Ten years ago, indie-film actor Tobey Maguire starred in Spider-Man and became the face of one of the biggest franchises in movie history. This summer, history is repeating itself, with Andrew Garfield — an actor best known for stealing scenes in The Social Network and being grim, nude, and British in the grim, nudely British Red Riding trilogy — headlining hopeful megahit The Amazing Spider-Man. Now, V-Man has brought the two Peter Parkers together for a genial, backslapping summit which nevertheless provides an intriguing portrait of two actors on two very different ends of the modern Hollywood media circus.
Garfield, who’s currently starring in a critically-acclaimed revival of Death of a Salesman, seems simultaneously wiped out and anxiously excited about the attention he’s getting. He doesn’t reveal anything about the movie or his particular interpretation of Peter Parker, but he does talk about the process of auditioning for the role:
It create[d] drama and tension among a generation of actors. I’m friends with a few of the guys who were up for it, and I actually had dinner with Jamie [Bell] the night of my screen test and his screen test. We compared notes and war stories, and we kind of got past the ridiculousness of it all and thought it would be a nice idea to get everyone together and kind of interview each other about how messed up the process is, being against each other, and remember that we’re all in it together, knowing that when you take off that bodysuit someone else is going to be stepping into your sweat immediately after.
Still, for my money, the most interesting bits of the interview come from Maguire. I’ve always been intrigued by the guy, who has spent the last few years living off his Spider-Man money as a gentleman of leisure, occasionally emerging with an awesome/overlooked role (Brothers, The Good German) when he’s not righteously seizing Ponzi cash in poker showdowns. His description of the atmosphere around the release of Spider-Man is pretty fascinating portrait of Hollywood circa 2002:
Movies hadn’t been doing the sort of opening-weekend business that’s fairly common — even expected — today. The first Harry Potter came out about six months before us and it was this phenomenon from Day one. It was so wild because it was a new thing at that moment — and I’m not saying that hasn’t happened in movie history, but at the time that was a big jump. and then that happened with us. People didn’t anticipate [2002’s Spider- Man] to be like that. Leading up to it you start to get reactions and people tell you, you know, what the tracking is and what range your opening weekend box office is likely to be. but for me it was kind of unexpected. So much shifted in my life the weekend the movie came out. it was shocking.
Check out the full interview here. The two dudes seem to get along just fine, alas, so don’t expect a repeat of the famous 1976 incident when Roger Moore and Sean Connery had a karate-chop face-off in a back alley in Manchester.
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