The Amazing Spider-Man 2 truly features two villains: Jamie Foxx as Electro and Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin. Yes, there are three, but Paul Giamatti’s Rhino is more in the film as a set-up for the upcoming Sinister Six movie. Foxx and DeHaan are talking about their villainous adventure, and as both grew up huge fans of Spider-Man, they were the perfect people to talk about what it is that sets Spidey apart from other superheroes.
“It’s like Coca-Cola or Nike,” Foxx said.
“He’s the only superhero in high school. He’s a kid. And you see kids wanting to see Spider-Man because of that, and parents comfortable taking kids to see Spider-Man where they might not with a more grown-up superhero story.”
Foxx recalled being glued to The Electric Company, solely because you never knew when the webbed wonder would appear.
“There were only three networks at that time, plus PBS made a fourth. But to see a superhero on TV was crazy! You only saw each show once. You didn’t have YouTube or anything like that, so when Spidey came on, you came running,” Foxx said and laughed.
“Back then, I thought, ‘How did they DO those crazy web effects?’ Now you know that it’s just a pile or ropes. But, that was the first time you saw a superhero who wasn’t animated and who seemed to live and breathe.”
DeHaan plays a character in Osborn who takes control of Oscorp when his father Norman passes away. He also learns that he has the same disease that eventually killed his father. For DeHaan, it was an interesting challenge to not only play a person slowly becoming a villain, but someone who is suffering from an ailment that doesn’t exist!
“My character suffers from a made-up disease. Retro-viral hyperplasia is infectious and degenerative, and that just doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing as that in the world,” DeHaan said. “I looked into how it might be categorized and what symptoms it might exhibit, but it’s fictional. There’s nothing really like it.”
DeHaan found an interesting challenge to playing Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He is a longtime friend of Peter Parker’s and it’s not like he is the Green Goblin right off the bat.
“It was always that he was Harry at the beginning and the Goblin at the end. Harry is born into extreme wealth and power. He’s literally the richest kid in the world. He’s always been able to buy everything he wants. In that way, he has no problems. He can buy his own happiness,” DeHaan said.
“Then he’s told, ‘You’re dying.’ All of a sudden there’s no solution to that problem. He can’t buy his life. And in some way, I see his turning into the Goblin as this giant temper tantrum. That’s where the anger comes from, and that’s why his descent feels so accelerated.”
Foxx portrays Electro (who begins the movie as Maxwell) and when it came to where he found his inspiration for the part of the electrified villain, his source should surprise.
“I looked at Amadeus a lot. Salieri is jealous and covetous, and that’s basically what Maxwell is. He covets. He doesn’t hate Spider-Man. He just wants people to look at him the way they look at Spidey,” Foxx said.
“I watched Clint Eastwood to get the voice where it needs to be, that low menace. I study performances like that, just for the actual mechanics of the character.”
Given that most of what these two supremely talented actors filmed involved appearing in front of green screens, we wondered what their reaction was to seeing the final product.
“It’s weird. People don’t know that it’s actually me in a kind of blue silicone skin. Imagine me dipped in blue candle wax. The blue becomes a blue screen, like it would be with a CG screen, and the effects get added on top of that. Towards the end, it gets a little more CG heavy, but most of the time, it’s me or my stunt double in an actual blue suit,” Foxx admitted.
DeHaan, a veteran of indie movies and the stage, found it supremely profound. “It’s the coolest thing ever. The first trilogy was coming out when I was a kid and I’ve always loved Spider-Man movies,” DeHaan said. “To be a part of one is kind of a mind-blowing experience. And seeing it when it’s done, seeing how cool they can make us look in post, it’s kind of hard to comprehend.”
Foxx is thrilled to truly be the first African-American playing a villain in a superhero movie. But, he cautions that we’ve come so far that at this point he hopes it’s more about the actor and not their color. “When you eat pizza, do you say, ‘Mmm, I’m eating this Italian pizza?’ You don’t. One day, I want the artistic world to be just like eating pizza. You don’t even think about it anymore, you just watch your favorite actor and actress get down and do their thing,” Foxx said.
“We’re getting to that point where it’s just about the talent. Still, it feels good to be an African-American and get these kinds of parts.”
Get ready for all the action and watch The Amazing Spider-Man online!