Andrew Garfield was an unlikely choice for the lead role in summer blockbuster The Amazing Spider-Man, but as the movie rolls into theaters this week he appears to have been the perfect fit for the crime fighting superhero’s suit.
The new Spidey tale reboots the modern film series that began with 2002′s “Spider-Man” starring Tobey McGuire in the title role over three movies. The Sam Raimi-directed trilogy netted around $2.5 billion at the box office for its makers, Marvel Studios, and distributor Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Los Angeles-born, British-raised Garfield, 28, was little known in the United States when cast as Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, in July 2010. But he showed his acting chops in Facebook film The Social Network that fall and this year was nominated for Broadway’s Tony award in Death of a Salesman.
Directed by Marc Webb, “The Amazing Spider-Man” generated $50.2 million in 13 countries across Asia this past weekend and made its North American debut on Tuesday. Garfield spoke to Reuters about his role and donning the famous blue-and-red Spidey suit.
This is your first big blockbuster …
“And hopefully last.”
“I don’t need to do anything as big as this ever again. This role is the visible role. There are very few of these roles that would get me out of bed and Spider-Man just happened to be the one that makes me go: ‘I’ve got to be Spider-Man, because he is my favorite.’ He’s been my favorite since I was three.”
It is a career-changing role. What do you like about that aspect of it and what do you not like?
“I like to feel like people ask you to do things because you are right for the story or right for the role, as opposed to right for their checkbook. The whole movie star thing is something that I’m not crazy about pursuing because it’s fleeting and temporary and kind of based on nothing.”
Do you worry about being pigeonholed into the part?
“Spider-Man is Spider-Man. It doesn’t matter who’s in the suit. Kids aren’t driving by a billboard in New York going: ‘Oh my God, it’s that British actor Andrew Garfield!’ They’re going, ‘Oh my God, it’s Spider-Man!’ So, I feel off the hook that way.”
Did you ask anyone for advice when planning for the role?
“Not really. I talked to Tobey (Maguire), but we really didn’t talk about that … We skimmed the surface of it a little bit and he was like, ‘just enjoy it man,’ and ‘I’m so glad you’re doing it.’ We talked about his production company a little bit and about life.”
What was it like putting on the suit for the first time?
“Scary. Terrifying. Spandex – who wants to wear spandex ever? No one. But you have to, and you have to find confidence in it, so I did. I listened to a lot of (Afrobeat pioneer) Fela Kuti and that helped somehow.
“And I looked at all of these athletes who are so in their bodies and they have a lightness about them, like Ronaldo and Muhammad Ali, or Philippe Petit from ‘Man on a Wire’ … for that sense of pride and confidence and agility and a lack of self consciousness that is needed to wear spandex.”
Did practicing gymnastics as a child help when it came to the stunts?
“It did. It got me very excited because I’ve always been a very physical person and I’m most happy when I’m on a surfboard or a snowboard or climbing a wall.”
Peter Parker skateboards in the film. Did you have anything to do with that?
“It was my idea for Peter to skate and they were generous to allow me. The skate sequence was an addition I’m proud of.”
Marc Webb said he instantly saw chemistry between you and Emma Stone. Did you feel that right away?
“Chemistry is a magic thing and you don’t know when it’s hit you. You don’t know what it is. It is unquantifiable. So no, I just felt like I really liked her and we got on really well. We could work well together and it just felt good and right.”
Do you plan to do any more plays on Broadway after your success as Biff Lowman in Death of a Salesman?
“I’ll do plays whenever I can. Whenever they’ll have me I’ll do it. For the last six years I’ve just been doing movies and I missed doing plays so much. So now I’m back in that saddle and it feels so nice. It feels like home.”
Any similarities between Biff Lowman and Peter Parker?
“Definitely. They are both trying to figure out who they are – both trying to come to terms with who they are and like who they are and live with who they are.”
What do you see yourself doing later in your career?
“I want to branch out and develop things and tell stories that I can be a part of from start to finish, so it’s not just step in, step out, and say ‘thank you very much.’ I’d like to try to direct actors, because I am passionate about actors.”