If the giant posters and banners around the Gaslamp are any indication, The Amazing Spider-Man is certainly one of the big headliners at this year’s Comic-Con. Prior to the big panel in Hall H to debut footage for the fans, co-stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, along with director Marc Webb, held a press conference to discuss all things Spidey. The most striking thing that I noticed, in listening to the answers that were given, is how much of a fan Andrew Garfield is of the iconic character and how honored he is to have the role, and how fond Emma Stone is of her co-star.
During the interview, the trio talked about how Garfield was told he had landed the coveted role, what his favorite incarnations of the comics are, the tender and romantic relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy in the film, what it was like to first put on the costume, and how they all knew this was a project worth doing. Read or listen to what they had to say after the jump:
ANDREW GARFIELD: I think it was about 30 minutes. They organized a pretty terrifying ruse. I was in Cancun at the Sony press junket for The Social Network, and I was waiting to hear about whether or not I would be able to fulfill a childhood dream, which wasn’t annoying at all, to be waiting for that knowledge. I was surrounded by people who probably knew, and I was reading every single eyebrow twitch or lip curl that might have given away whether or not I had gotten the role, and everyone was being incredibly poker faced. At the end of a press day of talking about The Social Network, Amy Pascal’s assistant came and got me from the room I was in. He was stone-faced and said, “Amy wants to have a quick word with you, up in her suite.” I was like, “Oh okay, fine, she’s going to let me down easy. That’s really sweet of her. She’s going to tell me personally that I didn’t get the role. That’s incredibly lovely.” So, I went up and I walked into her room and there was a Flip camera set up on record, on the door as I came in, but past the door was Marc Webb. At that point, I was like, “Okay, this is going to be the most defining experience of my life and a turning point.” There was champagne and there was sweetness and there was lots of love in that room. I’ll never forget it. They really gave me a really special thing to tell my grandkids. And then, we went down the back of the hotel we were at, through the kitchen, where I was very confused because I was being treated like Elvis, but I looked like a skinny little spider monkey. Everyone was completely baffled by who I was. I looked like a member of the staff. And then, we shared this with everybody and we shot the film.
GARFIELD: I love all the incarnations. The Torment series is one of my favorites. The McFarlane series was one of my favorites. I love the Ultimates. I got into them doing research for the film. That was a really great source for how I wanted Spidey’s body to look. I love the artwork in that and how lithe and skinny he was because I’m skinny. I don’t know if you can see, but I am skinny. I loved the idea of a skinny teenaged kid, beating the crap out of huge guys. That’s always been a dream of mine that I wanted to personally fulfill, and what better way to do it and give other skinny kids in the audience that sense of achievement as well.
Who is your favorite Spider-Man villains?
GARFIELD: It’s impossible to say a favorite.
Marc, did you have to change your plans for the Comic-Con panel because the trailer leaked early?
MARC WEBB: We released it a little bit earlier than we probably would have, but we wanted people to have a quality version of it online, rather than a taped version from the back of the theater. But, other than that, no. We just stuck to our plans.
WEBB: Absolutely! One of the things that has made Spider-Man really unique, in terms of the comics, is that there is a real tender, romantic quality to it. Something that’s always fascinated me about the cinema is good romance. Andrew and Emma have done such great work on screen. We just finished shooting and I’m having so much fun putting together the scenes with Andrew and Emma. There’s such tenderness and honesty in that, and one of the reasons that I wanted to make the film was to explore that very important part of the Spider-Man mythology. So, expect great things from them.
GARFIELD: Well, maybe don’t expect too much
Andrew and Emma, what was it like to see yourselves and each other in costume as the characters?
GARFIELD: We did that camera testing.
EMMA STONE: I walked in and he was in the full Spider-Man suit.
GARFIELD: Scratching my ass.
STONE: He was scratching his ass, which was great, just to break that up. I went in and I needed to stand next to him in the camera test, and I really inappropriately just started touching him. He was like, “Stop touching me!” I said, “You have to realize that everyone is in the room with Spider-Man. This isn’t just about you. Everyone is around Spider-Man right now.”
GARFIELD: It actually had nothing to do with me.
