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Hey Boys and Girls, what a great time we had with the folks behind the second installment of The Amazing Spider Man series.  We sat to chat with stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dale DeHaan and director Marc Webb, but first, hereís our exclusive with producer Matt Tolmach and Marvel Studios legend, Avi Arad.


Dig it!


The Amazing Spider Man 2

Producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach


The Lady Miz Diva:  I recall some fans complaining there was too much drama in the last film and not enough action.  This film felt much more action-packed than the previous chapter.  Was the increase in action a natural storyline progression, or were you being attentive to the comments and reaction of the audience?

Matt Tolmach:  Both.  I mean, we are very attentive to what the audience says.  We knew it.  We needed to reboot the movie properly; we needed to tell the origin story.  That meant for a certain chunk of the movie heís not even Spider Man.  Then he becomes Spider Man, and heís wrestling with it, so you limit yourself when you do the math, as to how many huge set pieces youíre going get to have.  In this movie, in the first 12 minutes, youíve had two huge set pieces.  So, we had to get clear of the obligation to tell the origin story.  And we always listen to the audience to an extentÖ

Avi Arad:  Like with the costumes.  Letís put it this way, the costume that we had in movie one wasnít a unanimous decision.  Then the fans came in and said, ĎWe donít want this costume,í and we changed it.  And they came back on the Internet and they got the suit they wanted.

MT:  And they loved it.  The eyes, the colour, the belt, all of it, we listened.

AA:  We have to listen to them because itís like having one more in charge on the committee {Laughs}.  Like having another bunch of judges.

MT:  Itís unrulyÖ

AA:  Itís unruly, but it comes from passion.  Just like when I get death threats on the Internet, I know theyíre not going to physically kill me; itís the way they care about it.

MT:  But we also wanted to go bigger.  We wanted to make it funnier.  We really felt the need to kind of blow up the universe, so to speak, and to put Peter under much more pressure.  He starts the movie, heís in love with his job, not conflicted right now, heís good at it, heís great at it and he loves it.  That changes everything.  And so the Aleksei Sytsevich scene couldnít have happened in the last movie, it wouldnít have made sense.  But now you can match that character with a Spider Man whoís equally flip.  We wanted to go there we wanted to make it bigger and sort of popcorn friendly.

AA:  We also wanted to pump up the action against an existing city versus having to go somewhere and build a city and try do the same thing.  There was a lot of freedom and comfort.


LMD: In this chapter, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone really claim their roles as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy.  The audience feels for what this young couple is going through.

MT:  Thatís why it was so right for telling this story because they are both at the peak of their greatness.  Theyíre both coming into their own.  Weíre saying he loves being Spider Man, but sheís utterly her own convicted, empowered woman, and sheís got a plan and sheís following it.  She knows where sheís going.  And so that the universe pulls the rug out from under that; it feels so wrong and therefore so right dramatically.

AA:  Harry {Osborn} was a very successful introduction.  Iíll tell you, this Harry is the Harry we needed to introduce to Peter.  The other Harry {From the Sam Raimi films} was almost like too close; you couldnít tell the upstairs downstairs.  You couldnít tell the socio-economic differences with James {Franco}.  Here, itís like you look at the guy, and you see that the only thing they had in common is the fact that they came out of the same halls.

MT:   That they knew each other -- and they were both dumped.


LMD:  Thereís such a huge Marvel universe; how do you choose what character to introduce at which point?  How do you decide that Electro or Green Goblin or Rhino is going to appear during any given film? Exactly how many more Amazing Spider Man movies are you planning, two or one?

MT:  Sony announced a while ago that were going to have a Spider Man 4 after we have Spider Man 3.  What we are actively working on now is Sinister Six, Venom and Amazing Spider Man 3.  Which may not sound like it, but thatís a lot.  So weíre cooking that and then weíre going to keep going from there.  Thatís what we sort of set our sights on.

