The stars and creative team behind The Amazing Spider-Man 2 held court at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con today to talk and tease what can be expected when Spidey swings back into theaters on May 2, 2014. While much is still kept under wraps, they shared exclusive behind the scenes stories, character development, and knowledge about what the team learned from the first film, and what they’ve done to raise the bar for this newest installment.
Star Andrew Garfield on where we pick up on Peter/Spidey’s journey in the sequel:
When we meet Spider-man in the beginning of this new film he is taking great pleasure in his power and is in full control of it. What I love about this Spider-Man now is that he has the confidence to not only be heroic, but it’s not boring heroism, he’s not just being heroic, he’s Bugs Bunny to a certain degree. Also, what I discovered is that Peter is his little brother, he’s in the shadows but Spider-Man gets all the attention and live out a fantasy life, but when he gets home Peter has the bangs and the bruises and the aches and the pains when the adrenaline has left his body he looks in the mirror and see a real boy in the mirror as opposed to this symbol that’s greater than any human being. That dynamic was really, really interesting, that older brother and the younger brother. It’s complicated, as it should be–Peter Parker historically has always been complicated. The more complicated the better, the more guilt the better, the more pain the better for Peter. The more joy and pleasure for Spider-Man the better. So those two things were really fun to play.
Andrew on what it felt to take on his role the second time around:
I really took the responsibility to heart. I took Stan Lee’s words to heart and I still do. What I tried to do on this one is make sure I could show up everyday and give all of myself to it. There were certain days on the first one where I felt like I couldn’t get to the place I couldn’t get to emotionally or the place I wanted to get to physically. I just felt burnt out. So, on this one I really wanted to treat myself like an athlete and take rest when I could. Luckily, on this one I could–with the help of the team who crafted a story that didn’t solely rest on Peter’s shoulders or Spider-Man’s shoulders. Alex and Bobby wrote excellent characters across the board, a real ensemble—enough to attract talent like this (motions to cast members) and Paul Giamatti. It’s a real testament to the writing.
Co-star Jamie Foxx on his choices to bring villain Max/Electro to life:
I think the nailing of Max is the main thing. I know people like Max, there was a guy who lived with his mom in his forties. If you know the history of Max you know his father left him, he as actually married at one point-we don’t go into that- and the reason is he couldn’t get going. So for an actor that’s perfect for guys like us, there is a building block right there. If you know this guy has lost his mom, immediately there is something about his character that’s different. If you know his mother dotes over him all the time and he’s seeking his moms approval, which is a little bit like mine. I was adopted at seven months. My mother, she was a very tough mother. She now lives with me, everything’s worked out, [when he was younger] it was tough for me cause I wanted her approval. So the same with Max, and if we could grab that for us as actors—and what was great about Marc was once we set the platform of Max being from that—the Electro part was not easy but it makes sense. What was great though was that Marc would not allow us to move till we actually got it right. He pushed-I don’t know about your guy’s experience- but he pushed me. I don’t know if he pushed me a little harder than anybody else, but he pushed and I really appreciated it. So when we looked back on a shot, that’s the main ingredient from all of the characters that we played.
Andrew on the surreal experience of being an Action Figure:
I went to Toys R’ Us before Christmas time, last Christmas shopping for my nephews and I was like “l’ll meet you guys in the car.” I need just a half an hour to just kind of absorb one particular aisle. It was humbling, just really, really, humbling and not something I really identify with. It doesn’t feel real. It doesn’t feel like me—but its really cool! It’s simple as that but also it doesn’t really mean anything weirdly. It’s the suit. You know kids are gonna be excited by a Spider-Man figure when he’s got his mask on and yes people identify with Peter Parker but it’s not about the actor playing the role. It’s about the everyman nature of Peter and the everyman nature of Spider-Man—what he stands for and who he protects…all creatures great and small. That’s what’s exciting, the fact I try to embody it, the fact that I try and bring it to life for five/six year olds that’s just an honor for me. One that I don’t take lightly or that personally actually.
Director Marc Webb on the webs weaved in this Spidey-verse, and what we can expect as far as easter eggs for the future:
The universe we had conceived of before we started treating the first movie. So there were plans and seeds that have developed all around us but the primary focus is just executing this movie as we all could. This is operatic–there is a hugeness, a scale to this movie. The ensemble is pretty extraordinary and cohesive and its it direct. And I think there is a simple underlying theme that is at the heart of it, which I think will be very impactful [sic] but it was fun to tease out little bits of other characters, and if you pay attention to this one, you’ll see things that might be in store for us in the future.
Andrew on Peter’s relationship with Gwen Stacy:
Its tough to have a life as Peter, it’s like being an emergency aid worker. Its 24/7 his job. There are no breaks. You’re always on call and its not like you can switch a beeper off- who has a beeper? (chuckles) I’m like the original Stan Lee Spider-Man! I can’t switch it off, it’s a physical impulse. I have to get it. I could be in the middle of a proposal to Gwen, on one knee then suddenly “I really gotta go! Sorry! Sorry! Don’t hate me! I love you! I love you!” Then I have to go and save a cat from a tree, its that small. And because of his developed sense of responsibility, its like he’s human. He’s not superhuman ultimately, he’s just a dude. Relationships are hard anyways as we all know but its especially hard for someone who has to be so dedicated to his work. That’s part of the struggle that Peter has with Gwen in the story.
Webb on talking to Alfonso Cuaron, another director who took a turn in another franchise:
I had been a long-time fan of his and he said something–he was talking about doing Harry Potter which I thought was really profound and really helpful to me as a filmmaker. With 500 Days of Summer, it was very much a story with me and my friends. He was talking about Harry Potter like, “you have to surrender to the material. I am at the service of something much bigger than myself. Its not about me, its not about my vision necessarily its about supporting a character that we all know and love that is so much bigger than all of us.” And learning how to surrender to that is a very difficult thing when your job is to be in control and to negotiate with that is many, many life lessons. It was a wonderful thing. What you learn is that when people feel a sense of ownership whether its Andrew, Dane, Jamie or Matt or Avi you get a level of commitment that is much deeper that you can do if you’re servicing something else. To me you learn the power of surrender.
Andrew on future of heroes and the breaking of social constructs of race and sexual orientations:
I long for the time where sexual orientation, color is a small thread in the fabric of a human being. All men are created equal and women. To speak to the idea of me and Michael B. Jordan getting together was tongue and cheek. It would be illogical for me in the third movie to be “you know what? I’m attracted to guys” That’s not gonna work, that’s clear. It was more of Philosophical question and what I believe about Spider-Man is he does stand for everybody. Black, White, Chinese, Malaysian, gay, straight, bi-sexual, transgender—he will put himself in harm’s way for anyone. He is colorblind, he is blind to sexual orientation and that is what he has always represented to me. He represents the everyman but more importantly he represents the underdog and those marginalized. Those who come up against great prejudice which I as a middle class straight white man don’t understand so much, you know what I mean? And when Stan Lee first wrote and created this character the outcast was the computer nerd, the science nerd, the guy who couldn’t get the girl. Those guys now run the world. So how much of an outcast is that version of Peter Parker anymore? Just love for the underdog protecting those who need protection. In terms of teenager now a days there’s horror stories you hear about young gay men and women not feeling accepted by society, attempting suicide, committing suicide in cases and who else is there to stand up for them? We’re all the same is my point.
What do you think of the Spidey news?