banner of Heaven”
FX Networks


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