Andrew Garfield chatted with Movie Fanatic recently in New York City and spoke of achieving the rarest of feats by scoring the lead in The Amazing Spider-Man. As a child in Britain, Garfield was obsessed with the webbed wonder. As he stepped into the suit for the first time on the set for director Marc Webb (check out our Marc Webb interview), he carried with him the dreams of millions of kids who aspire to be Spidey.
Garfield takes us behind the mask and into the process, emotions and weight of being Spider-Man.
Movie Fanatic: There’s a long debate in the Spider-Man world, do you think he is a vigilante?
Andrew Garfield: I think that he is a vigilante for a period of this story, this particular story. I think it’s true for any teenager who goes through that amount of tragic events to have those impulses to kick out and rebel and use their powers in a way that they’re not thinking responsibly. What’s cool about this movie is that he discovers the power of what he’s created.
Movie Fanatic: He may inspire audiences with great Peter Parker quotes, but do you think Peter knows what he's doing when he initially creates Spider-Man?
Andrew Garfield: He doesn’t create this symbol with any kind of high-mindedness [laughs]. It was important to me that he started with a heroic impulse without the physical power to do anything with it. He creates it so that he can protect himself because he was searching for his uncle’s killer. He accidentally discovers that he’s created something bigger than him and that can be used for good.
Movie Fanatic: Is that what you admired about him when you were a boy?
Andrew Garfield: That was how I felt growing up. I felt like the underdog and I felt like I was a skinny kid. Now I’m not. Obviously, I’m a huge bruiser [laughs]. I always thought I should have been bigger for some reason because society tells you that. That was something I always identified with for Peter that he always felt stronger on the inside than he did on the outside and there’s nothing better than seeing a skinny guy beat the crap out of a big guy.
Movie Fanatic: As a lifelong fan of Spidey, what was it like to meet (creator) Stan Lee?
Andrew Garfield: He’s given so many kids hope and joy, and he cannot be thanked enough for that. It was like being in a room with Mickey Mouse. It was bizarre. I’ve been nervous for the last two years. It seems like every day there’s been something that’s made me have to suppress shaking. But Stan Lee was a weird one because he wasn’t real, like he’s too iconic to be real.
Movie Fanatic: Given what this part means to you, could you ever relax from the moment you got the part to today when you’re talking about it to us?
Andrew Garfield: I didn’t. I didn’t sleep very much. It’s embarrassing to say [laughs]. We all have that one fictional character that we care about, and if ever that opportunity came along to play it and do it justice, when that moment comes, you go, “I’m not allowed to think about anything else. It’s given me so much in my life.” And no, I haven’t shaken it off.
Movie Fanatic: Why do you think Spider-Man has been so resonant for decades?
Andrew Garfield: The fact that he goes through the same stuff that I went through -- he’s all of us. He shares that need to kick the walls down irrationally (as seen figuratively in this The Amazing Spider-Man clip), which when you combine that with being a superhero it’s kind of exciting.
Movie Fanatic: Now, it looks cool as hell. But, was that costume difficult to wear at all, despite the dream of donning it someday?
Andrew Garfield: I had many issues with that costume. It’s a weird thing because every actor who plays a superhero is like, “The costume sucked.” Like we should just get together and talk about it [laughs]. How dare we complain, we’re the ones who get to wear it. It’s the dream. But it was so terrible [laughs].
Movie Fanatic: Did you ever hear from Tobey Maguire about you stepping into his shoes?
Andrew Garfield: When I got cast, he sent an email immediately, and it was very, very generous and made me feel like I could take the torch in confidence. We’re all just a part of that family, the Spider-Man family.