One of the world’s most popular characters is back on the big screen as a new chapter in the Spider-Man legacy is revealed in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man.’ Focusing on an untold story that tells a different side of the Peter Parker story, the film 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. ’The Amazing Spider-Man’ is the story of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally 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 (Emma 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 (Rhys 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 Amazing Spider-Man’ will be swinging onto the big screen July 3rd in the US and July 4th in the UK.
Can you talk a little about this incarnation of the Peter Parker/Spider-man story? For me, he’s definitely one of the most relatable characters in the comic book world.
Andrew Garfield: In this version of the Peter Parker story, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man,’ we’ve really focused in on him being an orphan, him searching for his identity and never really having a sense of it up until this point where he gets guided to Oscorp, and ultimately being bit by this radioactive, genetically engineered Spider. I feel like comic books and comic book films are our modern myths, in that they hold universal themes about being human that we need to be reminded of, over and over and over and over and over again (laughs). I think this struggle that Peter Parker has, of being a normal kid, like everyone, I think that’s why people relate to him, he is all of us, he is no different to any of us….and that’s why, to me, he’s the most important superhero. It’s more grounded and gritty and real, this version of the Peter Parker story.
With Gwen Stacy, like all the major characters in the Spider-man world, there must be so much there for you in terms of her as a person, and her relationship with Peter Parker and George Stacy?
Emma Stone: Yeah. I think the reason that people are protective of Gwen Stacy, or protective of Mary Jane, Peter Parker’s love interests, is that these relationships in the comic books did feel real, they did feel grounded. So it’s not like we’re trying to create something out of some fantastical comic, it was a pretty earth based comic. There’s so much there, fifty years worth of comic book material when it comes to Spider-man. Their intimacy, Gwen and Peter’s, is such an incredible element to the story.
To have a father that’s the police chief, that’s a life (laughs). She’s the oldest and therefore bears a responsibility to her father. I think she’s responsible because of that experience, of having a father like that, but I think that he’s incredibly loving and protective of her. So that whole element and how complicated it is, to be with who is considered the biggest villain in the city (laughs), and have your father be so against him, that’s a huge conflict. It’s a complex situation for Gwen in ’The Amazing Spider-Man.’ There’s a lot of sadness and fear in her life, combined with the fact that she’s outwardly confident and strong and smart, and takes no bullshi*t. She’s soft and seventeen underneath it all.
As a massive fan of the character, what was it like stepping into that Spider-man suit?
Andrew Garfield: When you first wear it you’re like, “OK, here we are, I better savour this moment.” And it is a surreal thing when you see yourself embodying something that’s meant so much to you. But there is a really interesting thing about it because it doesn’t belong to you, you very quickly realise it’s not you, it isn’t you in the suit, it’s just you doing your job. It’s actually nothing to do with you, the suit is what people love, and whatever body is in that suit, it doesn’t really matter. That’s what I found so wonderful about this character; that he is everyone’s and he is everyone. He’s been one of the dearest fictional characters in my own personal life, I started to read the comics as soon I started to read. And as I grew up and realised I was a bit of a skinny kid (laughs), I found myself in a skinny body, which didn’t make sense to me because inside I felt a lot stronger. Inside I felt like a Lion and outside I looked like a Spider Monkey, and Peter Parker feels like that to me. There’s definitely this pure, personal, fantasy fulfilment there that every young, skinny boy has had to find strength. Stan Lee’s creation of Peter Parker, Spider-man, has inspired me in my life personally, so stepping into this I felt equipped in a way. Because I know he’s sort of lived inside me for so long, like millions…countless other people, but there is a weight to it.
How was it working opposite Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-man?
Emma Stone: Andrew Garfield is probably the most fluid person I’ve ever worked with. He really ebbs and flows and moves with you. It’s funny because he does so much preparation. He’s incredibly prepared. I mean, he’s thought out every moment of the movie – countless times. And every element of Peter’s journey, it’s really incredible. He just completely knows what’s going on, but he’s still so adaptable, so intuitive in a way. It was a godsend, probably the biggest reason I wanted to do the movie was camera testing with him. It was kind of a no-brainer after that. He’s incredible, he’s a really incredible actor.