“We’ve been pretty open about the fact that we tried back in the day to make another instalment of the Raimi/Tobey movies,” says co-producer Matt Tolmach. “Sam was the first one to finally say, ‘My story has been told. My version, my trilogy has run its course, but someone else should tell the story.’
“I think the power of this character is he belongs to everybody and there’s so many different ways to interpret him and he’s so relevant for different generations.”
The producers and Webb decided to return to the origin story to establish Garfield as the new Spider-Man with a new girlfriend and to explore the mystery of what happened to his parents.
“Spider-Man is a perennial character,” Webb says. “It’s not like Harry Potter that has a closed canon. There’s a 50-year canon of Spider-Man comics; there’s a lot of stories to tell from that.”
Garfield, a longtime fan of the superhero, admitted being more than a little nervous to pull on the Spandex suit.
“I (was) terrified to take on this role because it means so much to me so I know how much it means to other people,” he said. “I dedicated myself to it, really, I did.
“It’s a weird thing: we all have that one fictional character at least that we care about so, so much and if ever that opportunity came along for any of us to play it, serve it, to do it justice, when that moment comes you go, ‘Oh my God. I’m not allowed to sleep; I’m not allowed to think about anything else. I need to dedicate everything to this person that’s given me so much in my life I want to give all of myself to it.’”
Stone, 23, admits she had no sense of Spidey prior to being cast, but after learning about Stacy (who dies in the comics) she was attracted to the character and the whole world of SpiderMan.
“He’s the only teenage superhero, which is major because a lot of times when people start reading comic books you are a kid or a teenager, so he’s the most identifiable instantly,” she says. “You can relate to him.
“Not to mention he’s bullied, which is huge for a girl or boy. I think everyone has experienced something along those lines.”
As for Stacy, Stone says her look was copied from the comics — the signature headband, thigh-high boots, stylish coats, hair and makeup — but notes the character was drawn to be more “voluptuous” than Stone is.
“I’m by no means a supermodel or an unattainable-looking person so that element of Gwen was a bit different in some ways, because she was such a beauty queen in the comic books and I’m more of a (girl) next door,” she says.
Spider-Man’s cold-blooded enemy, the Lizard, was created through a combination of computerized effects and good-old fashioned makeup for the transitional shots when Dr. Connors was morphing into the Lizard and vice-versa.
Ifans sat in the makeup chair for up to eight hours at a time while four makeup artists applied silicone pieces and painted individual scales, he recalls.
“After seven hours in a chair with not more than enough cigarettes, I was kind of in the right mental state to play a man about to transform into a nine-foot lizard with a dangerous tail,” he says.