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Along comes a

new spider

1, 2012 newsday.com C8 movies Along comes a new spider New “ Spider-Man” Andrew Garfield plays

New Spider-Man” Andrew Garfield plays the superhero in his high school years.

be the bigger point. The Amazing Spider-Man” — starring Andrew Garfield as Peter, Emma Stone as love interest Gwen and Rhys Ifans as scientist Dr. Curt Connors, aka the bestial Lizard — skews younger than the 2002 original, which starred Tobey Maguire. While that earlier film begins with Peter in high school, he soon gradu- ates, moves in with his col- lege roommate and gets a job. Amazing” begins and ends in high school, with all its attendant concerns.

‘Spider-Man’ has always been about a boy who was in high school, who was approach- ing manhood,” says Matt Tol-

mach, the film’s producer with

Avi Arad and the late Laura Ziskin. And the further you get from that in your storytelling, the more you lose some of the real metaphor of what the comic was always about” — although, to be fair to the comic books’ many writers over the years, Peter graduated high school in a 1965 story and finished college

in 1978. Spider-Man has been in his spider-manhood for quite a while now.

Selling ‘Spider-Man’ But a movie or even a movie trilogy is different from comics — and it’s not as though some talented writers didn’t try to tell Spider-Man 4.” Starting in 2007, when Raimi was an- nounced to direct the planned 2011 release, no less than James Vanderbilt (Zodiac”), David Lindsay-Abaire (the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Rabbit Hole”) and Gary Ross (The Hunger Games”) all worked on iterations of the script. The process had even progressed as far as the producers approach- ing John Malkovich to play the supervillain. (The producers won’t confirm which villain,

supervillain. (The producers won’t confirm which villain, although Tolmach says, “ You can probably figure it

although Tolmach says, You can probably figure it out if you go on the Internet,” where Movieline.com reported it was the Vulture). We had a meeting in New York with Malkovich, and every- body wanted to do it,” says Arad, a 1972 Hofstra graduate. Because no one knew what was wrong with [the script] yet.” They eventually figured it out. I’ll tell you what was not working,” Arad allows. At the end of the day was always the same question: So where is Peter in all of it?” Without a satisfactory script, plus a post-Avatar” decree that the film be in 3-D, Raimi voiced concern about meeting the release date. Finally, Arad said, We all decided to pay homage to the franchise by saying, ‘Let’s not just milk it’ ” and make a sequel for a sequel’s sake. The creative integrity of not making movie four cost everyone who made that decision a fortune.” Eight days after the studio announced Raimi’s exit and that the next film would be a reboot,

(500) Days of Summer” direc- tor Webb was aboard. At this stage, Webb says, There was a script that Jamie [Vanderbilt] had written, and I worked with Jamie for a while, and then I worked with [two-time Oscar winner] Alvin [Sargent] for a little bit. Jamie was in and out the entire time.” Steve Kloves, who wrote all but one of the Harry Potter” films, did a pol- ish, particularly of the teenage characters’ scenes. The script was incredibly secretive,” says Hannah Marks (USA’s Necessary Rough- ness”), who plays a high-school classmate. I didn’t get to read the entire thing.”

Casting Garfield With Maguire out, Webb looked at half of young-male Hollywood for the role that eventually went to Garfield. I love Spider-Man, because I felt like Peter Parker when I was a kid,” says the American-born, U.K.-raised, classically trained actor best known for The Social Network.” Although he was a gymnast who competed nationally at age 12, I also felt like I was too skinny to be athlet- ic,” Garfield says. I was good at sports, but I would get con- cussed all the time playing rugby.” He understood Peter’s combination of vulnerability and resilience. In fact, he felt that firsthand after getting the role. I had a split second where I was so happy,” he remembers. And then when you start really working on it, you go, ‘This is such responsibility! I don’t know if I can handle it. I love this so much, and I don’t want to disappoint myself as a fan, I don’t want to disappoint other fans.’ And then you don’t sleep, and then you’re losing weight.” Responsibility. There’s a familiar word. If that isn’t Peter Parker, what is?

Wi th a f re sh leading man, the superher o series spins in a different direction

BY FRANK LOVECE

Special to Newsday

W ith great

box office

comes

great re-

sponsibility

— and

after director Sam Raimi’s three Spider-Man” movies grossed nearly $2.5 billion, the filmmakers behind the reboot The Amazing Spider-

Man,” opening Tuesday, had a r esponsibility to keep web- spinning pulp into gold. And beyond that, they say, they felt a r esponsibility to the Marvel superhero whose 50-year canon attests to his relevance and adaptability. As filmmakers also say, there are countless Spider-Man stories to tell. So the unavoidable question becomes: Then why not tell a new one instead of an origin- story reboot?

I t hink there are new

stories in this fourth film,” says director Marc Webb, speaking in a h otel room in Manhattan last month.

There’s [the story of] Peter

Parker’s parents, there’s the Gwen Stacy saga, and then there’s the Lizard,” the super- villain bedeviling Peter’s heroic alter ego. I t hink all of those are new stories and new things to explore.” They’re also more youthful things to explore, which may

newsday.com NEWSDAY, SUNDAY, JULY 1, 2012

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A romantic moment between Garfield and Emma Stone, who plays Gwen Stacy; some other love scenes didn’t make it to the big screen.

some other love scenes didn’t make it to the big screen. Martin Sheen and Sally Field

Martin Sheen and Sally Field play Uncle Ben and Aunt May to Garfield; the tale of Peter Parker’s parents is also dealt with.

Where’s the love?

W hat scenes didn’t make it into The Amazing Spider-Man” that may someday turn up on DVD?

One of them, say star Andrew Garfield and director Marc Webb, was a long date” se- quence that followed a shot of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) holding onto Spider-Man as they web-sling through the city at night. They had the ‘love nest’ scene,” as Webb describes it, where he took her out, and there’s a moment where they sort of coalesce as humans, shall we say. I’ll let you interpret that as you will!” Why cut it? It’s this constant choice be- tween pace and feelings,” the director ex- plains. It was a pacing decision, because they’re very lovely in that scene, but we needed to keep the action going.” A version of the scene before this, with Gwen and Peter talking and sharing a kiss on a rooftop, was one of three scenes used for the screen tests. Another was a scene that wasn’t in the script, which I wish had been,” Garfield says. It was a scene in a diner be- tween Gwen and Peter, which was awesome. And then there was one more scene — I forget what it was. But it was a fun day.”

— FRANK LOVECE

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