STONE: It had nothing to do with him, at all. It was pretty incredible to see him in costume, for the first time, because you couldn’t see his face. You just saw Spider-Man.
GARFIELD: Emma was also wearing a Spider-Man costume.
STONE: Isn’t that funny? Isn’t that weird? It’s such a small world!
GARFIELD: I wouldn’t go near her. I was like, “I thought I was Spider-Man!” I felt threatened. No, she wasn’t really doing that. Emma’s natural hair color is blonde, but I hadn’t ever seen her as a blonde, and that was interesting. It suits her, and so does the red.
Emma, is there a super-heroine franchise you would like to take on for yourself?
STONE: I don’t know if I could be a superhero, to be honest with you. I’d love to say, “Yes, there are 12 I could name,” but I don’t know if I’m your girl, if you’re looking for a superhero.
What made you know that this was something worth doing, as far as taking another crack at this franchise?
WEBB: Spider-Man is a part of culture. He’s a perennial character. He’s constantly re-examined and there are so many versions of him in the comics, that it was something that I thought we could do cinematically. He belongs on the big screen. There’s just so much fantastic material that comes from the comics, whether it is Gwen Stacy or The Lizard and Dr. Curt Connors. This relationship with Curt Connors, who’s both mentor and adversary, is a really beautiful, interesting, exciting and exhilarating story. I remember thinking about it and I was a little skeptical, at first. You feel the presence of those other movies, in a certain way, but it just kept me up at night. We all feel this incredible sense of responsibility, but it was like, “How could I walk away from this? What an opportunity! What better cinematic character is there than Spider-Man?” It was fascinating and exhilarating to do. It was just so much fun. It was a total joy.
STONE: For me, it was Andrew [Garfield]. I think (director) Marc [Webb] is amazing. I think the producers are amazing, and Sony is amazing, and the script was so interesting. It was a different story than you’ve seen before. But, it was Andrew because my character experiences everything with Peter. It’s her first love. They experience so much together. He teaches her so much, and they teach each other so much. With him, it made sense. Once I read with him and once met him, it just made sense.
GARFIELD: That’s nice of you to say, Emma.
How did the early photos and footage that got out effect how you approached shooting the rest of the film?
WEBB: We tried to shoot a lot of the stuff on location, which exposes you to a certain kind of thing. That’s just the nature of the beast.
With the trailer showing things from Spider-Man’s point of view, is that something you’ll have more of in the film?
WEBB: Because we were shooting this in 3D, I wanted to conceive of certain things very specifically for 3D. There’s an experiential component to 3D that is really, really fantastic. We’re experimenting with generating that point of view, so that you feel what Peter Parker and Spider-Man feels, when he’s jumping over buildings and streets, and that sort of thing. Andrew had to pay the price for this, but we made a very conscious effort to ground the stunts. We had an incredible stunt team put together. They built this whole rig, hundreds of feet long, under Riverside Drive in Harlem, and we swung a man through traffic, down the street. And, they also built a car rig with a series of wires that was incredibly complicated and really a beautiful contraption, to help do those effects practically. That was something that I thought was really, really exciting and exhilarating to explore, not to mention an incredible level of acrobatics.
Have any of you seen the Broadway musical of Spider-Man?
GARFIELD: I’d love to see it. I want to see it.
GARFIELD: I think Julie Taymor is a genius.
In the comics, Peter Parker has a lot of quips. Will you have that humor in the film?
GARFIELD: They hired a comedic actor to wear the suit and he does the jokes. He’s brilliant. Judd Apatow is in the suit.
Andrew, did you get a chance to meet or talk to Tobey Maguire at all, before doing the role?
GARFIELD: I love Tobey Maguire’s interpretation of the character. It’s one of the thinks that rekindled my love for the character and reminded me of how much this character means to me. When I watched that first Spider-Man film, I lost my mind. I watched it back-to-back. I watched it twice in a row, when I first saw it. I had the wonderful fortune of meeting him, after we finished shooting. I didn’t seek him out, but he sent a very, very, very nice email, once it was unannounced, basically giving me his blessing. It meant the world to me because I respect him so much, as an actor generally, and especially what he did with the role that I’m now assuming.