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MORE FROM SAN DIEGO: Arad, Ziskin, Dykstra and Molina on 'Spider-Man 2'

On Saturdayafternoon, at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Sony Pictures showeda clip from 'Spider-Man 2' and unveiled the first official Doctor Octopusartwork. Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad took the stage toanswer fans questions:

From left: John Dykstra, Alfred Molina and Avi Arad at Comic-Con


Laura Ziskin (LZ): We're so happy to be here. It seems like yesterdaythat we were here with "Spider-Man 1", where we showed a clip from thefilm for the very first time. So we have some footage for you today.

So that's the good news. I have some bad news. Our fearless leader Sam Raimiis home with a 102 fever. The doctor refused to let him come 

Avi Arad (AA): We are very excited to be here. Every year it doubles,triples. All the power to you. We would not be here...andsuccessful...without you. So I want to thank you. You are the first communityever to bring Hollywood to them.

There is no question that this thing is growing and it's out of control, justlooking at you...

We have a bigger, better movie. It feels like the family continues. Thevoices are now so natural for Peter and M.J. and Harry and all the ones we won'ttalk about. We are so proud because Sony pulled out all the stops. And whatyou're going to see today is a just little bit of a window into the future ofjust an amazing, fun-filled movie.

Alfred Molina is Doc Ock

LZ: I know that you're waiting for it, but Peter's back. M.J.'s backand there's a new [villain]...so ladies and gentlemen, exclusively to Comic-Confor the first time anywhere in the world, meet our new villain for 'Spider-Man2'.

At this point a massive floor to ceiling banner of Alfred Molina as Doc Ockwas unfurled for the crowd, which greeted it with roaring applause. Ziskin thenintroduced 'Spider-Man 2' effects supervisor John Dykstra.

John Dykstra (JD): Great villain, eh?

So, you guys are getting to see this character come to life for the firsttime today. You're the very first ones, aside from those within the sacredhalls. One of the things that we asked you to remember, like all characters, DocOck and his tentacles are learning their personality over the course of themaking of the film.

We think that he's gorgeous and he's coming along beautifully. Just rememberthat this is a work in process and I think you'll be very excited and you'll bevery surprised how as to effective this character is when he comes to life onscreen.

LZ: I just want to reiterate that we're about two-thirds of the waythrough a very long shoot, which is probably why Sam is sick in bed with afever, so these are very early visual effects. What you're going to see is thebirth of Doc Ock and all you need to know from your Spider-Man lore is, there'sbeen a little accident.

At this point they rolled the clip of a team of surgeons trying to separateOctavius from the tentacles, which have become fused to his spine. Comics2Filmdescribed the clip in detail in our update last Sunday morning. The crowdreacted with great enthusiasm to the gripping segment.

Ziskin then introducedactor Alfred Molina, who plays Ock in the movie and opened the floor forquestions.

Alfred Molina (AM): First of all, it's absolutely amazing to be here.Thank you very much.

It's fantastic that there's this wonderful enthusiasm and love for not onlythese characters but also the whole world of comic books and these fantasticstories. It's great that we're here to enjoy it.

We're having a ball, frankly. We're having a great time. My only regret isnot bringing the tentacles with me. They're all divas, all four of them, andthey refused to make the trip to San Diego. But I didn't bring them with me.

It's great to be here and thank you very much for a wonderful welcome.

Q: I was wondering what exactly clenched your choice of Spider-Manvillains for this movie.

LZ: Why Doc Ock in this movie?

AA: I think Doc Ock is probably our most famous andinteresting...What's most interesting about Doc Ock is that you can see his faceat all times, which is always for a director something you would like to have.Doc Ock is a complicated character to compose physically, cinematically.

And I think, again, because of this community and the first movie wassuccessful, they said, 'Yeah, we can do Doc Ock.'

It's a combination of CGI and puppeteering and...effects. It's a movie all byhimself to create this character.

Actually, for movie one, had we known where it was going with the studio andthey were comfortable with the money, we probably would have started with DocOck. So it was the natural choice.

