By John McCrank, Reuters
NEW YORK–Every young boy dreams of growing up to be a superhero. For Andrew Garfield, that dream becomes a reality in the new movie, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” one of this summer season’s most-anticipated blockbusters. And while swinging through the streets of New York as a teenage crime fighter was an adrenaline rush, donning Spidey’s famous blue-and-red suit has been nerve-racking for the film’s 26-year-old star. “I am terrified to take on this role because it means so much to me, so I know how much it means to other people,” Garfield told reporters on Saturday at a press conference promoting the film. “The Amazing Spider-Man,” which begins to weave its sticky web in North American theaters on July 3, reboots the modern movie franchise that began with 2002’s “Spider-Man” starring Tobey Maguire as the comic book crime fighter.
Over three films, the franchise amassed around US$2.5 billion in ticket sales, and for the fourth movie, its makers decided to take a fresh look at the series, bring in a new director and hire Garfield to replace Maguire, 36. “Amazing Spider-Man” is big on action. But it also delves into the origins of teenager Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, and tells of the superhero that 17-year-old Parker eventually becomes, director Mark Webb told reporters. Known for the romantic comedy “500 Days of Summer,” Webb said he wanted to tell Parker’s origin story because the character is a regular kid with normal problems that everyone can relate to, but is able to stand up bullies who taunt him. Webb also wanted to explore Parker’s background as a child who is abandoned by his parents and raised by his aunt and uncle to open up other Spider-Man stories for future movies “Spider-Man is a perennial character,” Webb said. “It’s not like Harry Potter who has a closed canon. There is a 50-year canon of Spider-Man comics.” The director said he cast “The Social Network” star Garfield in the lead role because of his “emotional gravitas,” “whimsy,” and “incredible physical stamina … all embodied in somebody who would convincingly act like a teenager.” “Amazing Spider-Man” is the first major action role for Garfield, who was born in Los Angeles and raised in England, but he has shown a wide range of acting skills already. He recently wrapped his Tony-nominated role as Biff Loman in a Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s classic play “Death of a Salesman.”