THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
About The Stunts and Effects
Director Marc Webb says that exploring a new dimension of the Peter Parker
story meant telling the story in a different way - a more naturalistic way. "I
wanted the fun, the spectacle, the action, the rage, and the humor to feel more
realistic - like you walk out on the street and you can imagine this happening,"
says Webb. As a result, the filmmakers chose to create The Amazing Spider-Man
using practical, real-world elements whenever possible and choosing visual
effects only when strictly necessary.
To achieve his goal, Webb worked closely with brothers Vic and Andy Armstrong
and their grown children - a renowned family of top stunt performers and
coordinators and second unit directors. Andy Armstrong teamed with his son,
James, to serve as the film's stunt coordinators, and Vic took on the role of
the film's second unit director, with his son, Scott, as the second unit's stunt
"I was very impressed that Marc wanted to approach the film from a more
realistic point of view," says Vic Armstrong. "For Andy and me, that meant
exploring the extent to which we moved from computer-generated action to
practical stunts to increase the thrill factor."
"There is an innate sense that somehow allows us to recognize whether an
action is computer-generated or if it is a real human being in motion," says
Andy Armstrong. "We tried to go for practical stunts and action as much as
possible, because it ups the ante for thrills and suspense."
The Armstrongs worked closely with Webb on increasing the level of practical
stunt work with their innovative choreography and with the design, development
and construction of new tools to allow Spider-Man to swing higher, farther and
with more in-camera excitement, rather than relying solely on visual effects
work. "Andy developed devices for our film that would enhance the swinging in a
way that just hadn't been done before," says Webb. "The level of ingenuity and
engineering that the Armstrongs espoused was really incredible."
For Andrew Garfield, Webb's approach meant he would prepare for the rigors of
the role with a rigorous and intense training regimen, as health and fitness
trainer Armando Alarcon oversaw Garfield's strength, agility, and core training,
as well as nutritional monitoring. "The physical preparation was very
challenging, to be sure," recalls Garfield. "For six months, Armando and I
worked together six days a week. He pushed me harder than I thought I could be
pushed; however, our work ethic is quite similar, so I tended to push myself as
hard as he pushed me. He had a holistic approach that was invaluable in terms of
my body confidence, health, strength and nutrition. We have become great
Garfield also trained under the tutelage of the Armstrongs, in order to be
prepared for the stunt work he would perform as Spider-Man. "Andrew trained and
rehearsed with us for over three months, doing trampoline work, power core
moves, perfecting basketball skills, as well as martial arts, gymnastic and
parkour work, all with instruction from some of the top people in the world in
each discipline," notes Andy Armstrong. "We had shot the key action sequences on
video with stunt people, and we gradually integrated Andrew into the action
through the training process."
"I think one of the traits which makes Spider-Man so interesting is how
quickly he can moves, how fast he is," notes Webb. "Spiders are tiny creatures
that can move with incredible speed and efficiency, and that was important to
reflect in the character. Andrew spent a lot of time studying how spiders moved,
and he came up with a body language that felt spider-like. His work ethic and
performance is just extraordinary - it was remarkable to watch."
The stunt training camp, at a warehouse near Sony Pictures Studios, featured
replicas of several elements of buildings, walls and other environments from the
film, in which the team could recreate and perfect the action sequences. "Andrew
gave 200% to everything he tried. He is one of the most dedicated actors I've
ever seen go through this process," says Andy Armstrong. "His willingness to try
anything really was extraordinary, and he ended up doing some really gnarly
action bits on the film."
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