LZ: That's what I wanted to say: We did play around with Doc Ock aspart of the first movie, so we had done some R&D and we all fell in lovewith the character and the potential of the character. So I think we knew ifthere was going to be a 'Spider-Man 2,' that Ock was going to be our character.And then we found Fred. We knew it all came together.

Q: I look forward to seeing more of Doc Ock, but I was wondering whatother characters we'll be seeing in this movie and in future movies.

LZ: We would have to let Sam answer [the last part] but we're stillfocused on this one. I'll just assure you that Peter Parker, Mary Jane and AuntMay and J. Jonah Jameson and Hoffman, all the characters are back. If anything,we probably have more action, more humor and more romance. 

I think Sam is at the top of his game. We're all glad to be working with him.He's taken these characters into in his soul and, knock on wood, we feel we'remaking an even better movie than the first one.

Q: Will we be doing anything with Carnage and Venom in a future movie?

AA: Venom is, obviously, a very interesting character. It brings themovie to a darker corner, if you will. We've been in discussions for a while nowon how to do it without taking away from the fun and the mystery. Making sureit's good. It's definitely a possibility. It would be fascinating to see JohnDykstra create symbiotes. So we'll see. Give it time.

Q: This is a question for Alfred Molina. This is a different projectfor you. You're known for more dramatic movies. How did you approach this roledifferently?

AM: I think the important thing is to, in a way, surrender to the joyof doing something like this. It's not like anything most of us do in the courseof our work. It's such a strange…and clearly, it's its own world. It has ownrules, its own conventions and all these sort of...

The one thing you never hear actors...playing a villain or a super-hero,'Well, I don't know anybody who could do this.' Because, the thing is, it's awhole different universe. And you have to embrace that. And be as authentic asyou can.

I'm having the time of my life. Playing villains is the perfect job, reallybecause you get to be as outrageous as you want to be. It's: all bets are off.So it's great.

I think the main thing is surrender to what it is. I'm not trying to riseabove it or sort of make excuses for it or refine it. Just enjoy the heck out ofit. 

I put my tentacles on in the morning - and believe me, it's a very eroticexperience. Those of you who have tentacles, I'm sure will agree with me.

Personally, I feel part of this great tradition and I'm very happy to be so.

Q: This question is for John Dykstra: In the first 'Spider-Man' youused CGI when necessary. How much CGI is used for Doc Ock and how much ispractical effects?

JD: Well I'll start by saying that, I don't think that there's goingto be any more CGI tentacles than are necessary because as you said about thefirst film, Spider-Man was computer-generated when he needed to be. The greatthing about this movie is with Alfred creating the persona of this character; itgives us an opportunity to animate with personality these tentacles.

So what you're going to see is combination of puppeteering, which meanspractical tentacles operated by individuals who are actually on set the sametime Alfred is wearing the tentacles, and CGI where we'll add the tentaclesafter the fact.

The mix is impossible to tell at this point. We're still making the film andlearning more about what these tentacles want to do, as they are wont to do.

AM: In an ideal world, the more that we can create the scene with thetentacles strapped on to me, the better.

I feel like I'm at a porn convention, talking about things being 'strappedon.' I used to have a serious career, now I'm talking about strapping things on.

The tentacles are such an important part of the character, obviously, so thatwhenever we can shoot the scene, integrally as it were, with me and thetentacles interacting and so on, obviously the better it is. There are alwaysgoing to be technical or physical limitations to that.

It's a combination of the two, but I think we always try to go with the realdeal whenever possible because that just pays off. It pays dramatically. It paysoff visually. It pays off in every way. It just kind of makes it a much betterexperience all around.

Q: We realize how important it is to be true to the source material.Are there any of the creators of 'Spider-Man' involved besides Stan Lee.

AA: The visuals are obviously part of the source material. Sam Raimiis a huge fan of the source material. He looked at the drawings.

In 'Spider-Man 1' we saw a lot of homage to the artwork. Movie two has muchmore of it.

"Spider-Man 2" opens in theaters on July 2, 2004.

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