But to answer your question, each of the characters in the movies, those villains, serves a very specific purpose: Obviously, for the ending of the Peter/Gwen story thereís a very specific person who fulfills that role.  That person is not Electro; but he does something else that we wanted to accomplish, which is to put the city in real jeopardy.  So we wanted to be bigger and as much as we loved Doc Connors {The Lizard in the 1st film}, not enough of that movie probably was spent putting the city in jeopardy and seeing that the people were becoming lizards and all that.  In this movie, we wanted to be clear that the stakes of this whole thing was the safety of the people in the city, the people of New York.  So you needed a villain that became about awesome power and that was Electro.  Aleksei was about fun; Aleksei was about. ĎWho do we open this movie with without an origin who can just be funny and candy and we can use them whenever we want?í  Thatís a little bit of how you do it.

AA:  Aleksei also represents the future of this universe.  Itís high-tech, hard to stop.  I mean, if all of them are going to go from where they were in the comics to these incredible high-tech villains, Spider Manís going to have it tough.  Heíll have to be like in this movie with Electro; you have to become a genius scientist.  And in this movie, I know it seems small because there are just so many things you can yell out loud, but the fact that he and Emma {Gwen} - two science geeks - have to figure out how to stop the villain not with their fists, but with their minds, to me it was a great thing to finally see Peter come to that.


LMD: The colour blind casting of Marvel pictures is another thing I find so intriguing.  What is it that motivates you to think outside the lines in this regard?

AA:  Itís time.  Marvel is over 50 years old and you probably donít know, but 50 years ago there were only white people in the world.

MT:  Mostly white men!

AA:  {Laughs} And you know what? It took a long time, it shouldnít have taken that long, but it doesnít matter, itís here.  It just doesnít matter.  You just find the best actor.

MT:  Whoís the best actor that we can think of and the only person that we ever thought of to play Electro?  Jamie Foxx - best actor - end of conversation.  Thatís where we get off.  Itís like, whoís great and who represents this world?

AA:  If youíre not going to start with some diversity, itís so against what Marvel stands for.  I mean, we need to do it.  Itís the right thing to do and the talent out there is amazing.

MT:  Itís also the world.  These movies are also reflective of the world we live in.  And we donít live in a world Ė thank God Ė with only white men in it, and so how silly would it be to make movies that way?  Itís just wrong.


LMD: Mr. Tolmach, what have you learned from working as a producer beside the legendary Avi Arad?

MT:  Well, my sense of style.

AA:  {Laughs}


LMD: I think you have a ways to go yet.

MT:  Clearly!  Above anything else is a deep love of the characters; and that you protect them like theyíre your own children.  And this is great literature, these are great characters, and you listen to the fans, but you listen to the characters.  And you love them with all that you have.  What he hasÖ *Leans over to AA* ÖYouíre not allowed to talk about yourself.

Avi has a crazy passion for the characters in this universe.  Frankly, this doesnít happen without him.  I was in the room in 1999, or whenever it was when we started on Spider Man, and if you look at a 1999 universe and a 2014 universe in terms of the movies, they look very, very different.  The primary difference is that man.  Thatís true.

AA:  Thatís what happens when youíre colour blind.

MT:  Thatís true.  Itís what happens when youíre open to doing something that nobody else has done before.

AA:  Thatís probably the biggest challenge for me; itís true, every time we know we need to move forward, my first instinct is, Ď*sigh*, Weíre going to change whatís in the books.í  Therefore having a partner like Matt, who I think can be a little more objective about it and just get comfort that itís the right thing to do, itís the right story to tell.  Because that was my Bible forever, so today itís really easy because I have a great support group.


~ The Lady Miz Diva

April 27th, 2014


LMDís Questions from The Amazing Spider Man 2 Roundtables


Jamie Foxx and Dale DeHaan

The Lady Miz Diva:  Your Electro is quite a different-looking fellow from the original comic.  What was your response when you saw what he would look like and what the makeup for him wouldíve been to endure?

