Marc Webb Discusses His New Take with 'The Amazing Spider-Man'
Ever since 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb got attached to direct Sony's reboot of Spider-Man back in early 2010, he hasn't been able to talk much at all about the project. But now that he's finished shooting and they're poised to make quite a splash at Comic-Con this weekend, he's finally able to speak and it's Hero Complex who has the first interview with Webb on all things The Amazing Spider-Man. He doesn't talk about the villains much, but does explain how he tried to differentiate this film from the others, as well as his biggest comic book inspirations for his Spider-Man, played this time by Andrew Garfield.
Truthfully, it's best to jump right into this, as Webb gives some fantastic quotes. Plus it's a great a follow-up to all the new photos we saw just last week. So how has Webb "reinvented" his new Spidey this time around?
"Peter Parker is a science whiz. If you look back to the early Stan Lee and Steve Ditko comics, he's a nerd with big glasses. The idea of what a nerd is has changed in 40 or 50 years. Nerds are running the world. Andrew Garfield made a movie [called 'The Social Network'] about it… What was important in those early comics was this notion that Peter Parker is an outsider and how we define that in a contemporary context. That, I think, was one of the challenges for us — getting Peter Parker's outsider status to be current. Peter Parker is a real kid. He's not a billionaire. He's not an alien. He's a kid who gets picked on and gets shoved to the outside. The 90-pound weakling, that's who Spider-Man is when he gets bit. So much of the DNA of the character is the fact that he was a kid when he got bit. He is imperfect, he is immature and has a bit of a punk rock instinct. In his soul he's still a 90-pound weakling even after [the bite]."
It's impressive to see them strive for that and I think comic book fans will be happy to hear it as well. Webb goes on to say that he loves "a lot of the Ultimate Spider-Man artwork and story lines, there's a lot more of an adolescent, playful quality. And I think that's a big part of Spider-Man universe and hasn't really been explored cinematically before." Garfield went through a lot of "incredibly intense" training focused on agility over strength, as he's still that "90-pound weakling" even when he becomes Spider-Man. But as Webb goes on to explain, they're keeping this world even more grounded in our reality than ever before. Webb reveals:
"One of the things we tried to do was keep the stunts more grounded physically and that was a huge challenge because you have a character whose abilities are superhuman. How do you do that in a way that's convincing and real? … We spent months and months and months developing rigs so he could swing in a way that wasn't computer-generated. Obviously there's going to be enhancements and CG [sequences], but it's based in a physical reality and that's a new technique. When you walk out of the theater, I want the world you see to resemble what you saw on the screen. Part of the joy of cinema [is that] you make the impossible look real. I wanted it to be more grounded and more realistic and that went for the emotion of the scenes, the physical action and wardrobe. It's less based in Steve Ditko world and probably closer visually and more influenced by 'Ultimate Spider-Man' but it is also very much a world of our own devising."
There's another Ultimate Spider-Man reference, so if you're not a fan of that series, you might want to stay buried in your comic books. Speaking of comics, that's where Webb says they got their villains. "Marvel villains — and Spider-Man villains in particular — are rich and complicated and interesting and Rhys [Ifans] has done just a fantastic job in translating that and there will be a lot of new things to explore for the fans." More good news, but obviously we'll see for ourselves when we get a look at the trailer. Although Dr. Connors was in Raimi's movies, he never became The Lizard, now we'll finally see Ifans fulfill that destiny.
With only four years separating this from Raimi's trilogy (five when it's released next July), is Webb at all concerned about treading the same ground as before? Definitely not, as he firmly states to wrap things up:
"What the truth was: I like the other movies and I was a little bit skeptical but then I asked myself if I wanted to see [this new story] and the answer was yes. I was interested in that universe and I believe I have something to say that's different enough to be worth my time. I think there's a lot to explore as far as the adolescent quality of this superhero and just seeing him in high school again gives you so much to mine in terms of behavior and story and the contemporary mythological context of high school and what it is."
From the guy who brought us 500 Days of Summer, I'm definitely in. And from what I've heard, he's going to bring us one hell of an awesome, fresh new take on our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. It's great to hear Webb speaking so confidently and so knowledgeably about Spidey, as I think this is a good sign the franchise is now in very good hands. Of course, he can't satisfy everyone, but from the sounds (and looks) of it so far, this might just be the Spider-Man movie that some die-hard fans were hoping for, but didn't get with Raimi's version. I just hope this is as awesome as I'm expecting. I suggest reading the full interview with Marc Webb on Hero Complex, as there's plenty more he mentions that we didn't include. Thoughts?