The Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb says Emma Stone ('Gwen Stacy') is a really incredible, funny actress who is a "talent like you don’t get very often." At the New York press day for the reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, Webb went on to praise his female lead and to explain how she wound up playing Gwen.
"She’s so fast and so alive but she can also do emotional depth. In a movie like this, (500) Days of Summer was quite similar, you can’t cast actors independently when you’re relying on the romance or a significant relationship’s developed that drives the story or marks the story in a certain way. So you have to cast the chemistry. I remember seeing [Andrew Garfield and Emma] together. We were all there behind the monitors and just watching them have fun and open up and be spontaneous. There was just some magic that was happening between them that was really fantastic and just fun to watch."
Sitting down to discuss her first starring role in a comic book-inspired film, Stone talked about how she figured out how to play Gwen and researching the character.
Exclusive Emma Stone Interview
You know about birthing little Normans and going to London. How did you brush up on Gwen?
Emma Stone: "Well, it was really just looking back through her history and there’s a lot of really great, concise SparkNotes on Gwen. You’ve got to look back through a lot of material and the little moments between Gwen and Peter and how they interact. Andrew got me a really great book called Death of the Stacys really early on and that was really helpful. That kind of compiled those strips and I just looked back through all of it, through all the source material."
Does that help you as an actor, even if it’s not in the movie?
Emma Stone: "I mean, yeah. I think having that stuff to go off of, that was like in The Help. Your script is 120 pages but the book was 444 or something, so you have all that extra stuff to build up your character and your mannerisms and your little moments that you just have all that knowledge. So it is helpful. It’s really nice. It’s like having a crazy amount of research."
Gwen doesn’t need to be sold on Peter. She likes him as himself.
Emma Stone: "Absolutely."
What do you think it is about Gwen that she appreciates a guy like Peter?
Emma Stone: "Well, in the scene where you first see them connect in this movie...obviously they’ve known each other for a long time, but in the scene where you first see them connect, she sees him being heroic before he’s even a hero. So obviously he’s standing up for a kid that’s being bullied and I think she sees something there. Also, he’s second in his class. You know how Gwen feels about science. She’s valedictorian and she’s very, very dedicated to her academic career. He is an intellectual equal, so I think she’s drawn to that. Plus he’s mysterious and handsome and all the things that a 17-year-old girl is drawn to, so I think there’s a lot of appeal that she likes."
Talk about the rooftop moment.
Emma Stone: "Yeah, that was a really nice scene to shoot. We were able to improvise in the beginning of kind of messing around with each other on the roof and then him telling me that he’s been bitten and all of that. That whole scene was a really special one to shoot."
How does it feel playing high school girls as you grow up?
Emma Stone: "Well, I’m assuming this is the last time they’re going to let me play high school. I don't think I can pull off the 17 any more."
Well, maybe for two or three more of these.
Emma Stone: "You know, we’ll probably be a little bit older then, finishing high school at least. There’s probably not much longer I can do that, but it’s great. As long as they’ll cast me in high school, I’m there. It’s wonderful to go back to that place."
Working with Sean Penn and the cast of Gangster Squad, what does that do for your game?
Emma Stone: "Well, he’s just a genius so I don't know what necessarily other than sit in awe of it. He’s one of those brilliant incredible actors to be around where you just don’t even, it’s like, 'All right, I’m not even going to try to learn from you because you are just something else entirely.'"
Do you have to get yourself over it?
Emma Stone: "No, because if you don’t idolize people, if you don’t build them into these hero status things, you know that they’re just people that are really f***ing good at what they do and Sean Penn is one of those people that is really f***ing good at what he does. You more just feel lucky and want to enjoy it. I try not to go to the intimidated place because if I did that, I’d never get out of bed to go work with them."
Is there a comfort level working with Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer again?
Emma Stone: "Yeah, it was really, really nice working with Ruben again. I love Ruben. He’s got such an incredible style and it’s so distinctive. It’s such a Ruben Fleischer movie."
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The Amazing Spider-Man hits theaters on July 3, 2012.