SDCC: The Amazing Spider-Man Press Conference

Q: Andrew, how long did you have to wait until you first got word that you got the part?

Andrew Garfield: The first question, how long did I know before it was announced? Thirty minutes. I think it was about 30 minutes, right?

Avi Arad: Yeah.

Garfield: Yeah, these guys organized a pretty terrifying ruse. I was in Cancun at a Sony press junket for "The Social Network'" and I was waiting to hear about whether or not I'd be able to fulfill a childhood dream, which wasn't annoying at all, to be waiting for that knowledge. I was surrounded by people who knew probably, and I was reading every single eyebrow twitch or lip curl that would give away whether or not I got the role. Everyone was being incredibly poker faced, and at the end of a press day, talking about "The Social Network," Amy Pascal's assistant came and got me from the room that I was in and he said, stone faced, "Amy wants to have a quick word with you up in her suite." I said, "Oh, okay. Fine. She's going to let me down easy and that's really sweet of her. She's going to tell me personally that I didn't get the role. That's incredibly lovely." So, I went up and I walked into her room and there was a little Flip video camera set up on record on the door as I came in, but the person that answered the door was Marc Webb. And at that point I was like, "Well, this is going to be the most defining experience of my life, a turning point." There was champagne and there was sweetness and there was lots of love in that room. I'll never forget it, and they really gave me a special thing to tell my grandkids. Then we went down the back of the hotel we were at, through the kitchen. I was very confused because I was being treated like Elvis, but I looked like a skinny, little spider monkey and I was baffled. I looked like a member of the staff.

Q: There have been many different incarnations of Spider-Man in the comics. What was your favorite and who's your favorite Spider-Man villain?

Garfield: Yeah. I love the majority of the incarnations – actually, all the incarnations. 'Torment' is one of my favorites, and 'The Fallen' series was one of my favorites. I love 'The Ultimate' series. I read 'The Ultimate' series doing research for the film. That was a really great source for how I wanted Spidey's body to look. I love the artwork in that and how lithe and skinny he was because I'm skinny. I don't know if you can see it, but I am skinny. I love the idea of a skinny teenage kid beating the crap out of huge guys. That's always been a dream of mine that I wanted to personally fulfill, and what better way to do it and give other skinny kids in the audience a sense of achievement as well.

Q: And who's you favorite villain?

Garfield: It's impossible to say a favorite.

Q: Marc, did the release of the trailer change at all because of Comic-Con?

Marc Webb: We released it a little bit earlier than we probably would have, but we wanted people to have a quality version of it online rather than a taped version from the back of the theater, but other than that, no. We're just trying to stick to our plans.

Q: Marc, did you have as much fun with the romance of Peter and Gwen as you did with the film "500 Days of Summer"?

Webb: Yeah, absolutely. Romance – that's one of the things that I think has made Spider-Man really unique in terms of the comics: there is a real tender, romantic quality to it. Certainly that's something that's always fascinated me about the cinema, good romance. That was something that was really fun to explore with it. Andrew and Emma had done such great work onscreen. We'd just finished shooting and I'm having so much fun putting together the scenes with Andrew and Emma. There's such a tenderness and honesty in that, and that's one of the reasons that I wanted to make the film, to explore that very important part of the "Spider-Man" mythology. So, yes, expect great things from them.

Garfield: Maybe don't expect huge things.

Emma Stone: Come on.

Q: Can you talk about the first time that you saw Andrew in the costume?

Garfield: What did we do? That was camera testing, right?

Stone: Yeah. I walked in and he was in the full Spider-Man suit.

Garfield: Scratching my ass.

Stone: Scratching his ass, which was great, just to break that up. But I went in and I needed to stand next to him in the camera test and I think that I really inappropriately started touching you. He was like, "Stop touching me." I said, "You have to realize that everyone is in the room with Spider-Man. This isn't just about you. Everyone is around Spider-Man right now." It had nothing to do with you at all. So, it was pretty incredible to see him in costume for the first time because you couldn't see his face. You just saw Spider-Man.

Garfield: She was also wearing a Spider-Man costume.

Stone: Isn't that weird? Isn't that funny? It's such a small world.

Garfield: She wasn't really doing that. Emma's natural hair color is blonde, but I'd never seen her as a blonde and that was interesting, I guess. It suits you.

Q: Emma, you're the love interest here, but is there a superhero heroine franchise you'd like to take on for yourself?

Stone: Oh, boy. I don't know if I could be a superhero, to be honest with you. I'd love to say yes, that there are 12 that I can name, but I don't know if I'm your girl if you're looking for a superhero.

Q: What made you know that this was something worth doing, taking another, different crack at the franchise in the face of the fact that people love the first one so much?

Arad: Most of you are aware we started on our way to do another movie. The director and the cast and us realized that there wasn't enough newness, new story to tell. As we started discussing this movie and what we wanted to make, we knew that we wanted to find a story that had not been told before and we  needed to find a director who would have his own style, and through his style the movie will be different, look different, feel different – a director’s who’s going to put their own vision on the screen. So, we had a better origin, in some ways, something people care about, not knowing who their parents are, the loss of parents. Then we have probably the greatest love story in Marvel, which is Gwen Stacy. The relationship between Gwen and her father, and we're not supposed to talk about Rhys and the villain. The only thing that stayed the same that made us go and make the movie is the spirit of Peter Parker, of what he's about, but how he'd behave in this day and age, how would a kid like him in high school react to this. So, you'll see, and again, I'll let Marc talk about his vision for Peter Parker, but we just loved what it was. We were able to convince Marc to take a shot at it which is scary stuff, and we're very proud of what we have.