Jamie Foxx:  Well, the blue is sort of like a throwback to the Ultimate comic books, like when youíre watching Disney {Ultimate Spider Man cartoon} - the blue Electro.  Hereís whatís interesting about this movie, you know itís really a set up for something else.  If you think about it, the villains in this movie arenít really villains for all that long; theyíre mostly Max or Harry Osborn throughout, so they really havenít become villains yet.  So, Electro was like, ĎIím gonna grab the suit off this dude I just beat up, throw this on, now weíre going to get down.í  So you never know what he may come back with if they were to do the Sinister Six.  And then the makeup thing - I have my daughter, sheís four years old, sheís in a Spider Man bouncy house when I got the call. I said, ďDaddyís going to be in Spider Man.Ē ďWhat are you going to do in Spider Man?Ē I said, ďWell, Iím going to be the bad guy.Ē  She said, ďDaddy, Electro? Oh, you know Spider Manís gonna whip your butt.Ē I said, ďYeah.Ē

She got to come with me to the makeup test.  My daughterís been interesting; when she was three she was on the set of Django {Unchained}, so sheís watching people get blown away.*Clapping hands*ĒLook at the blood, Daddy, look at the blood!Ē  I donít know if Iím a bad parentÖ  So she understood the whole thing and what was great was that she got to see the whole makeup process, which was about four hours putting the blue silicone on.  She would put her little Spider Man suit on and we walk the set together, it was all cool.


LMD:  And the makeup process for you, Dale?

Dale DeHaan: I had like 3Ĺ hours of makeup for the Goblin, and then another hour just to get into the suit, cos the suit, I had to be wrenched and screwed into.  It took about four people to put it on.


LMD:  Your Harry is quite a departure from the Harry Osborn I grew up reading, who was pretty wimpy.  Your guy is a ball of rage.  Was that in the script or did you add to the personality we see onscreen?

DD:  Well, I think all of that comes from the fact that heís trying to save his life.  Most of the time in his circumstances in the movie, I mean, it is life or death, and heís on a quest.  Heís dying and he doesnít want to die and no one is really helping him.  And so, itís the circumstances, I think, that cause him to be rageful.  But I think Harry, to me traditionally, heís always been kind of bratty: He was born into a lot of power, a lot of money and heís been able to buy his happiness.  Heís always partied a lot.  Heís always had drug abuse problems Ė or at least in certain times in the comic books, heís dealt with drug abuse problems.  He always has been this troubled kid that uses the money and power that he was born into to try to buy his happiness.  And I think what you see in this film is all of a sudden something is happening to him that he canít just buy a solution out of.  Heís dying and itís not as easy as paying someone off to solve the problem.  So that just eats him alive and he has to go on this journey to save his life.


Emma Stone


The Lady Miz Diva:  There seems to be such an easy flow to the acting in this sequel.  Was there a comfort level the second time around?

Emma Stone:  I think so.  I think being with the same crew again is really nice.  Usually, when youíre making a movie, youíre flying to some far-flung location and meeting people for the first time like summer camp and getting to know each other really well, then being ripped away.  And here I knew everybody; there were new cast members, but we all had gotten to work together, obviously, before.  Yeah, thereís a big comfort level; you really can feel the difference.


LMD:  Did you have more freedom from Marc Webb to interpret Gwen Stacy as you liked and take her wherever you wanted?

ES:  Not wherever I wanted.  I think the writers had seen the first movie and they really understood Gwen and what she struggles with and what sheís clear-eyed about; the maturity that sheís gained since the end of the last movie when her father died.  Thatís the huge event in anybodyís life at any age, and for that to happen so young to her, I think sheís taken any positives she can learn about that kind of loss and used it to fuel her sense of her own destiny.  So they really wanted to incorporate that and you could see that in her speech and the choices that sheís making.

As far as Marc goes, there was more of a shorthand because we had worked together before.  He allows us a lot of freedom to play around and improvise, but most of it was in the script in this movie.


LMD:  Were you a comic book fan before taking on the role of Gwen Stacy?

ES:  I didnít read comics growing up, no.  But learning more about the Marvel universe has been one of the coolest parts of the process, because itís so realistic; these superheroes live in real cities and are going through real experiences.  Itís so metaphorical, all of the experiences of the Marvel superheroes, so I liked learning about it.


LMD:  Youíre involved in a lot of street location scenes all around New York City, did you get a sense that the crowds were being very supportive even when you guys were stopping huge amounts of traffic?

