THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
About The Characters
Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Returning to the role of Peter Parker is Andrew Garfield, the BAFTA-winning
actor who created a new vision for the role in The Amazing Spider-Man.
Producer Avi Arad says that the role is quite complicated. Spider-Man is
capable of so much that Peter Parker couldn't do, but the heart of the character
is always Peter. "Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created an incredibly complex
character - the actor basically has to play two roles, Peter Parker and
Spider-Man," says Arad. "But Andrew can do it all - he's the best actor I've
seen in years. He has all of the humanity, he can create the conflict and the
drama, he can even do all of the stunts that we'll let him do. He's such an
amazing young man. To top it all off, Andrew has both a mental and a physical
sense of humor, which is the true embodiment of Spider-Man."
Garfield was eager to return to the role for many reasons - not least of
which is the fact that he's a huge fan of the character. "I know how important
it is to be a fan. I know what Spider-Man can do for kids - and for people who
aren't kids anymore," he says. "For anyone who encounters the character, who has
an affinity for him, it's so reassuring when it's done right. No matter what
problems you have in your life, Spider-Man is there as evidence that you can get
through it - because Peter Parker has all the problems of a kid, and he's
getting through it, too. He's reaching out his hand to tell you it'll be okay."
Garfield sees Spider-Man as the ultimate protector of the underdog. "He has
an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and heroic impulse, but he has this
deeply felt sense of justice," Garfield explains. "That's not something you can
learn - you're born that way."
Garfield says that the filmmakers opened up the character much more in this
film - harking back to the original characterization in the comic books. "Peter
Parker trips over his own two feet, but Spider-Man can trip anybody up. He's a
trickster," says Garfield. "One of the defining characteristics of the trickster
is they turn their enemies' weaknesses against themselves - rather than throwing
punches and kicks, they are making their opponents beat themselves."
To pull it off, Garfield trained and practiced and studied the masters. "Cal
McCrystal was our 'Clown Deviser' - our name for a physical comedy consultant.
There were certain scenes, certain ideas, that came directly out of
conversations that I'd had with Cal. And I love Charlie Chaplin and Buster
Keaton - I admire that skill. We had an opportunity to explore that as
Spider-Man has the same kind of physical foolishness."
Still, even as Spider-Man has to face the prospect of multiple villains
uniting against him, Peter is sorting out what he's going to do about the most
important part of his life - Gwen Stacy. Peter hasn't forgotten the promise he
made to Captain Stacy, but that's a promise he just can't keep. "Peter and Gwen
are giving it a go," says Garfield. "For better or worse, Peter has an
overdeveloped sense of responsibility. It's hard for him to live with himself by
breaking that promise, but impossible for him to live without her. He's dealing
with the guilt of a broken promise, but there's also a destiny between them that
they can't deny. He's a torn, confused young man trying to figure out the best
thing to do."
Garfield was excited by the chance to re-team with Emma Stone, who reprises
her role as Gwen Stacy. "She keeps you on your toes and makes sure you've done
your homework so that you can keep up," says Garfield. "You can throw anything
at her and she will move with it. She's the most talented actress I know."
Stone returns the compliment: "Before we shot the first movie, I hadn't seen
much of his work. Now I know: he's capable of so much," she says. "It's an honor
to work with an actor like that. I learn so much by working with him - he's
incredibly prepared, meticulous, and really brave, all at the same time. He's
able to bring so much depth to the character."
"Emma Stone is Gwen," says Arad. "The most amazing actress, who brings the
movie charm, love, light, and a spirit of independence. She is the epitome of
what we want our women to be: smart, ambitious, and loyal."
"Gwen is such a powerful woman, a powerful character in her own right," says
Tolmach. "She is not waiting around for Peter Parker to decide whether he can or
cannot be with her. Her dreams are every bit as significant as Peter's."
