Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen & Denis Leary Interview For ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’
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.
Martin, as Uncle Ben, how was it for you working with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker?
Martin Sheen: Andrew Garfield has this great sense of humour. And he asked me a lot of questions, he just kind of….when he first called me, I said, “Who is this?” He said, “Andrew Garfield.” I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t know you.” He said, “I’m playing your nephew!” (Laughs). Any other big star like that would have said, “Your playing my uncle.” So I was really disarmed by him from the get go. I was instantly fond of him when I met him. A great guy and great actor, I had a wonderful time working with Andrew. He’s just delightful.
Denis, your character, Captain George Stacy, he has a complex dynamic with his daughter in Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy. How did you find working with Emma?
Denis Leary: I know she’s already recognisable to a big chunk of the audience. And I was certainly very aware of her movies, my kids are huge fans of hers. But she’s unbelievable. She’s great as a dramatic actress, she’s hilarious, she can improvise, she’s twenty-two and she acts older than I do. She’s really pretty amazing. Once ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ opens she’s just going to even bigger.
What do you think made Marc Webb the right person to direct ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’?
Rhys Ifans: I can see why Marc Webb is a great choice for this because it’s different to the other Spider-Man movies, I think, in that it’s very much to do with much more human relationships. Although we have plenty of crash-bang-wallop spectacle. There’s something very human about this film. I guess, essentially, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ is about bullying. Marc Webb is obviously visually adept, but he’s also very forensic when it comes to the emotional world of the characters.
Denis Leary: Marc Webb is one of those guys who knows literally the answer to almost every single question you can ask about the character. And even in the action sequences he’s concerned with everything, but he never forgets where we are with the characters and what the moments are suppose to be between everybody. I really can’t say enough good things about him.
As Peter Parker’s surrogate father, can you tell us a little about how Uncle Ben and May Parker are introduced in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’?
Martin Sheen: Peter Parker is left with us in an emergency situation, his parents, my brother and his wife, they come to my house in the middle of the night, in a great period of anxiety. They’re under a great pressure that they never quite explain. We don’t know where they’re going but they assure us that they’ll only be gone a few days, maybe a week at most. Then they will call and let us know where they are and see that Peter is all right. But of course they never come back, so this is the overriding mystery. And Sally Field, I adore her – who doesn’t?! How could you not adore Sally Field? I’m delighted to have worked with her. And I love her humanity, that she saw how nervous I was walking on the set and she just went right to the centre of what was really important. I owe her big time.
The production design in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ looks great, I can imagine that informing you performance?
Rhys Ifans: Oh definitely. It’s amazing to walk onto a set, this is how good the sets were, to walk onto a set and to leave the set and forget you were actually in a studio. Usually you’re amazed when you walk through a studio door and onto a set. But the sets on ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ are so good, you’re stunned when you go off the set (laughs), you’re like, “Oh my God, it’s in an iron box.” They’re incredible, the loving attention to detail. That does really inform the microcosms of your emotional world, you know? Knowing that everything around you is absolutely real, it just allows you to do your thing.
And then as Dr. Curt Connors / The Lizard, you had a pretty lengthy makeup process….
Rhys Ifans: It’s arduous, but actually it was put on with such skill – I have to say that the makeup and hair and special FX department were just breathtakingly good. It is a slow process, involving four or five people just prodding and pulling. But everything’s useable, you know? And sitting there for four or five hours, looking at yourself slowly transform, it is kind of, if you want it to be, kind of pleasantly disturbing (laughs).
Look out for a more in-depth interview with Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen and Denis Leary for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ closer to the films release date.
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