The Amazing Spider-Man 2 producer Matt Tolmach met us at Comic-Con for an exclusive interview where we got to the heart of several questions that have burned for Spidey fans. First, why was Electro chosen as the villain for this particular story? Second, we wanted to know why he chose Jamie Foxx for Electro?
And finally, Movie Fanatic gets to the bottom of why Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane was cut from the film, even after filming had already wrapped.
Movie Fanatic: It is fitting we’re meeting here at Comic-Con when it was here a few years back that Andrew Garfield appeared in a Spidey suit and pulled off the mask and shocked the audience…
Matt Tolmach: That was Andrew’s idea…
Movie Fanatic: You’re kidding!
Matt Tolmach: Yeah, we had a whole thing we were going to do. He came to me and said, “I don’t know if you will dig this, but I sat up last night and wrote something that I want to say to people.” So, we read it and we were moved. An hour later, he told us he was going to get some Spider-Man costume and walk in. Certain marketing people were like, “I don’t know.” Because it was so real and honest, it worked. That was totally his thing.
Movie Fanatic: Why was Jamie Foxx perfect as Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man world?
Matt Tolmach: Jamie is one of my favorite actors in the world. I worked as an executive on Ali. I don’t think everybody thinks of the side of him that is heartbreaking as an actor. He is beloved for action movies and his music. Then, people who pay attention to movies know he is one of the great actors working. That was the impulse. Jamie does so many things so brilliantly. We needed somebody who could play this emotionally complicated character. Because Jamie can be so big and so heartbreaking in a performance, it was a fantasy that he would do it. He’s wild, this God-like figure. As Max Dillon, oh, my God -- it’s so deep and powerful.
Movie Fanatic: How does having Electro in the movie right now fit with where Peter Parker/Spider-Man is now?
Matt Tolmach: He is the perfect foil for Spider-Man. He’s about some of the same things emotionally. He’s disrespected. He’s pushed around. He could go one of two ways. You either channel it into something like making sure others are taken care of, or you get mad. And he gets mad. And he gets even. His power is so ridiculously awesome that it puts Spider-Man under perfect pressure. How are you going to beat this guy? What are you going to do? He fries anything you have. He has harnessed the power of the city. It forces Spider-Man to figure it out.
Movie Fanatic: Good thing Peter Parker is a man of science.
Matt Tolmach: [Laughs] It does come in handy!
Movie Fanatic: Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn, I had heard that he was going to be that character in the past.
Matt Tolmach: On one of the Raimi Spider-Man movies, we had reached out to him and he wasn’t available.
Movie Fanatic: What does that mean to you?
Matt Tolmach: He’s one of the greatest actors alive. There is an authenticity to him that is staggering. He gives these movies so much scope and fun. The characters have such weight. Chris Cooper and Dane DeHaan, Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield… I mean -- what a cast! And this is a very operatic tale -- much more than we’ve told before.
Movie Fanatic: What do you think it is about Spider-Man that resonates so much, almost more so than other superheroes?
Matt Tolmach: He’s us. It’s so powerful. My son is about to run in here and he’s wearing a Spider-Man suit! He’s everyone. He’s the kid who’s misunderstood and overlooked and pushed around. He’s smart but nobody knows or appreciates it. He’s got all this power. It’s like a character from a novel. Everybody relates to it.
Movie Fanatic: Mary Jane isn’t going to be in this one. Will Shailene Woodley return to the series or will we see Mary Jane in the future in some capacity? And why was Shailene Woodley cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2?
Matt Tolmach: The only reason she is not in this picture is there are too many things going on. When you set out to make movies like this, you get really ambitious and you want to tell so many stories. You set yourself on a course to do so much. Some people say these movies can have too many villains. There can too many emotional storylines too. What is the essential story we’re telling? Do we want to distract people from that? Is that the right moment? With this story, we felt definitively no, we did not. Shailene is awesome, truly awesome. It’s just… we’re not there yet. It will pull you out of what’s happening in the movie. It’ll be great, but maybe, it belongs in the next one.