Amazing Spider-Man: Interview with the Cast
In “The Amazing Spider-Man,” director Marc Webb tells a different side of the Peter Parker story. The new film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, with Martin Sheen and Sally Field. In this film is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast in high school abandoned by his parents as a boy and raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field).
Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone). Together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. When Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to OsCorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father’s former partner. Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter ego, The Lizard, leaving Peter to make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny by becoming a hero. The film opens in theaters everywhere in 3D on July 3, 2012.
Peter Parker, Everyman
Garfield: Peter Parker is a hero, not a superhero. He’s already good before the spider bites him. After that, he gets the power to act on what he already knows is right… When I was younger, I sometimes felt trapped in my own skin, but we all have that. That’s why this character is the most popular of all the superheroes: he is universal and uniting. The reason Spider-Man means so much to me is the same reason he means so much to everyone: he’s a symbol, an imperfect person in the way that we’re all imperfect, but trying so hard to do what is right and what is just and fighting for the people who can’t fight for themselves. It’s overwhelming to represent him – and believe me, I’m just the guy in the suit. I’m honored to be that, but Spider-Man belongs to everyone.
The Allure of Spider-Man
Garfield: The character of Spider-Man has meant a great deal to me since I was a child; my attraction to the character began early. I found hope in Peter Parker’s struggles and the trials he went through week in and week out in the comics, and I connected with that. I found it fascinating; there was something very real in the way Stan Lee wrote him and created him with Steve Ditko.
The Infamous Suit
Garfield: The first time I saw the [Spider-Man] suit, I thought it was so cool, and [Costume Designer] Kym [Barrett] did an incredible job reimagining the suit while remaining true to what Steve Ditko originally drew. The first time I put on the suit, it was kind of surreal and joyous, because you see yourself embodying something that’s meant so much to you.
Peter Parker’s Family
Field: [My character] loves her nephew, of course, but this whole situation was thrust upon her. Nothing was explained. Peter’s father left Peter with them years ago and disappeared. That impacts her relationship with Peter – it’s loving, but it’s very complicated.
Sheen: In a lot of ways, Uncle Ben is Peter’s hero and the motivating factor for a lot of the good things he does. He becomes an image for Peter, an image that is a reminder of what character is, what heroism is. He’s a reminder that ethical behavior usually has a cost, but that cost is also an indication that it is worthy.
Stone: I feel like Mary Jane fell in love with Spider-Man. Gwen falls in love with Peter Parker. Marc’s biggest goal was working out that relationship. We’re operating in a superhero universe, but that relationship has to feel grounded and real. I think the reason that so many fans of the comic books feel so protective of Gwen – or Mary Jane – is that those relationships did feel real and did feel grounded. As actors, it’s nice to have that material to build from – it already feels genuine.
Ifans: To me, the thing that sets the Spider-Man villains apart from other comic book villains is that they’re human, and real, and flawed, as much as Peter Parker is. Particularly with Dr. Curt Connors, what makes him a more emotional presence in Peter’s life is that he was very close to Peter’s father. That makes Peter’s relationship with him a very complex and emotional one… Connors is not a villain as such, and I’m not portraying him as a villain. He does feel kind of cheated by God, and he’s looking for answers in science. He is a man with genuine needs and anxieties. There’s a palpable pain and pathos to him, and when he crosses the line into self-experimentation, the true tragedy begins.
Preparing for the Role of Spider-Man
Garfield: The physical preparation [for the role] was very challenging, to be sure. For six months, [health and fitness trainer] Armando [Alarcon] and I worked together six days a week. He pushed me harder than I thought I could be pushed; however, our work ethic is quite similar, so I tended to push myself as hard as he pushed me. He had a holistic approach that was invaluable in terms of my body confidence, health, strength and nutrition. We have become great friends.
Garfield: It was important to [Director] Marc [Webb] to show Peter taking an active role in his transformation into Spider-Man. It isn’t just something that happens to him – he seizes the moment and does everything in his power to make the most of it.
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