Andrew Garfield 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.
Playing such a well loved and revered character brings its own challenges, but then you’ve got the added physicality of the role as well. What was it about playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man that you found most challenging in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’?
Andrew Garfield: The physicality was fun because I just felt so safe with that aspect of making ‘The Amazing Spider-Man.’ I felt so safe with that aspect of the movie-making process because of Vic Armstrong and because of that stunt team, they were so encouraging and inclusive and they didn’t treat me in any different way than each other. That’s what I loved, when you just feel apart of a community and part of a tribe that is all going for the same goal. That’s what I felt with those guys. So on ‘The Amazing Spider-Man,’ that wasn’t the hardest thing, the physicality wasn’t the hardest thing. I think the hardest thing for me was when it came to the story, you know? When it came to the story of Peter Parker and wanting to do that justice. To make sure that all of the themes and the characteristics of the guy, and the struggles that he goes through were portrayed in a way that were honoured and powerful. Also, injecting it with lightness as well, that was another thing that I really cared about with Peter Parker/Spider-Man, the humour – all the things that are there with Peter Parker, I wanted to achieve that. That was the biggest challenge.
There’s a really interesting dynamic between Peter Parker and Dr. Curt Connors in the film, which changes….
Andrew Garfield: Yeah. The idea was that it’s a boy looking for his father and he ends up finding himself, ultimately. But in the process he find a father-surrogate, in a guy that was close to his dad, that has the same qualities as his dad, that brings out the qualities in Peter that haven’t been expressed or allowed, so he starts to feel more ownership over himself – like his brilliance in science and his intelligence. He starts to find a place for himself with Oscorp and with this Doctor, with this brilliant genius Doctor, Curt Connors. He starts to feel validated in a way that he’s never felt before and needed. And that’s a beautiful thing for an orphan to go through. But then of course, things don’t go to plan and he loses that father-surrogate to darkness, the shadow side I guess. Then Peter Parker becomes the father himself, he has to become the father to not only save Curt Connors, but to also save the city, to father the city. The idea was this wonderful idea of an orphan searching for his father, becoming a father to the whole city. How that links is such a beautiful path.
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.
What was your approach to Peter Parker and Spider-Man, what did you want people to take away from the film?
Andrew Garfield: What I wanted from the movie was the humour and the joy of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and the resilience of an orphan. Like, he’s not a victim in my opinion, that’s what I tried to achieve anyway. He has certain….orphans are the most resilient of all people, so there was something in that, that I really wanted to achieve. He’s got such a core of good, that’s what he’s always been. He has heroic impulses without being a hero, even before he obtains his powers. So that when he does they’re very confusing for a while, but untimely he becomes who he’s meant to be. The idea of destiny and the humour and the lightness, I really wanted to achieve that.
Playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man, a character you admired growing up….not bad?
Andrew Garfield: (Laughs) I really won the lottery by getting to actually play an extended game of that for a couple of years. Like any game you get hurt and sometimes you have a little cry, then you get back up and start playing again (laughs). It was like a long play time. Peter Parker/Spider-Man, 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.
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