EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Star Andrew Garfield Discusses Casting, Stunt Work & Sequel Potential
Published: July 3, 2012 - 9:07am
Directed by Marc Webb and also starring Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans and Denis Leary, The Amazing Spider-Man is now playing in theaters and IMAX 3D nationwide.
The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be 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), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As 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. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors' alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.
The announcement that BAFTA award winning actor Andrew Garfield would be taking over the cinematic mantle of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Sony Pictures' franchise relaunch The Amazing Spider-Man was met with hopeful hesitation. Retooling the film's origin story only 10 years after the first film, which starred Tobey Maguire in the familiar red and blue tights, would be a big gamble; especially in an age where reboots/remakes are scoffed at. Even with big shoes to fill and a worldwide audience seemingly hedging their bets against the film from the get go, Garfield never doubted his desire to play the part.
"You can't say 'no' when they ask you to play Spider-Man, you just don't do that [laughs]. He is such an important character in our culture.. I was thrilled, don't think I stopped smiling for a week."
Tinkering with the Spider-Man mythos was central to theme of this new film, but so was reinventing the stunt work and effects that showcase the hero's web-slinging. For this aspect the filmmakers turned to stunt men extraordinaire Vic and Andy Armstrong who created special rigs and trained a team of Spidey stand-ins to actually swing, climb and tumble around the streets of New York City in an effort to capture realistic movements. Garfield, who doesn't have a history of action-oriented roles, was quick to dive into training for his role and spent weeks before filming commenced with the stunt team.
"Oh that was brutal, I was just covered in bruises. But it was all worth it The suit was... atrocious [laughs] it left nothing to the imagination. I needed to be comfortable moving in and out of it.. from [Peter's] little ticks and mannerisms to his fighting style. It had to be organic but still a bit spastic and foreign. Andy was instrumental in making that possible, helping me create this character."
As with every superhero film, talk of a sequel is one of the foremost thoughts on the the filmmaker's minds and Garfield would love for his Spider-Man turn to stretch out into a full trilogy: "There are so many great stories to tackle.. I've always been a Spider-Man fan but after stepping into the role I really dove into the comics. It's such a rich history with different tones and levels of sincerity. The plan seems to be for a trilogy and that would be fantastic, but we're taking it one step at a time."
Last week, Garfield joined director Marc Webb and cast members Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans and Denis Leary in New York City for 'Spider-Man Week' which celebrated the upcoming release of the new film with special events around Spidey's hometown. Whether it was lighting the Empire State Building or helping local volunteers at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Garfield was floored by the warm reception he faced while touring the city.
"It's a bit overwhelming, you know? To see the these people really excited about a film you put so much work into and you care about... and they haven't event seen it yet. I'm just proud to be a part of it all."
The Amazing Spider-Man stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, with Martin Sheen and Sally Field. The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay written by James Vanderbilt, based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the film in association with Marvel Entertainment for Columbia Pictures. The film is now playing nationwide in IMAX 3D and conventional theaters.