Webb: I think that "Spider-Man" is a part of our culture. He's a perennial characters. He's something that's constantly reexamined and there are so many versions of him in the comics that it was something that I thought that we could do cinematically. He belongs on the big screen. There's just so much fantastic material that comes from the comics, whether it's Gwen Stacy and the Lizard and Dr. Connors' relationship with her clients. She's both a mentor and an adversary. I think that was a really beautiful and interesting and exciting and exhilarating story. I remember that I was thinking about it and I was a little skeptical at first because you feel the presence of those other movies in a way, but it just kept being to me like this dream. We all feel this incredible sense of responsibility to, like, "How can I walk away from this? What an opportunity? What better cinematic character is there than Spider-Man?" It's been fascinating and exhilarating to do. It's been so much total joy.

Stone: I'm sorry. I'm going to embarrass you here. For me it was Andrew. I think Marc is amazing and I think the producers are amazing and Sony is amazing and the script was so interesting. It's, as you've heard, a different story than you've seen before, but it was Andrew because my character experiences everything with Peter and it's her first love. They experience so much together and he teaches her so much and they teach each other so much, and with him it made sense. Once I met with him and I read with him it just made sense. Sorry, buddy.

Garfield: That's nice of you to say.

Matt Tolmach: The only thing that I would add is that we all love Spider-Man, and as Avi said before, the story has been told and retold many times. I was at the studio actually as an executive when we decided to make this movie and I think we always wanted to make another Spider-Man movie. Marc talked about his reluctance at first, and it was actually something incredibly inspired and challenging and exciting about what he calls his skepticism because I think he immediately expressed a great love of the character, but was humbled by what had come by before and was humbled by the power of the comics. I remember that he wrote an email, and I hope that I don't embarrass him, to my boss, Amy, which she promptly sent me. It was just one of those brain dumps, this emotional outpouring of who he felt Peter Parker was. And it was fantastic and it was different and it was completely respectful to the character and he had a great love for the character, but it was version that came from his heart and from his experience. I think that's what's so powerful about Spider-Man, that we all bring ourselves to it. But as soon as we read that we sort of felt, like, "My, God. This is something really special and here's a different way to go." So, it was kind of off to the races.

Q: The trailer that we saw will that be the only thing that we see before the movie and the Spidey point of view in the trailer, will that be in the movie, as well? And the stuff from the early days of shooting that ended up online, did that mean you cracked down on the areas of shooting or how did it effect what you guys were doing?

Webb: The last part first, we tried to shoot a lot of stuff on location which exposes you to that sort of thing and that's just the nature of the beast. And the first part?

Q: The trailer and the Spider-Man point of view…

Webb: Here's the thing, because we were shooting this in 3D I wanted to conceive of certain things very specifically for 3D. There's an experiential component to 3D that I think is really, really fantastic. We're experimenting with generating that point of view so that you feel what Peter Parker feels. You feel what Spider-Man feels when he's jumping over the buildings and over the streets and that sort of thing, but we made a very, and Andrew had to pay the price for this, conscious effort to ground the stunts. We had an incredible stunt team put together. We built this whole rig, hundreds of feet long under Riverside Drive in Harlem and we swung a man through traffic, down the street and then Andy Armstrong also built a car rig with a series of wires that was incredibly complicated and really a beautiful contraption to help do those FX practically. I felt that was something really exciting and exhilarating, not to mention an incredible level of acrobatics.

Q: Have you seen the Broadway musical of "Spider-Man" and if you have what you thought of it?

Garfield: I haven't seen it. I want to see it.

Webb: I haven't seen it.

Q: Is there any talk of doing a crossover with Spider-Man and other Marvel properties even though the rights are at different studios?

Arad: No. I think that obviously in the comics the team-ups and the mix-ups, they're a way to keep the publishing going, but since Spider-Man has a huge universe of it's own, so many foes and friends and great stuff about Peter and his parents and Gwen, it's not something that we're thinking about because we have so much more to tell. That's why we made this particular movie.

Q: In the comics Spidey always has a sense of humor while fighting his adversaries, making quips during the fights. Will we see that in the film?

Tolmach: Yes.

Webb: Yes.

Garfield: They hired a comedic actor to wear the suit. He wrote some jokes.

Webb: A funny guy.

Garfield: He's brilliant. Judd Apatow is in the suit.

Q: Andrew, did you talk to Tobey Maguire before you said yes to this film?

Garfield: I love Tobey Maguire's interpretation of the character. It's one of the things that rekindled for me and reminded me how much this character means to me. And when I watched that first film I lost my mind. I watched it back to back. I watched twice in a row when I first saw it. I had the wonderful fortune of meeting him after we finished shooting. I didn't seek him out, but he sent a very, very, very nice email once it was announced to Matt, basically giving me his blessing. It meant the world to me because I respect him so much as an actor, generally, and especially with the role that I'm now assuming.

The Amazing Spider-Man opens in 3D, 2D and IMAX 3D theaters on July 3, 2012.