Yesterday, I had the good fortune of attending an event at the Sony Pictures lot, where I got an early sneak peek at this trailer. I was incredibly impressed, to say the least, with the use of 3D ("planes" will be broken, to an extent), the overall scope, and this new Spidey's snarky sense of humor. I am also very intrigued to see this new Peter Parker focused on finding out what happens to his parents, which is a major driving force in the story.
After watching the first two trailers again, I have to say this new trailer is the best yet. It honestly make the first two almost feel like teasers in comparison. If you haven't seen it yet, CLICK HERE to watch this fantastic trailer for yourself.
After checking out the trailer, director Marc Webb arrived to take our questions. Take a look at the full Q&A discussion below.
The Amazing Spider-Man Director Marc Webb
There were some POV shots in the first trailer that seemed to get a negative response. We see some point-of-view stuff in here. How much of that is in the film? It does look a lot better.
Marc Webb: We were still in production when we made that trailer, so that was a very early rendering of some of the CG stuff. Part of the fun of this, was to create the movie thinking about subjectivity, meaning getting to feel what Spider-Man feels. I thought 3D was a really interesting way to exploit that. We spent a lot of time refining and just making that shit better. There is that in the movie, but it's a much more refined version than what you had seen before. It's interspersed throughout the film. It's not like the whole third act is POV... although that would be interesting, but I'm not that bold.
Can you talk a bit about bringing The Lizard to life, and, technically, how you accomplished that? Was it all in motion-capture?
Marc Webb: There was a lot that goes into it. When we shot those sequences, there were a combination of things. There was a guy named Big John, literally this big guy named John, who did a lot of the interactive stuff, because when you're trying to interact with Andrew (Garfield), you need someone grabbing him to do those things. We would replace him with a computer-generated Lizard, but the performance capture, was done with Rhys (Ifans). We shot Rhys in a similar environment, and got his facial... actually, we're still working on it now. We're trying to incorporate his performance into The Lizard, and that takes and enormous amount of time. It's tricky. You know, in the comics, there are different incarnations of The Lizard. There's the one with the snout, but I was more interested in finding something that could relate human emotions, because I wanted to keep Rhys's performance in that creature. Pixar does it extremely well, creating emotional qualities within characters that are computer generated. Rhys' performance is like getting that nuance and getting the eyebrow ticks and looks and creating lips that make sound. It's a very detailed and, frankly, tedious process, but I really wanted him to have emotion, to have a face, to have feeling. That's the way I chose to do that. Then there's the physical components of it. I wanted to make him very powerful, and stronger than Spider-Man, so that was really important.
We see a lot of the spectacle on screen. How did you balance your approach to delivering that thrill ride that audiences are going to want, with the fact that Spider-Man is a more down-to-earth and grounded superhero character?
Marc Webb: I was always a Spider-Man fan, but I was a bigger Peter Parker fan than I was a Spider-Man fan. When you see the movie, I don't think anyone will be worried about the emotional part of it. There is an incredibly innocent and tender quality to Peter Parker. He's not a billionaire, he's not an alien, he's a kid. He doesn't have money, and he has problems with the people who raise him, and he has problems talking to girls, and that's there all throughout the movie. I think you guys have all seen the hallway stuff, and that's a texture, to me, that felt really intuitive. It's just something I love in movies, particularly with that romantic dimension. It's something I'm very familiar with. The interpersonal relationships that Peter Parker has, are so simple, and so domestic, that it's a very fun dichotomy to play that massive spectacle alongside those very small moments. In a very real way, there's a small, little, intimate indie movie at the heart of Spider-Man. That was my access point. The trailer is, you know, you want that spectacle and you want that energy, because I think there's an expectation surrounding that. As we get closer to the release, I'm sure there will be materials that demonstrate the more intimate parts of Spider-Man, which, to me, is where the real heart is.
Some of the best parts of the Sam Raimi movie is when he's discovering his powers for the first time. Do you get to have fun with that again?
Marc Webb: There's elements of that. Listen, I wanted to do things differently. We've seen the origin of Spider-Man, but we haven't seen the origin of Peter Parker. There are certain, iconic elements of Spider-Man that I felt obligated to honor, but there are some exploratory phases. I'm trying to build something with a different tone and a different attitude, and do things in a more practical way, especially in the beginning. We spent a lot of time designing and engineering sequences that existed within the camera, to create that sensation and feeling of joy and fun.
Can you talk about your approach to the humor here? It seems that Peter becomes this more animated version of himself, this guy that he maybe always wanted to be, when he's wearing the suit.
Marc Webb: Sure. Humor is a tricky thing, because it's very subjective. Everything in this movie, the first domino is Peter Parker getting left behind by his parents. I thought to myself, 'What does that do to somebody? How does that change your world?' To me, it creates a level of distrust. It's a brutal thing to have happened to you and, to me, that's where he gets that outsider status. Then, there's a sarcasm from that, where that attitude comes out. To me, it generates from this chip he has on his shoulder. He's a little bit mean, a little bit snarky, and that's an attitude we can all understand and relate to. I think it comes from a real, genuine place. The humor comes from a real, human, emotional place. It's not just slapped on.
