Joining Spidey are Paul Giamatti as Rhino, Jamie Foxx as Electro, Dane DeHaan as two-faced best bud Harry Osborn, and of course, Ms. Stone in the role of girlfriend Gwen Stacy (now with more side bangs). Rumor has it Stone's character dies in the end, but we won’t know for sure until next year, and we're certainly not crossing our fingers there.
In person, Garfield and Stone are just as adorable and gracious as they are when stalked by paparazzi on the streets of L.A. and NYC. We pulled the two aside to grill them on the return of their illustrious franchise and ended up with a true story of a pickup game of hoops between Spider-Man and the locals on a New York City playground. Not bad, huh?
How was it coming back to the franchise?
Andrew Garfield: “I think we now all feel ownership over this new chapter we are embarking upon, whereas in the first installment we had to establish ourselves. But, now we have the freedom to own the characters and to explore and expand the characters and the relationships. And, we have Cole and Jamie Foxx, so that’s a huge step for us in this franchise.”
What were the biggest challenges this time around?
Garfield: “The challenge, of course, is reinventing it in a way that is true to what Stan the man intended all those years ago and also necessary for the culture where we are in right now or the culture where we’ll be in 10 years. Somehow we have to walk that line. And, there are themes in this film that are very pertinent. Of course, you’re always thinking about the millions of fans, 'cause I’m one. I’m going to be harder on myself than even you ever will be. So, I’m constantly picking myself apart, which is painful and sometimes silly.”
Stunts get tougher as you get older?
Garfield: “As we know, your metabolism starts to slow down. I’m not a teenager. I’m 30 years old. I’m not the boy I once was. In terms of the stunts, we talked about Bugs Bunny and the trickster archetype and making sure that’s what sets Spider-Man apart, and what Stan has always been so beautiful at writing into Spider-Man is the quips and the wittiness and the physical absurdity and enjoyment that Peter Parker feels when he’s in Spider-Man’s suit.”
And, where are Gwen and Peter in their relationship now?
Emma Stone: “I think part of Gwen’s history, and the reason she understands Peter so well, is her father was always heroic even though he died in his line of duty. She’s always understood having a hero as the male figure in her life. Gwen is kind of the perfect person for Peter if Peter could only get his head straight, because she’s so clear; she has so much wisdom about her and especially in this new installment. She has gotten past the death of her father. And, as anyone does when they’ve recently lost something or someone, you have a much greater awareness of your mortality and of how fleeting everything is and of time. So, Gwen is all about time and the timing of things. She’s very, very clear on what she wants, and she wants to be with Peter, and I think that’s really conflicting for Peter. So, yes, it’s complicated, but she’s pretty steady and very wise for an 18-year-old girl.”
What was your favorite thing about coming back?
Stone: "It was a completely different experience 'cause we were in New York the entire time; we were in the streets a lot. There are lots of people that come out that are very excited to see Spider-Man. So, you really feel the city in a way that I don’t think we completely got to [before], the first one being mostly at Sony. Andrew played basketball with some kids in his Spider-Man costume. You can do things like that 'cause you’re in New York City, and you’re really interacting with kids who can directly relate to Peter Parker who are young kids growing up in that city, in that life.”
Garfield: “I was really excited. I was like these kids are going to lose their minds as soon as Spider-Man starts schooling them. And, then I arrived, and they were these really serious street-smart 5-year-old inner-city kids. I was like, 'Yo, can I play?' And, they were like, 'If you want.' And, they were fed up with me because I was ball-hogging, not as good as them. But, I had a good time.”