Marc Webb on 'Amazing Spider-Man' Trailer Reactions, The Lizard and How His Take Differs From Sam Raimi's
The director discusses fan reactions to Monday's footage screenings and offers insights about how his film will reinvent the web-slinger on screen.
One day after Sony Pictures offered fans access to full theatrical trailer and a sizzle reel featuring plenty of action from The Amazing Spider-Man, Marc Webb spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about initial reaction he heard about the footage. “How could you feel anything but good?” Webb said from outside of the 10th Annual VES Awards, where he was a presenter. “It was really wonderful; I mean, I enjoyed the events in particular, because it was very affirming. We’ve been working in our secret laboratory for so long that it’s nice to get it out.”
The teaser trailer for Webb’s film premiered last July, and received a mixed reaction from fans, in particular to the POV shot that wrapped up the clip. The director, who took the reins of The Amazing Spider-Man not only with no prior experience as a purveyor of big-screen spectacle, but in the looming shadow of Sam Raimi’s trio of blockbusters, acknowledged that they were fighting an uphill battle to win over fans who might be skeptical about rebooting a franchise that doesn’t need it. “People don’t know what to expect, and I think it’s really important for us to establish exactly why we believe it’s an important thing to do.”
Webb indicated there were several things they chose to focus on with the final trailer, many of which were enhanced by the fact that they’re now finished with filming and have a better sense of how everything fits together. “We felt it was really important to give the audience a more specific idea of what the film would look like,” Webb said. “When you do a teaser trailer it’s always tricky, because we were still shooting the movie when that was being cut.” Among the things they elected to showcase more was Peter Parker’s relationship with the film’s love interest, Gwen Stacy.
“This time we wanted to show Peter and Gwen a little bit more,” he said. “To get to know more of the characterization, and a lot of the visual effects stuff that we’ve been working on, just to display the attitude of the film that we’re trying to create.”
When asked what he chose to focus on in his reinvention of Spider-Man for the screen, Webb said that the film features significant differences from its predecessors in terms of its narrative, and finally develops the story of Dr. Curt Connors, who appeared in the previous Spider-Man films (played by Dylan Baker) but never transformed into his monstrous alter ego, The Lizard. “There’s narrative differences, like the Gwen Stacy saga is something from the comics that I’ve always really, really loved,” Webb explained. “There’s what happened to his parents, which is a huge thing. But there’s the villain, Dr. Connors and The Lizard, which never came to fruition in the movies.”
While other Spider-Man villains could more easily be translated into a formidable adversary for the superhero, The Lizard has always been a troublesome character, particularly since his iconic look is literally a man-sized reptile in a lab coat. But Webb said that he found inspiration in actual science when figuring out how to adapt the character for the screen. “We spent a lot of time thinking about the biology of a lizard, and how his muscles work, and there’s an entire staff of people dedicated to making him look lifelike,” Webb said. “It is an extraordinary task, and very, very difficult. It takes a lot of time, which a lot of people in this room can attest to.”
Webb also said that the trailer gave the filmmakers a better opportunity to communicate the tone of the film, which he has suggested will be faithful to the more lighthearted aspects of the Spider-Man mythology. “There’s tonal differences, which are a little difficult to express except for in trailer form, or in the film itself, because it’s more of a subjective term. But those are all things that we felt like deserved their day in the sun.”