The Amazing Spider-Man hits cinemas next month, and to build the anticipation, here’s the first in our series of interviews with the movie’s key players.
Over the next week or so, we’ll be sharing chats with Andrew Garfield, Rhys Ifans and director Marc Webb, but first up is the charming and funny leading lady Emma Stone.
Best known on screen for her conker-red hair, Stone reverted to her natural blonde look to play Gwen Stacy, one of Peter Parker’s most significant comic-book love interests. The hair colour isn’t the only thing that’ll distinguish Stone’s Stacy from Kirsten Dunst's Mary-Jane, though, as she provides a natural warmth and wit that was lacking in Sam Raimi’s leading lady.
We caught up with the Easy A and Crazy, Stupid, Love actress at the Sony press junket in Cancun, and you can read the full interview below to find out Stone's thoughts on the comic books, her chemistry with Andrew Garfield, and the on-set pranking that went on.
Read our full Emma Stone interview:
Gwen’s a smart girl. Do you see her as a role-model figure for young girls because she’s clever and driven?
“I don’t know that I really thought of her as much as a role-model for young girls as a girl who is a very accurate depiction, to me, of a 17-year-old falling in love for the first time.
"Her boyfriend is in the face of death every day, which is just like her father, which is kind of a little bit of an Electra complex thing... Not to get too heady about it [laughs].
"I’m so lucky that I’ve gotten to play independent, smart women that are strong and sure of themselves. But there’s something about Gwen that is kind of the ultimate damsel in distress and I was also attracted to that, to that side of women that [says], ‘Wait! Save me!’”
Do you think this is the time for independent women?
“Absolutely! Oh yeah, absolutely. But I think there are all types of women, and Gwen’s first incarnation was in the ‘60s, and it’s exciting as an actor to get to play all the facets of people, you don’t want to limit yourself.
"This was like during The Help, when people were getting down on Viola [Davis] for playing a maid. ‘Why are you playing a maid when we’ve gotten so far past this?’ And she said, ‘I’m playing a person. I was telling a story.’
"And it’s unfair to say only strong, independent characters should exist in the world, because that’s not the only kind of people that exist in the world. Gwen does have a ton of those elements. I mean, she is valedictorian and incredibly bright and has her whole life planned out ahead of her, but there’s also that element to her that is a damsel in a way.”
Gwen’s one of the most tragic characters in the Marvel universe, was that something that attracted you to her?
“Hugely, yeah. I think I have a morbid curiosity. I’ve always had this awareness of my own mortality, so it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s pretty epic.’ And also – SPOILER [comics] – the way her death goes is so heart-wrenching and so tragic, it’s not just her death but it’s all the other elements of it that are a huge draw to the character.
"Does that sound fucked up? I thought it was awesome. I just thought it was just staggering, and so bold. And I know people boycotted the comics when it happened. It’s a really wild and oddly very exciting element for me to play. There’s a little insight into my psyche.”
It’s become a comic-book joke, that Gwen’s the only character who dies and doesn’t come back to life…
“Yeah. I mean… well, it’s gonna be interesting.”
Can we expect any upside-down kissing in this movie?
“No upside-down kissing this go round. That was such a good kiss [in Sam Raimi'sSpider-Man].”
Is the chemistry between you and Andrew easy?
“Well, I think the thing about chemistry is – I might be wrong, other people might disagree with me – but it’s kinda hard to build chemistry. To build a relationship is one thing, but chemistry is so...
"You either have that thing - that rapport, and you get each other – or you don’t. And so the chemistry part was nice because he was just really easy to get along with instantly, but then you’re building the character.
"And Marc [Webb – director] giving us the opportunity to improvise a lot was really beneficial for building that relationship, just because falling in love for the first time as those people is awkward and uncomfortable and you’re 17 and you’re finding your footing in that way, so it was nice to be able to build that.”
Did you do any stunts?
“Not really, I did some swinging but I didn’t get to beat anybody up or anything.”
Are you kind of relieved that you only have one Spider-Man movie to go and then it’s over?
“I mean, who knows? Really, is that the case? Who knows? We’ll have to see…”
What comic-book source material did you read?
“It was going back through Gwen’s history, and also there’s this really fantastic book – again, not to give anything away but it’s called Death Of The Stacys – and it’s a compilation of the arc of the Stacys so that was really helpful.
"And also learning about science oddly enough, was really helpful. Learning about regeneration and going to science labs and learning about biology and understanding that passion and the logical-mindedness of putting those things together was helpful for Gwen.”
What was the mood like on set? You all seem to have a shorthand with each other.
“It was nice. I was in and out a lot because I worked, like, 30 days out of 100. Which is a bummer, because you want to be involved for the whole thing and you feel like you’re missing out, but also you’re lucky because you get a break – you get to take a couple of days off and they don’t, which is really a very lucky thing to do.
"But it was great, it was fun. Everybody really got along pretty well. It was a good experience. It was a long one – six months.”
Did you ever pull pranks on each other?
“Sort of. I think Andrew and I pulled a couple of pranks on each other like parking my car in front of his trailer so he couldn’t get in, and then he put my car on one of the soundstages with a note on it that said ‘Move your car, asshole!’ In the middle of the stage!
"We were just inspired because Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt had just done Moneyball, and Brad Pitt’s, like, a super-prankster and one of our make-up people had worked on Moneyball and she was like ‘Oh my god, you guys, you should hear about all the pranks’, and we were like, ‘We wanna do pranks too!’
"Those were like the two pranks we did, which were so lame compared to what Brad Pitt does.”
This is your first big blockbuster movie, what the most tedious part of the process? The travelling? The press junkets?
“For The Help we travelled a fair amount too. I guess the most tedious part is answering the same question over and over. But people don’t ask that question a lot, so don’t think this is one of them, because it’s not! I hate explaining the character and I hate explaining the plot."
"And then the only other part is the jetlag. It’s, like, soooo brutal. It’s so brutal, it really makes you feel like a crazy person especially when your answering the same question over and over, and you think ‘Am I hallucinating?’”
Do you think this is the best phase of your acting career?
“I hope there never is a best phase, I hope there’s always something to reach for. Because once you hit the best, there’s nowhere to go but down.”
The Amazing Spider-Man opens on 3 July 2012.
Read our full Amazing Spider-Man review.
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