The film opens on graduation day, with Gwen taking her rightful place as the
class valedictorian. "At the end of the first film, Gwen and Peter broke up -
but it obviously didn't stick," says Stone. "She has a lot to figure out. She's
set to go to Columbia, she's got this great opportunity to maybe go to Oxford,
and she's trying to find her way with this boy who has a lot going on in his
Stone says that she was excited to be returning to her role - one of the
mythic, most powerful characters in the canon. "Gwen Stacy is such an important
character in the Spider-Man world," she says. "The fate of her character is
something everyone loves to talk about and Marc is really embracing the
storyline and telling his version over the course of these movies. Before my
audition for the first film, I read about her story, and the more I read, the
more I wanted to play her."
Stone says that Gwen has a much different outlook on their relationship than
Peter does - an empowered outlook. Gwen is a woman determined to make her own
choices and does not feel the need to be protected by any man, even Spider-Man.
"Peter had sworn to stay away from Gwen - which she knows - but she's more open
to being with Peter anyway," Stone explains. "It's not just because they're in
love. Her father died, but that's given her a huge awareness of time - that
everything is fleeting. Peter is more conflicted about it, and there's a lot of
tension between them throughout this movie."
At the same time, Webb says, there's a sense of trouble ahead in their
relationship. "Gwen has her own life to lead," says the director. "She gets an
opportunity to go study in England. She's going to be a doctor, she's going to
save lives. There's such great possibility to her life. Peter wants to let her
go - he's happy for her - but he can't, because he loves her and that's who he
is - he's bound up in her soul, in only the way that teenage love can bind
Max Dillon / Electro
Set against this love story, of course, is Spider-Man's vow to protect New
York. As the hero's greatest battle begins in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it was
important to the filmmakers to put in his way the toughest obstacle the hero has
yet faced. At the same time, they wanted a villain deeply rooted in Spider-Man
lore: a tragic figure, even sympathetic in some ways, but one who makes the
wrong choices that lead him into evil and opposition against Spider-Man.
"Marvel villains are also victims of circumstance. They deal with their
issues and pain by doing the wrong things, hence, becoming villains," says Arad.
"Although they have their everyday problems like everybody else, unlike
Spider-Man, they cannot tell right from wrong. Electro is a prime example. Max
Dillon is an underdog, not a villain - you want to feel badly for him. He's a
man who has been ignored his whole life. But when he becomes Electro, he wants
recognition, at all costs. Electro, the villain, is taking out his frustration
and anger on humanity, specifically targeting Spider-Man. No good deed goes
"Spider-Man is the most visible person in New York - you pit that against Max
Dillon, who is quite literally almost invisible," Kurtzman explains. "He says,
'I wish everybody could see me the way they see Spider-Man.' He fantasizes about
Spider-Man - even thinking that they're best friends, based on one interaction.
All he wants is to be recognized for what he does well - which is what we all
Max was once Spider-Man's greatest fan, but, as Electro, becomes his greatest
foe. "No one remembers his name, no one cares if he comes to work, he has no
family, no one to care about or to care about him," Arad continues. "He has one
role model, one friend in his mind, and it's Spider-Man. But when he
misinterprets one of Spider-Man's actions, he feels betrayed. It hardens him.
Things fall apart. And he becomes Electro. Max was living in the dark,
unnoticed; as Electro, he'll take away everyone's power, and they will know what
it was like to live that way. That's a great villain."
"Max is a very, very smart guy, a guy who should be celebrated for building
big things for Oscorp," explains Jamie Foxx, who takes on the role. "Max should
be getting a company car and an expense account - and instead, he gets nothing.
He resents it, but he doesn't know how to react. He's ready to lash out, but he
doesn't know how."
Max finds a way to lash out - against the very person who was once his idol.
"Spider-Man was the one person who did seem to notice Max, who said his name,"
Foxx points out. "As Max, he feels that Spider-Man was his friend. Actually,
because of that, he becomes obsessed - pictures on his wall, that kind of thing.
He takes it very seriously. But later, after Max gets his powers and comes to
Times Square, Spider-Man tries to stop Max from hurting himself and innocent New
Yorkers. Max feels betrayed by his hero. He tragically misinterprets what
Spider-Man is trying to do. He sees Spider-Man getting all the glory, at his
expense - even though it's not what Spider-Man intended. But it doesn't matter -
to Max, that's a betrayal."
