Marc Webb’s take on Marvel’s premiere web-slinger in “The Amazing Spider-Man” reboots the story following director Sam Raimi’s trilogy, returning once again to the comic book superhero’s roots with an origin story. Mary Jane Watson is out of the picture now, with the comic book Peter Parker’s one true love Gwen Stacy being brought in as the new love interest.
Emma Stone, who plays Stacy in Webb’s planned 2012 release, sat down for a chat with Comic Book Resources at Comic-Con International in San Diego this week. Sadly, though not unexpectedly, she was very tight-lipped about what to expect from the movie, though she did confirm that this version of her character should be familiar to comics fans.
“My introduction to Gwen Stacy is what I think a lot of people know about Gwen Stacy,” Stone told CBR News. “She’s the daughter of the police chief, she grew up on the Upper East Side, she is valedictorian, she’s very serious about science, she wants to go to school, she’s very responsible, she’s the oldest in her family and she really just has this attraction and this slight chemistry when we first meet her with Peter.
“They kind of couldn’t be more different in upbringing; she’s got this really stable family and her father is the authority figure of the city [as well as] the family, and she’s always been daddy’s little girl, and very responsible because of her father,” Stone continued. “Then Peter is an orphan who lives with his aunt and uncle and is a completely different type of guy than I’m sure her father would imagine her with. I think she sees something heroic in Peter long before he becomes Spider-Man, something different in him than the rest of the kids at school. Not to mention he is great at science, so that’s a big turn-on too.”
While the “Zombieland” star stopped short of revealing much about the story, she did confirm that she has a “few” scenes with the villain characters and that some combat training was required. She also painted out some of the movie’s key beats in broad strokes. It’s nothing unexpected if you’re familiar with the comics, but that alone should be comforting. A comic book adaptation shouldn’t necessarily be a mirror image of its source, but carrying over certain key themes and character motivations is an important component to servicing fans.
“Obviously Peter acts different after he becomes Spider-Man, and I think there’s an element of [Gwen] not being completely sure what is going on with this guy but having this understanding of him that most people don’t seem to have,” Stone explained. “And he has this understanding of her as well.
“So I think they have this inexplicable thing, but there’s a lot of tension in the fact that this is her first love. She’s stepping out from under her father’s thumb for the first time,” Stone continued. “She thinks Spider-Man is really cool and her father sees him as a vigilante. And she, independently of Peter, finds him really interesting and is kind of defensive of what’s going on with him.”
“So she, for the first time in her life, is falling for a man that’s not her father,” Stone elaborated further. “I think there’s a really interesting element there that creates tension, both in a household aspect and in trying to figure out this really mysteriosu guy that’s so different from her that she has this undeniable pull to.”
In her short career, Stone has made some fantastic choices and had some similarly fantastic opportunities come her way. Her breakout feature role in “Superbad” was just a first step, with crowd-pleasing performances in “Zombieland,” “The House Bunny” and “Easy A” following it. “The Amazing Spider-Man” is yet another killer gig for the young star, though she admits that for her, the real appeal of the role was Webb’s more grounded, realistic take on the superhero genre.
“This movie felt, to me, like I could understand it, I could relate,” she explained. “I’ve seen comic book movies before… where it just feels like a different universe and I never feel back to Earth, I never feel like I could be a part of this or I could experience what these people are experiencing.”
“With this, it felt like I understood what every character was experiencing on a very human level. It’s so intimate, about being an orphan and about being a skinny kid wanting to beat up bigger kids,” Stone continued. “There’s a lot of bullying in this movie even outside of Peter, there’s that element of bullying in high school and him standing up for people. Being a hero before he’s a hero. And falling in love for the first time. So it’s this small story in this big world.”