In just a few short weeks, blockbuster The Amazing Spider-Man will be available on Rogers on Demand and Rogers Anyplace TV. In anticipation of the November 9 release date, check out our interview with the movie’s star, Andrew Garfield, who plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
Does the fervor that people have for this character surprise you?
No. I guess I understand it. There’s a reason why it’s so popular and there’s a reason why it’s so universally relatable and accessible. It’s so accessible to everyone, which is wonderful. It’s unifying. I feel tremendously responsible. I want to do it justice and I want to do them justice and be open to fans, actually. I want to take it if they say, “I didn’t like this.” I want to be able to hear it. I want to be able to hear them liking it, too. The symbol creates a real community of love and I’d love to enhance that in any way I can and keep that alive.
Was it difficult shaking off the character once production wrapped?
Of course. It was such an immersive process with this movie. Every day, I lived and breathed and ate and drank it. I slept and dreamt about it every night, as well. It was intense for me to take on.
Did you have doubts or insecurities about taking on such an iconic character in such a big, blockbuster film?
Every day I felt that. It’s true. I am just an actor and I’m just a guy that happened to be given this opportunity. I definitely worked hard to do everything I could but there was so much self-doubt. But that’s one of the amazing things about this character. Peter Parker has so much self-doubt and is so human and fallible and makes mistakes and makes the wrong decisions and he gets himself in trouble and beats himself up and then he drags himself back up again. I felt like that was just another way to access this guy and play it truthfully. But yeah, every day there was doubt. Then, once a month, I felt a minute of confidence.
What was the first day on set like?
It was a very simple scene but I made it very complicated, of course, as I’m wont to do. It was a real opportunity to explore the physicality but I was so nervous about trying to explore and I was worried about it being too extreme. There was no dialogue. It was a very simple scene where I land somewhere hard and I’m just discovering what my powers do, and my pain threshold, and the way my limbs move. I wanted the way I pull myself up to be like a spider stretching. I was like, I wonder how they’re going to react to this. I wonder if this is going to look stupid. They loved it. It was very, very reassuring. Then I felt like I was good to go. It was a simple scene but I made it so intense because I was like, I need to get this right. Every moment has to be right. The lightest days were when Emma was on set. We discovered very quickly that that’s the effect Gwen has on Peter. She lightens him up. It was the exact same thing. The scenes with Gwen were the breath with playfulness.
Could you actually see or hear anything when you wore the costume and mask?
Not much. But I was fine. It was okay. I survived it. But there was one day where I water-boarded myself. It wasn’t good. There was a scene where I’m in water and I was getting into it because I’m an actor – I get into things like an idiot – and I dipped my face in a pool of water and I literally started suffocating. I asphyxiated myself. It takes a long time to get out of the suit so I was suffocating for a minute. But outside of that it was fine.
Did you have a favorite scene to shoot from the film?
If there’s one scene I really enjoyed it was the scene where Spider-Man is starting to enjoy his power and abuse his power and he sneaks up on a guy who’s a carjacker and he’s stealing cars and messes with him. That was the first night I feel like we discovered what the tone of this was. We had found that pocket of wit and the freedom Peter Parker feels when he’s wearing a mask and that whole night was improvised. It was very loose and free and I felt like I could do no wrong. That was so liberating to be able to feel like that on a movie set, especially a movie like this. You can play and make mistakes and find things.
Was it a challenge doing the American accent?
I work with a great dialect coach, Elizabeth Himelstein. We did a little trip to Queens together and we sat with some teenagers. They didn’t know what we were doing. They just volunteered. We talked to some high school kids and recorded their voices and we found specific things we liked that we wanted to infuse into the character and into the voice and into the accent. Like any other part of playing a character, it’s just another fun thing to use and explore. But yeah, it was hard. It was tough.