INTERVIEW: Tobey Maguire Talks Spider-Man 2!

Tobey Maguire is ticked about all the rumors about his back and how it almost prevented him from doing Spider-Man 2, being replaced by Jake Gyllenhaal and gosh darnit he wants to set the record straight. “My back is good thank you and the punishment wasn’t so bad. Peter took more punishment than I did. Going into the movie I was definitely concerned because I saw the stunts I was going to have to do and the degree of difficulty looked much greater than the first film and I was concerned about that. In actuality the stunts were easier for me and my back was fine the whole way through. I think the harnesses and the wire rigs were better somehow [in ‘Spider-Man 2’]. I don’t know what made them better. I was more comfortable in them doing the certain stunts and the aerial stuff was easier.”

And getting into shape to portray a buff superhero is no small task, “I go on a diet where I’m on my diet six days a week and I give myself a free day on the seventh day. The same goes with my workouts. My workouts vary pretty greatly and I spend anywhere between two and four hours in the gym per day, six days a week. A combination of strength training and cardiovascular stuff as well as stretching stuff and whatever else I feel like doing.”

So what is the truth regarding his back? “My back coming out of ‘Seabiscuit’ was not great not because of ‘Seabiscuit’, the reports of this happening on ‘Seabiscuit’ were absolutely false. It’s a condition I’ve had for several years through ‘Spider-Man’ all the way until right now. It’s a condition that goes up and down sometimes it irritates me more than other times. Coming out of ‘Seabiscuit’ it was really bugging me more than it ever had. Some of the workouts I was doing were not very good. I was compressing my back a lot doing a lot of squats and stuff like that as well as pounding exercises like running or basketball. It’s all those little things adding up and putting pressure on it as well as riding a horse, probably not the best thing, but it did not injure my back. And I was working 14 hours a day, not getting a great amount of sleep not being able to stretch or do certain core exercises to protect my back so my back was in the worst it had been in a few years. I saw the animatics and the storyboards of the different stunts and it was three times I thought it was on the first movie. I was going ‘Wow this is a lot of stuff’ and the responsible thing to do was to disclose my back condition to the insurance company because this is an big budget film and it would be irresponsible not to disclose that and something happened to me in the middle of the movie and screw the studio over and the insurance company would be pissed and maybe screw up my career. So I disclosed

my condition.”

A condition that is painful but he doesn’t know much about it. “I don’t know exactly what it is, it’s like discomfort in my lower back, it’s been fine since I did the ‘Spider-Man’ movie. So I went to doctors and made sure people understood what was going on and I was also concerned I said ‘Look, I don’t know how well I would be able to do these stunts.’ If at that time in terms of someone’s reaction to it they went and did things I’m not fully aware of, maybe I hear rumors of it or whatever, but if people do things that’s fine and that’s their business and I understand and I take no offense to that because you’re talking about a however 100 million dollar investment in this movie that they have a start date. They have a crew hired and they are all moving like a tidal wave to do this movie and we’re talking about this six weeks prior to that start date. We were in the 11th hour at that point. I said I was concerned, and they were concerned for me and didn’t want to screw up their movie. So I worked with the stunt guys for 2 or 3 days doing stunts and testing my back out. I was fine and it was fine and my back had gotten a lot better over that two week period I sat being concerned about it and doing nothing not working out. My back had gotten better than it had in three years and now there was all this hoopla, the press was presuming all these things without really any solid information and I went ‘Boy I’m going to have to answer questions like these for years.’ But Sam never came up to me and said ‘You’re not going to be playing Spider-Man.’ That never happened.”

But if Spidey wears a costume with a mask, why not have a stunt person do the stunts? “Most of the time, when he’s in the mask, you could use a stunt man but in this movie the mask comes off more. There are certain things I have to do and want to do because you’re bringing life into a character. I like to point stuff in there so you could feel me in there. It’s an active and physical movie it is what it is. I’m feeling okay now.”

Tobey says he had some help with Spidey’s poses. “Chris Daniels, one of our stunt guys, is one of the guys who was appointed to study all the poses of Spider-Man, I’m also familiar with Spider-Man’s poses and movements and what not. I’m free to do whatever I want and Sam will say ‘No, not quite or try this’ or ‘try something different.’ If I’m at a loss I’ll say ‘Hey Chris, what do you think of this’ or ‘give me an idea.’ It’s a collaborative effort.”

He adds that director Sam Raimi loves to beat up Peter Parker. “Sam loves Peter Parker and he loves to torture Peter Parker. I loved watching the agony Peter is going through, it’s like one thing after the other. He’s always one step in the wrong direction. I enjoy that personally.”

In the sequel, Spidey also faces a villain with a few more arms. “Some of it was more physically difficult and damaging to me with Green Goblin because the big fight scene we had were straight punches and kicks and I took a lot of that myself. The mechanical arms present a challenge and you have a bunch of puppeteers around Alfred and there are a bunch of dudes around working the arms and that can be strange. Some of it’s CGI and it is all imagination. But I love Doc Octopus as a villain, just cinematically he’s just a better villain. Willem Dafoe did a great job but Doc Ock is way cooler than Green Goblin.”

One thing Tobey Maguire is not worried about is being pigeonholed as Spider-Man, “I know people who think of me as Spider-Man and most of the people who’ve seen me in movies a big part of those people have only seen me in Spider-Man but I’m just not worried about it. I never think of it.”

Spider-Man 2 hits theaters on Wednesday, June 30th.

Source: Chuck the Movieguy