ES:  Yeah, absolutely.  Absolutely!  I think they were probably annoyed with the time it took to have traffic stopped up, but for the most part it really felt like New York was excited.  And to see Spider Man in the flesh, in the costume, this beautiful costume, I think was pretty exciting for people.  It was for me, at least, so maybe Iím projecting.  New Yorkers love us! [Laughs]


Andrew Garfield and Director Marc Webb

The Lady Miz Diva:  Last time we spoke at the last film, I asked about the balance of drama to action and you were very happy with the drama of telling Peter Parkerís story.  This chapter feels much more action-intensive and then youíve got these characters to introduce and stories to tell that will become important in the future.  How did you strike the balance here and know where to focus and did the uptick in action come naturally?

Marc Webb:  Well, there are certain stories that need to be serviced.  The story of his father and mother; I was so curious about that.  That had been set up in a very specific way in the first movie and I wanted to resolve that.  Itís also just inflections of the messy life of Peter Parker that need to be addressed with the Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn thing and it all emanated from a single event, which is the end of the movie -- which you canít spoil.  But that moment was really how we built this; that was the tip of the pyramid and then everything else emerged from that thematically.  But to me in terms of action, I try not to think of action just as action, though certainly I wanted there to be a spectacle and a bigness to it, but that came from wanting to reinvigorate and remember that feeling of awe and wonder as a kid reading comic books when you would kind of sit back in your bed and wonder what it would be like, flying.  Trying to invoke that spirit; that was the addiction that happened when you were a kid.  So that was where that came from.  But to me I try not to separate action and drama so much.

My favorite parts of the movie are when all of those things stack together.  Like in the very last scene of the movie thereís explosions, but there is this kid and the drama of that kid and the drama of the mother in terror, and that idea when Spider Man comes back I think is a very powerful connection between all those different kinds of scenes.  Thereís drama, thereís action and it gives you a feeling thatís at the heart of all that in the midst of the explosions, and the missiles, and the stomping feet and the panicked crowds: You need a beating heart at the central of all that or else it doesnít mean anything.


LMD:  In a Spider Man movie, New York City is always an important cast member. When you are shutting down Madison Avenue in the middle of the day, do you get a sense that people are somehow still on your side and being supportive because youíre filming a Spider Man movie?

MW:  When you walk out on the set with actors, thereís always like some curiosity.  But when you walk out on the set on the streets of New York with a Spider Man suit, everybody stops and they look, and itís a reminder of something.  And kids come out, kids get put on shoulders, everybody comes up and they slow down and they come and they want to get their picture taken.  And itís something thatís quite magical and itís really beautiful.  And itís something we experienced going around the world with the character; things change when that suit comes out.  Itís a real testament to what Stan Lee got in touch with.

Andrew Garfield:  Mm-hmm

MW:  Itís actually very special because Spider Manís from New York.  Heís from Queens.  To those kidsÖ

AG:  It belongs to them.

MW:  Itís true.  In a way, thatís more deeply felt here than I think anywhere in the world.

LMD:  Andrew, what is your reaction being inside the suit and seeing that?

AG:  Itís beautiful.  Itís like being Santa Claus.  Itís amazing.  And Marcís right, weíve experienced that in such a real way going around the world.  My favorite moment - maybe my favorite moment from the whole of filming - was nothing to do with the film; it was to do with being in between takes in Chinatown and going down and playing basketball with these two eight-year-old kids on the court as Spider Man.  And it was just incredibly surreal and fun for all of us.  

And weíve been doing that around the world; like we did hospital visits as Spider Man.  We did kidsí charity visits as Spider Man.  And I donít know the chemical thatís released in people when they see the red and blue and they see the eyes and when they see Spider Man walking through the hallways of a childrenís hospital, but like literally a kid on a bed whoís just been through an operation and they look up and Iím waving through the door and itís just like Ö*mimes widening eyes* Suddenly like thereís a rush to the brain, and itís like, ĎOh, everythingís actually okay for a minute.í  Itís a really beautiful thing.  It really is.  And that links in with the small things that heís doing; itís not about saving the city Ė well, it is about saving the city Ė but itís also about just reassuring and putting a hand on everyone that may or may not need it.


~ The Lady Miz Diva

April 27th, 2014



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