Emma Stone, although not one who grew up adoring Spider-Man as Andrew Garfield admitted in our interview, still keenly understands the appeal of the Peter Parker story that has enthralled millions. “He’s the only teenage superhero, which is major because a lot of times when you start reading comic books you are a teen so he’s the most identifiable. Instantly, you can relate to him,” Stone said to Movie Fanatic in New York recently.
“Not to mention he’s bullied, which is huge for a girl or a boy -- everyone has experienced something along those lines. The fact that he is bitten by a spider and his wish fulfillment comes true and he’s able to fight back the bullies is symbolism for kids. They have that much power within them to speak out, to stand up for themselves and to stay unique and stay true to who they are as Peter does.”
Yet, as shown in The Amazing Spider-Man trailer, Stone believes that our hero demonstrates heroic traits long before the fateful spider bite. “In this movie, what instigates Gwen and Peter’s interaction is when he’s standing up for a kid who is being bullied and takes the fall for a kid who is being humiliated in front of a group of people. I think that is why it is so resonant.”
Given the fact that Garfield and Stone connected on and off screen, it is easy to see the two have chemistry. Yet Stone cannot quantify it. “Can one explain chemistry? It’s hard to. With any actor or any person in life I’ve had chemistry with, it’s hard to pin down what chemistry is,” Stone said. “It doesn’t matter how good the actors might be. It really is indefinable.”
It is clear the actress marveled at her co-star’s natural gifts. “He is one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with and I instantly knew how much I could learn from him,” Stone added. “That challenged me. Rising to meet him every day was something really exciting and a huge growing and learning experience for me.”
The actress first read for the part of Mary Jane, but was called back when filmmakers decided to have Emma Stone play Gwen Stacy -- The Amazing Spider-Man’s love interest. She identified with Gwen, even though she feels she’s not quite as “voluptuous” as she’s described in the comics.
“It didn’t really go to those heights. That element of Gwen was unlike the comic books in some ways because she is such a beauty queen. I’m a lot more next door. But the signature headband and the thigh-highs and the coats was important… down to the make-up,” Stone said.
The actress zeroed in on her relationship with Denis Leary’s Captain Stacy and how a family member must live day to day, knowing her father could fall in the line of duty, when approaching her character dating the budding superhero.
“She’s the oldest daughter of a police chief so there’s that responsibility thing that kicks in when she thinks that her father could die every day. I think it’s important that she took on that energy of being in charge of her family. She could be there in case something should happen to him. Then, unwittingly, she’s drawn to a man who is in the same position -- a little Elektra complex thing.”
What about Gwen personally did she most identify with?
“I just feel in love with Gwen’s story because it is so incredibly epic, tragic and incredible. The way it affects Peter Parker going forward with Mary Jane, another character I love obviously, was enormous.”
And when it comes to the attraction of Peter and Gwen, Stone thinks he's drawn to her family life, even if it is headed by the policemen who has made it his mission to get Spider-Man.
“Peter didn’t necessarily have a sense of stability. Aunt Mae and Uncle Ben are a very stable environment for him but he has abandonment issues,” she said.
“I think he sees someone steady in Gwen and someone who can understand what it’s like to lose a father on a daily basis as you see in her bedroom scene where she doesn’t know if he’s going to come home every day. She feels that sense of abandonment as well. They’re so different but they also relate on love of learning and things like that. I think he sees something in Gwen and she becomes a confidant that he can trust.”
Stone worked closely with Leary as her dad and recalled one of her favorite scenes working with the stand-up turned serious actor.
“One of my favorite moments was the hallway scene (between Gwen and her dad). Marc (Webb, director) let me go off the cuff in the hallway scene to keep Denis out of my room,” she said and laughed.
“When you give me an inch, it’s not good! I thought, ‘What is the one thing that would keep a dad out of his teenage daughter’s room?’ Cramps -- anything related to that or hormones! I knew in an instant from my own life experience, dads don’t wanna talk about that.”