No, it’s an interview.
The previous Spider-Man Toby Maguire recently interviewed the new man behind the mask Andrew Garfield about the upcoming film and how it will differ from the Sam Raimi trilogy. Yes, the world has become this strange.
Maguire became a household name thanks to 2002’s Spider-Man, and a string of sequels cemented that post in the public consciousness before it was cut short due to creative differences between the studio and director Sam Raimi. Rumor has it that a fourth film would have featured the transformation of Curt Conners into the Lizard and new villain John Malcovich as the Vulture, but other details are scarce.
In any case, a reboot is now on the way courtesy of a new director (Marc Webb) and an entirely new approach (wrist shooters instead of organic webbing being one of many differences). There were many contenders for the big lead role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, but Andrew Garfield emerged as the latest incarnation of the web-spinning hero.
So just how does one prepare for such an absurd life change? I recall reading interviews with both George Clooney (Batman and Robin) and Ben Affleck (Daredevil) about how crazy the process was and even though in each case the resulting film was terrible, I do have some sympathy for the actors… a little. In the excerpt below, Maguire and Garfield trade stories and wisdom from behind the mask of possibly the most recognizable superhero, Spider-Man.
TM I just want it to be great, and I thought, What a great actor andrew is, i’m glad that’s what’s happening here.
AG That’s so nice of you.
TM What was the process? How did you end up being the guy?
AG It was pretty basic, apart from it being more dragged out and pressure-filled and dra- matic than any other audition process I’ve ever been through. They like to put you through the ringer, in the respect that it creates drama and tension among a generation of actors.
AG And they succeed every time, it seems. But, no, it was great. I’m friends with a few of the guys who were up for it, and I actually had dinner with Jamie [Bell] the night of my screen test and his screen test. We compared notes and war stories, and we kind of got past the ridiculousness of it all and thought it would be a nice idea to get everyone together and kind of interview each other about how messed up the process is, being against each other, and remember that we’re all in it together, knowing that when you take off that bodysuit someone else is going to be stepping into your sweat immediately after. It’s a weird kind of cattle call. But Marc [Webb] was great. He was very open and encouraging. You have the monitoring area with literally about 30 people judging you, looking at your face and whispering to each other—it’s one of the most disconcerting and kind of humiliating things to go through, if you’re aware of it, you know what I mean?
TM Yeah, I completely understand. What kind of effect has this had on you?
AG The main thing I’m thinking about and worrying about is what happens after this movie comes out. What was your experience when you became Spider-Man in people’s eyes? I’m interested to hear what you have to say about the whole life change that it brings. Because right now I have a host of fears that I’m contending with on a minute-to-minute basis. I’m not in the reality of it yet, so I’m sure I’m imagining it will be much worse than it is. I admire you so much because you’re an actor and that’s all you’ve ever been and all you ever will be. It must be very hard to hold on to the simple fact of wanting to be an actor, to tell stories and not have your image become bigger than your art. Do you have a recollection of a definite change, or was it a seamless thing?
TM I think our thing was a little bit different because movies hadn’t been doing the sort of opening-weekend business that’s fairly common—even expected—today. The first Harry Potter came out about six months before us and it was this phenom- enon from Day one. it was so wild because it was a new thing at that moment—and i’m not saying that hasn’t happened in movie history, but at the time that was a big jump. and then that happened with us. People didn’t anticipate [2002’s Spider- Man] to be like that. Leading up to it you start to get reactions and people tell you, you know, what the tracking is and what range your opening weekend box office is likely to be. but for me it was kind of unexpected. So much shifted in my life the weekend the movie came out. it was shocking.
AG Oh wow, that’s crazy.
It is beyond strange to me that the comic book has become something of a bottomless resource to the movie industry. I suspect that many of my older readers recall the awkwardness of collecting comic books and the perception that it was juvenile and a waste of time. Fast forward to 2012 and it is the Avengers is the top ranking film in movie history… it’s an odd turnabout. At least sci-fi hasn’t become cool and hip, right?