Andrew Garfield To Play Notorious Billionaire Playboy

Continuing his major career turnaround, Andrew Garfield is set to play one of the world's most eccentric billionaires.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

andrew garfield

Andrew Garfield is having a pretty amazing year. He received his second Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the late Rent playwright Jonathan Larson in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ​​Tick, Tick… Boom!. He received his first Primetime Emmy nomination for his role as a troubled Mormon detective in the FX true crime thriller Under the Banner of Heaven. He even managed to finally shake off his reputation as the worst Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home (which was technically in 2021, but we’ll call it a rolling year). Now he has another juicy role ahead of him: Virgin Group founder, eccentric billionaire, and Knight of the Realm Richard Branson. 

Richard Branson

Per Deadline, Andrew Garfield will be starring in and executive producing a six-part streaming series titled Hot Air. The limited series will chronicle the battle between Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic and British Airways in the 1980 and 1990s; Branson founded the company (originally named British Atlantic Airways) in 1994 with a single plane but quickly grew to become heavy competition for the dominant British Airways. A key Virgin Atlantic acquisition of coveted landing slots at London’s Heathrow Airport (due to the abolition of the London Air Traffic Distribution Rules) triggered a “dirty tricks” campaign by British Airways. Andrew Garfield will be portraying the business magnate in those years of scandal when the larger airline actively infiltrated his company and planted fake negative news reports against the competition.

The Andrew Garfield-starring Hot Air is being adapted from a non-fiction book titled Dirty Tricks by investigative journalist Martyn Gregory. The source material is being adapted by screenwriter Jon Croker (who will co-executive produce with Andrew Garfield), who is best known for Paddington 2, the official approved movie choice of Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal. The series will be directed by David Leitch, the former stunt performer turned filmmaker responsible for John Wick (with co-director Chad Stahelski), Deadpool 2, and Atomic Blonde. While Leitch is best known for elaborately choreographed hyperviolent films, it would appear he is moving in a different direction with this Andrew Garfield-Richard Branson project. That, or maybe there will be a fantasy sequence in which Richard Branson and British Airways public relations director David Burnside get into a spectacularly brutal knife battle.

Andrew Garfield has a no doubt intriguing role for an actor in Richard Branson. While it sounds like the Hot Air series will focus on the British Airways scandal years, Branson was also instrumental in the promotion of British punk band The Sex Pistols in the 1970s via his label Virgin Records, crossed the Pacific Ocean in a hot air balloon at a world-record breaking speed, and starred in his own FOX reality show, The Rebel Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best. In short, the man has had a pretty wild life and Andrew Garfield will hopefully make a meal out of portraying it. It has not yet been announced what streaming platform will pick up Hot Air, but with that talent on board, there will no doubt be a bidding war.