Director Marc Webb goes behind the scenes on the new Spider-Man movie
Marc Webb shot to fame by directing 2009’s ‘500 Days Of Summer’ and with his spider-like surname it was no wonder he was snapped up to the direct 2012’s successful Spider-Man reboot. Webb returns to the directors chair this month with ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’… check out his behind the scenes chat about his Spidey sequel.
With a sequel there’s always the expectation that it will surpass the original in some way. How did you try to achieve that with this movie?
We wanted this movie to be big, to be fun, to really embrace the more playful aspects of the Spider-Man character. From the get-go, there’s 20 minutes of straight-out, super-fast, really vibrant action that starts the movie. I really wanted to pull out all the stops for that. But it’s not really about trying to outdo yourself, it’s about finding a central idea that we-and the audience-can connect to. In the first movie, we talked about the missing piece. This film has to do with time. The very first shot of the movie is a ticking clock, and the theme of the movie is you’ve got to value the time you have with the ones you love.
How do you work with the writers to develop the story?
Well, at the very beginning, we talk about villains, we talk about where Peter Parker is at, we talk about what questions we want to answer. But the pivotal thing is talking about theme. What is the idea? What is the heart of the movie? What is the fountain from which all the ideas are going to flow? And that’s where time fits in.
And then we want the movie to be a spectacle. We want people to be excited about seeing it and feel thrilled and feel that velocity and that excitement about being Spider-Man and that wish-fulfillment and that exhilaration. But you also want to have heart in it. The writers are really brilliant collaborators and they’re so skillful at creating stories that explore very deeply the parts of the character that we haven’t yet seen before.
What can you tell us about the character of Electro?
There’s something inherently cinematic about somebody who has harnessed electricity and can disappear into a wall socket. There’s something terrifying and really beautiful about it. But what’s at the heart of Electro is Max Dillon and Max Dillon is a guy the world ignored. And because he was never properly loved, he’s developed an anger, and when that anger is combined with people putting him down, something very dangerous emerges and that’s where is Electro is born.
There’s always something similar between Peter Parker and the villains he goes up against. There’s a parallel. Peter Parker’s an outsider and so is Max Dillon. Dillon has a psychotic part of his brain that makes him profoundly evil, but it was really important for us to understand and have some empathy for that character. I think Jamie Foxx acquitted himself in a brilliant way and helped define Max as not just an idea, but as a real human so you understand why he’s doing these things.
The trajectory of that character is fascinating. At the beginning, Spider-Man saves Max Dillon and knows his name and Dillon is thrilled by that. He’s recognized by somebody who’s a hero and he becomes Spider-Man’s biggest fan. But by the end of the movie, he’s Spider-Man’s biggest foe and gives him an enormously dangerous battle, which was something really fun to play with in that character.
You had one adversary in the first movie. This movie has more than one villain, right?
Yes. Paul Giamatti’s playing Aleksei Systevich, who’s becoming The Rhino, and Jamie Foxx is Electro, who’s the dominant villain in the movie. But if there’s gonna be one evil force that has a lot of different faces, it’s Oscorp. Oscorp is the evil empire from which all dark things in the Spider-Man universe emerge.
Dane DeHaan has said this is a different Harry Osborn than we’ve seen previously.
Yeah, this Harry Osborn is brilliant. He’s a very, very smart guy and the heir apparent to the Oscorp empire. And he’s shrewd, but he’s also bound to Peter Parker by the absence of their fathers. They’ve both been dumped, in a way, by their parents, which gives them a great bond.
Can you offer any hints about future films in the Spider-Man franchise?
I imagine Oscorp will play a part in it. That’s all I can say.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 is at cinemas from April 16th