Can you talk about some of the elements in terms of the casting? To me, Denis Leary will always be the guy in the leather jacket, chain smoking, but it's interesting to see him in this.
Marc Webb: He plays the authority figure he has always made fun of, for his entire career.
Can you talk about casting him, and also Sally Field, as a younger, hipper Aunt May?
Marc Webb: When you cast someone like Sally, she comes with a certain level of awareness and genuine affection, which, for Aunt May, is an incredibly important thing to have. We all love Aunt May. I wanted to create a tension between May and Peter. Again, what's the reality of this situation? What would happen, if you were someone who is in charge of taking care of a kid, who has had a lot of tragedy in his life, and he goes out late at night and comes back all fucked up, and he's got bruises on his face. You're concerned. What happens in that moment? You want there to be love there, and that's what someone like Sally Field gives you. Denis Leary, we all trust Denis Leary. He's got this attitude, and you love him. In this movie, he puts pressure on Peter Parker. He's on Spider-Man's case, but you understand him. I've said this before, that good drama comes from competing ideas of what is good. People have different ideas of what that is, and when you put that together, they collide. There's an honest difference of opinion, and there's something really interesting that happens there. I wanted to explore that as much as possible.
There's one shot with Spider-Man's leg coming out of the screen, that comes closer than anything I've ever seen in this recent crop of 3D. How did you do that?
Marc Webb: It's true. It's a matter of convergence. I designed the movie as a 3D movie. James Cameron, who was incredibly generous with me early on, likes to play things as depth. Like this is a window, and everything you see behind there, that's what's fun about it. The jungles of Avatar are a great example of that. I like pushing the 3D a little bit further, so that it will come out at you. I just remember, as a kid, watching Creature from the Black Lagoon and House of Wax. There was something fun about that, seeing kids reach out. There are moments like that I wanted to exploit. That was a shot that has many, many visual layers to it. We generated around a figure and we converged, meaning we put the screen level behind the character, so that his legs would come out. We made him a little more in focus, so you could feel a tangible sense of him, and reduced the motion blur, so it felt more tactile. When a subject violates the edge of the screen, it corrupts the illusion. You start to notice that it's not really real. We designed it so it would exist within the barriers of the screen, so that helps with that notion it can come out a little bit more.
In the comics, Uncle Ben's death is really the catalyst for Peter becoming Spider-Man. From the trailer, it seems that him finding the truth about his parents is the catalyst.
Marc Webb: That's the first domino in the story, the parents. He goes out looking for his father, and he finds himself, that's my tagline. But, Uncle Ben's death... you'll have to see the movie... but, there are three elements that Marvel was very protective of, and I think are important parts of Spider-Man's origin story. Uncle Ben's death transforming him and having a certain impact, is an incredibly important part of the mythology, and I would never subvert that. That's all I'll say about that.
Can you just talk about having Martin Sheen in the role?
Marc Webb: It was awesome. It was a dream. Between takes, he would tell stories about Terrence Malick, about Apocalypse Now, Federico Fellini, it was spectacular. That was one of the really joyful parts of this movie, getting to work with Martin Sheen and Sally Field and Denis Leary. It was so cool. They're such pros, but there's something else that's important, in terms of the dynamic that I wanted to explore, vis-a-vis Peter's relationship with his absent parents. Ben and May are streetwise, blue-collar people, but they're not scientists. Peter has this incredible scientific ability, which creates a little bit of a gap between him and Ben and May. I thought that was a really interesting thing to explore. Martin was able to embody this blue-collar guy, and there was this fissure between the two of them. Even though there is a great love for him, Peter knew he wasn't Richard Parker. That gap, that crack, that missing piece was a really fun part to start off with.
Did you feel any pressure to deliver one of those iconic Spider-Man kisses?
Marc Webb: It's hard to compete with the first Spider-Man, it really is. That wasn't my priority. I wanted to make a movie that was about the chemistry, and that's the thing you rely on. I didn't want to use that language, I wanted to use a language of my own.
Has a final cut been locked, and if so, what is the run time?
Marc Webb: Yeah, it's right around two hours. There was something on one website that said it was an hour and 30 minutes, or something like that... no. It's interesting because you hear people talk about information that gets out. You go, 'Oh yeah, I'm sure there's some truth to it.' But, sometimes you just go, 'What are you talking about?' That's one of those things. I just don't know where that came from. The cut is pretty much locked, we're just doing some visual things.
How in touch are you with the scripting that is going on with The Amazing Spider-Man 2?
Marc Webb: I'm so deep and immersed in this one, that I haven't really touched anything. A lot of that just has to do with schedules, but I'm literally working 18 hours a day, just trying to finish the movie. Sorry, I can't give you any interesting scoop.