Contrary to what the earlier “Spider-Man” trilogy [starring Tobey Maguire] would have non-comic book readers think, Mary Jane Watson wasn’t the only girl in Peter Parker’s heart. In fact, based on the storyline in the comic books, the blonde college student Gwen Stacy [who first appeared in print in “The Amazing Spider-Man” #31] had been Peter’s “first love.” But unless you have all the time in the world to untangle the complicated web of Peter’s love life and argue this matter, suffice it to say that Gwen Stacy finally gets her rightful screen time with Peter after appearing as a minor character in the Maguire-starrer “Spider-Man 3.”
In the upcoming Marc Webb-directed Andrew Garfield vehicle, “The Amazing Spider-Man”—which comes too close to the heels of the first trilogy, if you ask some people—Gwen Stacy, played by Emma Stone, is Peter’s “fun, feisty and fiercely intelligent” love interest who is far from being a damsel in distress common to most old-time comic book stories.
A good science student who worships her police chief father, Gwen’s relationship with Peter is “the first irresponsible thing she’s ever done,” Stone notes. “She knows that this boy is dangerous… It’s her first time really standing up, also, to her father and doing something he wouldn’t approve of. She has her whole life planned out and Peter really changes that for her.”
Stone, who describes herself as “an Internet kid” who hasn’t been into a lot of comic books growing up, admits she got her introduction to Spider-Man “by becoming involved and getting to know the Marvel family, through Avi [Arad, Marvel Studios founder and former CEO].” Her big catch-up was by way of seeing all the previous movies. But her partner, Garfield, happens to be a true blue Spider-Man fan.
Describing him as “devoted,” Stone says of him: “You couldn’t pick someone that’s more in love with the journey of Peter Parker than Andrew. I can assure you that every moment of that performance was thought about. He’s incredibly present, but he’s also very considerate and he is very thoughtful about who this boy is. I think that’s an amazing quality in a person and he’s like that in life, too.”
She also recalls, “I auditioned with Andrew on the day of the ‘Easy A’ premiere, with a bad case of bronchitis. That was my entrance into the world of Spider-Man.”
As serendipity goes, Sony contacted Stone to audition for the Gwen Stacy role while she was shooting [the Oscar-nominated movie] “The Help.” Working with her in the same movie was Bryce Dallas Howard, who actually played the character in “Spider-Man 3.”
Stone remembers, “She didn’t break the news to me, but she broke the news that it [her getting the part] had come out a minute and a half after I was told. I was called by Amy [Pascal] and Marc [Webb] and [Matt] Tolmach and they said, ‘We’d like you to play Gwen Stacy, the news will be breaking in 90 seconds,’ and then Bryce came running into my trailer, literally two minutes later, and said, ‘You’re Gwen Stacy!’”
In retrospect, she notes, “Our Stacys are so different that it’s kinda odd we’re both Gwen Stacy. It was amazing to share that with Bryce and have her be a part of that.”
Although there won’t be any iconic “upside-down kiss” moments in this one, Stone relates, “The nice thing is that Gwen kisses Peter, not Spider-Man. She falls in love with Peter first. Then she’s his confidante. She’s the only one who knows [his secret], which is kinda great. I really love that she loves the boy, in spite of him being Spider-Man, rather than the other way around.”
And in the case of life imitates art, now that the movie’s about to hit the theaters, news have surfaced that Stone, 23, and Garfield, 28, are dating in real life—talk about liking the man, not the guy behind the Hollywood blockbuster movie mask!
In recent reports, Garfield had apparently told MTV News, "We got on really well as people, in between takes. That was the fun stuff. In between, we'd just mess around, and I felt, ‘Ah, this is different.’”
Obviously happy that Stone has landed the role and opted to do it, he shares, "She keeps you on your toes, and that wakes you up. That was the beginning.”
And the best thing about the shoot for him had been the romantic scenes they shared. “Those are the days I'd look forward to, you know? For Peter as well, because Peter goes through some horrible stuff in the movie.”
Love and heroism are indeed the best part about superhero stories. In parting, Stone points out, “The story of Spider-Man is fantastic, and has inspired countless people in their lives to be bold and to be better and to be brave, and that’s pretty special.”
“The Amazing Spider-Man” opens in theaters nationwide on June 29.
By ANNIE S. ALEJO