Tolmach explains why Jamie Foxx was the actor that was ideal for the role.
"The character called for someone who could break your heart - a guy who could
be genuinely sympathetic and quiet, a guy you'd bump into on the street and pay
no attention to - the guy who has so much inside but is overlooked by
everybody," Tolmach explains. "But the character also called for someone who
could embody this powerful force when everything goes terribly wrong - the alter
ego of that quiet, sympathetic man - an extrovert, loud and bombastic. Jamie
Foxx was perfect for that."
Continuing, Tolmach recalls Foxx's performance in the 2001 film Ali as part
of the reason he was so sure that Foxx was the man for the job. "He played
Bundini Brown, a beautifully soft-spoken, sympathetic, and vulnerable man," he
says. "I always remembered that magical performance. We've all seen Jamie filled
with bravado and his voice is so powerful, and he's unbelievably charismatic and
funny, but that performance showed the other side. It's an incredibly rare
combination of qualities."
Still, before taking the role, Foxx was counseled by one of his closest
advisors about what would be in store for him as Electro. "When I told my
daughter that I was going to be in a Spider-Man movie, she said, 'Who are you
gonna play?' I said, 'Electro.' She said, 'Oh, Dad, you know you're gonna get
beat up. You know that, right?'"
Harry Osborn / Green Goblin
Joining the cast in the pivotal role of Harry Osborn is Dane DeHaan, who has
turned heads through his performances in such films as Chronicle, Lawless, Kill
Your Darlings, and The Place Beyond the Pines.
In this vision for the character, Harry is Peter's long-lost friend. "Their
fathers had been partners - but when everything went down between Norman Osborn
and Richard Parker, and Richard disappeared, Peter and Harry were split. They
haven't talked to each other in a very long time - until now," DeHaan explains.
After years at boarding school, Harry is called back to New York - to his
father's deathbed. "He thinks his father is going to say 'I love you, goodbye,'
but instead, it's very different. Harry finds out he has the same disease that
is killing his father, and his father says, basically, 'Deal with it,'" DeHaan
"That's when Peter comes back into Harry's life," says DeHaan. "At the heart
of it, they remember the loving friendship they had as children."
Harry has grown to be a very different person than Peter has. "My take going
in was that Harry was a trust fund baby - a hipster New York kid," says DeHaan.
"That's a very specific place, a very specific type of person - right down to
the way he looks. Harry latches on to his material possessions, because they are
the only things that he's not afraid of showing - he can use this materialistic
quality to hide what's on the inside. Marc was very responsive to that, and
then, hearing my ideas, Marc guided me on a specific path to help create Harry."
That path takes Harry from privileged trust fund kid to the most menacing
villain in New York. In taking the reins at Oscorp, Harry - like his father
before him - marshals the vast resources of the company in an effort to save his
own life. Through his discovery of Oscorp's secret lair of Special Projects, he
comes to believe that Spider-Man's blood is the answer to all his prayers - and
that belief becomes an obsession that eventually leads Harry on a transformation
to becoming the Green Goblin.
"Harry Osborn represents a unique Peter Parker/Spider-Man classic conflict,"
says Arad. "Harry was his best friend, and again, due to circumstances, Harry
becomes an enemy who sets out to destroy Spider-Man. What makes it most
difficult is Spider-Man is feeling the need to help his friend and stop him from
becoming this self-destructive villain."
"There have been many iterations of the Goblin within the Spider-Man canon,"
says DeHaan. "We did the research about how these characters have become the
Goblin, what the Goblin was. We had a responsibility to honor the material and
to make it our own. Even though we took some liberties, it was of utmost
importance to honor the classic elements of the Green Goblin that everyone knows
Marc Webb says that in many ways, Peter and Harry face the same choices -
only to have very different responses to those choices. "Harry is a foil for
Peter," says Webb. "He's intelligent like Peter is. Peter and Harry were both
abandoned by their fathers, though in different ways - one physically, and the
other emotionally. But Harry didn't have a May and Ben in his life to comfort
him and guide him, as Peter did. And because of that, he's developed a rasher,
more abrasive quality. That's how he endures his life; he's become a little
hardened. They start off as best friends, and end up as mortal enemies, driven
apart by jealousy and rage."
