COMIC-CON 2011: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Panel Highlights

Andrew GarfieldAt the beginning of “The Amazing Spider-Man” panel at Comic-Con on Friday, the moderator was interrupted by an insistent audience member dressed head-to-toe in an ill-fitting Spider-Man costume.

“Sorry, mind if I… HEY EVERYBODY!” shouted the stammering, nervous Spidey enthusiast.

“We’re going to take questions at the end,” intoned the moderator.

“Can I say one thing? I think that this might be the most incredible day of my life. I’ve always wanted to be in Comic-Con, in Hall H, as Spider-Man, with all you guys. It’s always been a dream of mine.”

And with that the guy ripped off the mask, revealing that he was in fact Andrew Garfield, star of the upcoming movie. “So thanks for having me.” The crowd went crazy.

Garfield, who seemed as much fan as movie star, gushed to the audience, “This is the coolest moment of my life.”

The big question at “The Amazing Spider-Man” panel Friday was how would this new film, which is slated to open July 3, be different from the hugely successful Sam Raimi franchise. Fans got some answers.

One of the biggest differences, hinted at when an updated version of the costume was unveiled earlier this year, is that this iteration of Spidey is going to go be skinny. While in the Raimi movies, star Tobey Maguire famously bulked up for the role, in this flick, the superhero was envisioned to match the lanky physique of its lead, Andrew Garfield. Director Marc Webb divulged that much of the new and, in some quarters, controversial, costume emerged with a trimmer superhero in mind. Webb was most likely influenced by “The Ultimate Spider-Man” comic book series, which featured a lithe and limber web-shooting Spidey.

“How often do you see a skinny guy beat up strong guys?” mused Garfield on stage.

The panel showed a pair of extended clips of the movie. In a scene in the first clip, Peter Parker stuttered his way through a conversation with Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone, who is in everything these days). The scene is funny and affecting; it’s clear that Stone and Garfield have chemistry. Webb noted that when he was watching the scene unfold behind the camera, he “knew something was working.”

Prior to Spider-Man, Webb made his name directing music videos, along with the 2009 indie smash hit “500 Days of Summer.” He revealed that one of his directorial tricks was to blare selected songs on set during non-dialogue scenes to get the actors in the right frame of mind. Paul McCartney’s “Dance Tonight” is reportedly a great song to evoke swinging from one building to the next.

Another difference, which got cheers from hardcore fans, is that in this movie Peter Parker constructs the web-shooters, in keeping with the comic books. In Raimi’s version, Spidey’s famous fibrous emissions fired organically from his wrists.

In the second clip, audience members were treated to a first look at Spider-Man’s scaly foe, the Lizard. In the comic and film, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) is a one-armed herpetologist (aka reptile expert) whose drive to find a way to regrow his limb causes him to morph into a massive crocodile-like creature. The clip showed the Lizard terrifying a pair of teenage girls after emerging from the sewer into a public bathroom.

During the question and answers, Garfield was peppered with the most questions. He revealed that during the four months between the time that he was announced as the new Spider-Man and the start of production, he spent the time enduring a grueling training regime and “freaking out.”

“It was a pretty terrifying four months… The weight I didn’t really understand until I stepped into the suit. It’s scary. I felt the responsibility.”

The day of the announcement, however, Garfield received a surprise phone call from the guy who previously inhabited the suit.

Tobey Maguire “kind of gave me his blessing, which made me feel OK about jumping into it… He’s the best. I’m Team Tobey.”

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July 2011

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