Comic-Con '11: The Team Behind 'The Amazing Spider-Man' On Why The Reboot Was Necessary

by Oliver Lyttelton
July 22, 2011 12:56 PM
9 Comments
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Judging by the reaction to the first teaser trailer for "The Amazing Spider-Man," Sony has a fair amount of work to do in the next year before they can convince fans that the film is more than a cash-grab designed to keep the franchise alive: the clip's reworking of the origin tale and an emo-leaning that goes even further than the much-derided "Spider-Man 3," were generally poorly received in the blogosphere earlier in the week.

The next stage of the push, of course, started today with a press conference tied to the San Diego Comic-Con, with most of the big names involved, including the new Spidey, "The Social Network" star Andrew Garfield; his lady-love, "Easy A" breakout Emma Stone, who plays Gwen Stacy in the new film; director Marc Webb; and producers Avi Arad and Matthew Tolmach all taking questions, the most important of which, unsurprisingly, focused on why exactly the character needed another take only a decade after Sam Raimi brought him to the big screen for the first time.


And the answer seems to be because there's plenty of material from the comics that the Raimi/Tobey Maguire trilogy never got to cover. Arad claims that the film is, in fact, very different: "We knew we needed to tell a story that wasn't told before and find a director that would have a story… that would put their own vision into the script. Then we have probably the greatest love story in Marvel, which is Gwen Stacy. Then we have an amazing villain. The only thing that stayed the same that made us go and make the movie was the spirit of Peter Parker. We loved what it was and were able to convince Marvel to take a stab at it and we are very proud of what we have."

Webb concurs, while still acknowledging the long shadow cast by the Raimi pictures. "There's just so much fantastic material that comes from the comics. I was a little skeptical at first. You feel the presence of those other movies to a certain point. But it kept me up at night. How can I walk away from this? What an opportunity." So much so, in fact, that the "(500) Days Of Summer" helmer wrote to studio head Amy Pascal to convince her that he was the right person for the job, which seems to have been the thing that sealed it for him. Matthew Tolmach explains, "Mark wrote an email to Amy Pascal, just an emotional outpouring of who he thought Peter Parker was and it was amazing. That's the great thing about Spider-Man is we all bring ourselves to it."

Garfield, too, couldn't ignore the influence of the three earlier films, but at least had the blessing of the man who'd previously inhabited the lycra: "I love Tobey Maguire's interpretation of the character. When I watched that first Spidey film, I lost my mind. I watched it twice when I first saw it. He sent a very, very nice email once it was announced basically giving me his blessing. It meant the world to me because I respect him so much as an actor."

As for Stone, an actress with the world seemingly at her feet at the moment, there was one clear thing that drew her to the franchise: her leading man. "For me, [the selling point] was Andrew, because my character experiences everything with Peter, and it's her first love. He teaches her so much and they teach each other so much. Once I met with him, it just made sense." Indeed, she couldn't quite help herself once she saw him in the role: "I walked in and he was in the full Spider-Man suit and I stood next to him for the camera test and just started touching him. [Laughs] It was pretty incredible to see him in costume for the first time."

We're not hating on the project yet: Raimi's films were far from perfect (only the second installment really hits the nail on the head), and there are plenty of new places that the character could go, places that the trailer hinted at. And it's hard to argue with the cast that Webb has assembled, which aside from Garfield and Stone includes Rhys Ifans, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott and Annie Parisse, which is some real acting talent that will hopefully make the human element of the story sing. The director describes the "tenderness and honesty" of the romantic scenes that he's filmed, and we hope we'll see that in the finished product when the movie hits almost a year from now, on July 3rd, 2012. In the meantime, more footage and talk is about to be unveiled at Sony's Hall H panel, so expect more on "The Amazing Spider-Man" from us when that wraps up.

-- Reporting by Jeff Otto

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9 Comments

  • TimParker | July 24, 2011 9:08 AMReply

    @PM
    I agree 100% with your comment. And honestly even if this story had all the same elements as Raimi's first Spiderman movie--Green Goblin, etc.--I would still want to see it because it's a different take. I will say I am glad it's not the exact same story, but still.
    Can't wait to see how The Lizard looks!

  • Sara | July 23, 2011 11:40 AMReply

    It's so unnecessary, and i am kind tired of Spider Man. But I will probably watch.

  • tristan eldritch | July 23, 2011 10:15 AMReply

    All this moaning about retelling the origin story is bullshit. Virtually any superhero movie is basically a story you've seen a hundred times before. Its all in the telling, and in the tale itself.

  • shark | July 23, 2011 7:51 AMReply

    I think the reboots are necessary because Maguire and Dunst were terrible. And Garfield and Stone are terrific.Simple as that.

  • Reynard | July 23, 2011 6:49 AMReply

    Come on. Better reporting please! The real reason they're doing a reboot is because the rights will revert back to Marvel if they don't keep the character in active development. Same with X-Men and Superman (to the original creators).

  • PM | July 23, 2011 4:36 AMReply

    All this bitchin' and whinin' about this reboot. ARGH. I haven't commented once on this reboot, but now I have to (against the fact I thought I convinced myself I don't care - I suck at that, I guess).

    I want to see this movie. I will go see it. I NEVER liked the Raimi movies. The scripts sucked (again, the second was the best of the three), the CGI sucked, the acting sucked, the tone was inconsistent, etc etc.

    Webb (I think they chose him partially because of his name) brought some real gravitas to 500 Days of Summer, and I think he can bring it to Spider-Man. Like it's already been said, superhero stories are the same story told different ways. It's modern day myth. Greek Mythology was told different ways all the time in their heyday - I mean, even the Romans stole their stories and "rebooted" them for themselves!

    So in the end, after my rambling, what am I saying? Yes, it's a fight to keep the rights for the STUDIOS, but let the artists work and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

  • TimParker | July 23, 2011 2:17 AMReply

    I think I'm pretty much alone on this but I've never been a huge fan of the Sam Raimi Spidermans. Interesting, I guess, but kinda cheesy/overdramatic, even the beloved Spiderman 2 had moments of being too standard, going through the motions. So even if it wasn't Marc Webb who did an awesome job with (500) Days of Summer, I would still be excited to see a new take on the origin story. And how can you say it's the same movie just shot differently? Did Gwen Stacey figure into the movies at all in the same way as this one will? No. And there are 2 characters never filmed before--Proto-Goblin and The Lizard. So it's obviously got some new material...

  • Glass | July 23, 2011 1:20 AMReply

    They could talk till they're blue in the face about how there's so many other stories to tell that how could you NOT reboot it. IT'S THE SAME STORY FROM 9 YEARS AGO, just shifted around and shot differently.

    The lengths they're going to convince themselves this is important stuff and there's a little Peter Parker in all of us is hilarious. This movie is the defining example of the overload of superfluous franchise movies.

    I know they need to convince themselves otherwise in order to keep working on it, but their interviews are pure empty blab, talking to themselves.

  • Jeff Otto | July 23, 2011 1:03 AMReply

    @tristan eldritch Truth

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