The sense of betrayal that Harry feels becomes very personal after Harry
comes to think that Spider-Man's blood could provide the cure he's anxious to
receive. "But Peter knows that Spider-Man's blood turned Dr. Curt Connors into
the Lizard," says one of the screenwriters, Jeff Pinkner. "If he were to give
Harry the same blood, it might do the same or worse to Harry. Peter desperately
wants to do anything he can to help his best friend, but his blood might do
something far worse than kill him. Of course, Peter can't explain all of that to
Harry - and even if he could, it's not clear that Harry would accept that. It's
a real problem for Peter, and ultimately, it leads Harry to unite with Electro."
"Harry and Electro form a deal over their mutual hatred of Spider-Man," says
Kurtzman. "That's a great moment - two villains who hate the hero, but for
different reasons. And it results in Harry turning the full resources of Oscorp
Tolmach says that when casting the role, DeHaan wasn't necessarily the first
name that Webb and the producers dreamt up. "We'd seen Dane in a couple of
movies, but we just didn't know the breadth of his work," says Tolmach. "But
something magical happened. He was wholly original and unique and different. He
forced us to see the character in a way we didn't before - an extraordinary way.
We were mesmerized. There's something about his eyes; he has a searing intensity
and there's enormous heart, but there's also a lot of pain and room for
darkness. That's Harry Osborn."
"Dane is a fantastic actor. He looks like no one else," says Arad. "Those
eyes are his. He's vulnerable; he can show you his journey, or awkwardness, or
insanity, or whatever the scene calls for. And he's a perfect match for Marc
Webb, who often directs his actors to let go and show him whatever comes to mind
- Dane can go haywire and give you scenes that are very different."
"It was exciting to be cast as Harry, because it's such a full, dynamic,
crazy arc of a character," DeHaan concludes. "I knew it was something I could
really sink my teeth into."
DeHaan would spend four hours in makeup and wardrobe to transform into the
villain. "The makeup designer, Sarah Rubano, and I developed together a whole
evolution of the makeup," says DeHaan. "It starts from a pimple on my neck and
starts to spread to his face - something Harry tries to hide but can't. And
then, once he takes the spider venom in this desperate attempt to save himself,
it accelerates the disease to an almost fatal stage - the same stage that Norman
Osborn is at when he dies. I wore a few prosthetics - ears and a nose tip - but
it was mostly individual sores and wounds that we fairly specifically chose. I
also wore teeth and contacts - he has the Goblin's menacing smile and those big
eyes. The shape of my hair pays homage to the purple hood that the Green Goblin
wears in the comics."
Aleksei Sytsevich / The Rhino
As the enemies begin to unite in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, one enemy to join
the sinister cause is the Russian gangster Aleksei Sytsevich. Stopped and sent
packing by Spider-Man early in the film, he returns as a highly mechanized
Oscorp invention - the Rhino.
The Rhino was in fact Paul Giamatti's favorite Marvel character when he was
growing up. "He's just brute force, and a little kid loves that sort of thing,"
the actor says, describing the Rhino's appeal. "You can just destroy everything,
go through a brick wall. The Rhino had that great mean face all the time and was
An appearance on Conan O'Brien's late night talk show in 2011 led to Giamatti
being cast as the Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. "As a joke, Conan asked me
if I could be in one of the Spider-Man movies, what would I want to play, and I
said the Rhino," says Giamatti. "I guess Marc Webb saw it, and when they were
coming around to do this one, I met him and he asked, 'Would you seriously want
to play the Rhino?' It's such a weird fantasy thing - I feel like I'm seven!"
Two-time Oscar winner Sally Field reprises her role as Peter's Aunt May.
"She's Peter's moral compass," says the actress. "She is the one who keeps
things in perspective, but also understands what he's going through. She's his
biggest supporter. But she also knows things he doesn't - secrets that she'll
share when the time is right."
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