As the young man cast in the title role of the highly anticipated SPIDER-MAN, Tobey Maguire is set to enter super-stardom. Today we continue our chat with the web-spinning actor.
Maguire campaigned for the role even though his background on the character was sketchy. There were just too many positive aspects to the project for him to ignore.
"I thought that it was a good role," says Maguire. "It was a well-written script. I wanted to work with Sam. He talked to me about his vision for the film. It was also, I think, my most challenging role. When I sat down to blueprint the character's journey, it's as complex or more emotional than anything else that I've done, and then there were other challenges that I haven't had to face in other films, like the preparation physically, communicating with body language when you couldn't see the expression of the character, [and] acting with nothing there."
Well, at least on some occasions, there was something there a malevolent green something in goblin form, as played by co-star Willem Dafoe.
"Willem's an amazing actor with a great body of work and I think his characters really burn in my mind," says Maguire. "I had no idea what to expect as far as the man goes. Sometimes you watch people work and you feel like you know them. I didn't feel like I knew Willem from his work because he loses himself in his roles. He's a nice guy. He's more easy-going than I expected. He was rarely in his trailer. He was always on the set, lurking around, wanting to get involved, even when they were setting up shots. He was gung-ho with the action."
Some of the best action Spider-Man gets in the film, however, is during the already famous scene where a rain-drenched Mary Jane, as played by Kirsten Dunst, kisses the wall-crawler as he hangs upside down. It's a scene that reeks of that all-important Hollywood buzzword chemistry and Maguire says it was there from the very beginning.
"You just know if you meet someone and you hit it off with them," says Maguire, who is quick to point out that there is no personal relationship between him and Dunst. "I respect her work. I think that she's very courageous as an actress. She's not self-conscious. She can also rein it in and deliver a good dramatic performance. She's also very thoughtful as a person. [She was] 18 [during filming], which I don't know if that should matter or not, but I was impressed with her maturity."
And what of that soon-to-be classic kiss itself?
"I was hanging upside down," says Maguire. "There was rain pouring down my nose, or up my nose but down that way. It was hard to breath, but well worth it. It wasn't all that long because we were losing dark light was coming. So we were racing. I think we shot some of her side first without me hanging, part of her close-up. It's a good shot; I like it."
Of director Raimi, Maguire has nothing but praise, but he will not presume to compare him to other directors.
"I never compare," says Maguire. "That's probably a lie. But I'll talk about Sam. Sam's a big part of why I wanted to do this film. I'm excited to do it again with him next year. He's a funny guy and he's really sweet. He has a passion for this character. He helped me lay out a game plan [and he's] also a great collaborator. I thought there was a possibility that with SPIDER-MAN being such a big investment for the studio, I was going to just film my role and keep quiet and do my job and not have a lot of creative input. But it was the most input I've had on a film because Sam would say, 'Give me your ideas.' The best idea wins. He encourages people to contribute and he really treated me as a filmmaking partner."
Check back Monday for part three of our Tobey Maguire profile.