Getting to know the new Spider-ManBy Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LOS ANGELES—There’s a high school hallway scene in “The Amazing Spider-Man” in which Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone evoke the giddiness of young love.
In an interview in Cancun, we asked Andrew how Emma, as an actress, helped bring out the flustered kid in him experiencing first love in that scene.
“We’ve all experienced first love,” said Andrew who plays Peter Parker to Emma’s Gwen Stacy. “It is the greatest, most thrilling and terrifying thing. Before you have a child or get married, that is the first big thing that we all go through as human beings. We know the feelings so well. I remember very clearly when I fell in love for the first time.”
Then the actor talked about his costar—whom, incidentally, he started dating in real life after meeting her on the set—in the much-awaited “Spider-Man” reboot directed by Marc Webb: “Emma, as an actress, is so present and kind of unflinching. She doesn’t let you off the hook, ever. You are never allowed to be false with her in the scene. She will not let you veer and if you do, she moves with you and she stays right there with you. There’s something very intense and very exciting about it … She brings out the joy and lightness out of anyone she meets.”
One fave actor
Andrew wore a shirt with a black and white photo of a young boy that surprisingly turned out to be Michael J. Fox.
“He’s one of my favorite actors of all time,” Andrew explained. “A very sweet girl who came to see the play I was doing (‘Death of a Salesman’) saw me at the stage door. She knows I’m a big fan of Michael and made me this T-shirt. I thought it might be nice for her to see it being photographed. Michael is an inspiration to me. I love him as an actor and he seems like a fantastic human being … I like the T-shirt.”
Adores Spider-Man movies
Born in Los Angeles and raised in England, Andrew said that he adores the Spider-Man movies, which starred Tobey Maguire. It has been reported that Andrew truly is a fan of the web-slinging hero; as a three-year-old he used to wear a Spider-Man costume.
He said, “Tobey will always be my Peter Parker. The way I look at it, is that we are the next chapter and we are all part of the same family. We all fall under the umbrella of Spider-Man. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created something that is much greater than any of its parts. I’m excited to see what the next installments will be so my kids can be introduced to that character in a way that is exciting for them.”
Tobey himself was said to have e-mailed one of the producers of “The Amazing Spider-Man” to say that Andrew was “a good choice” as the new actor to play the superhero.
Asked if he has heroic instincts, Andrew replied: “We all have these impulses. Sometimes you get beaten like Peter Parker does before he gets his power. I’ve gone through a situation where it ended up
hurting me because I’m a skinny guy. If I’m stepping in a room with a bunch of big guys, that’s going to end in disaster even if you try to appeal to that better nature. That’s why I related to Peter because he felt that way, too. He always felt like he wanted to do the right thing, to protect people and himself, but he didn’t have the power to do it. Then he gets the power. It’s fantasy fulfillment and it becomes very exciting.”
Professing to have more affinity to spiders these days, Andrew said that when he finds one on his bed, “I try and be as humane as possible. I try and land them out the window. I have empathy for spiders now that I didn’t have before.”
Being an orphan
While stressing that his own father is “great, he is so present” in his life, Andrew pointed that he can identify with Peter, who was orphaned early. “That was one of the amazing things about exploring the character—the realization of that inner orphan,” he said. “I think that at one point, we all had that feeling of being dropped, of being alone and hollow.”
Andrew added: “There’s a wonderful link between Peter as an orphan who becomes a hero, and a father figure to an entire city. There’s something so incredible about that because here’s a guy who didn’t have a father and which left a huge gaping hole in him.”
On filling the metaphorical holes in his life, Andrew said: “As the Cat Stevens line (from Stevens’ song ‘On the Road to Find Out’) goes, ‘the answer lies within so why not take a look now?’ That is everything, really. All the external stuff—all the photos that you have taken of yourself, all the reviews, awards … There’s always going to be a hole in that bucket that you keep topping up. We all know that. It’s just hard to do but exciting to try.”
Lest we get too existential on a comic book hero movie, let us mention that the footage shown to us in Cancun, especially of Spider-Man swinging through nighttime Manhattan’s skyscrapers, was impressive. Andrew’s background prepared him well for all that slinging around.
A former gymnast
“I was a gymnast before, so I have a physical facility that I like to use,” Andrew said. “I felt really comfortable. There was the odd scrape and bruise but it wasn’t anything more than you’d get from playing a game of rugby or football.”
With a grin, Andrew admitted, however, that “the harnesses hurt, especially in the crotch.”
E-mail the columnist at email@example.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben.
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