The Amazing Spider-Man 2 | Exclusive Q&A Event

Last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to be part of a select number of students from London to be treated to a viewing of some exclusive, never before seen footage from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, ahead of its release in the UK on April 16. Afterwards there was a Q&A session with director Marc Webb, actor Dane DeHaan and producers Avi Arad and Mat Tolmach. Unfortunately no personal cameras were allowed inside due to the amount of unreleased footage being shown but I did manage to transcript most of the Q&A. It was not only such an amazing experience being able to hear first hand, one of my favourite actors speak about his time making this film (ok I admit I was already a little giddy at the prospect of being in the same room as him) but I ended up being fascinated by all the technical elements discussed by Mark Webb and the producers. If you're an aspiring actor, studying anything to do with film or simply just interested, I think this will be a great insight.

Question: As an actor, what process did you use to get into the mind of Harry Osborn as a character?

Dane: For (Spider-man 2) because you have all this source material, it's about looking at who Harry has been in the past. He's always been spoiled, I think what's cool about this is that it hints on some partying and drug abuse issues that he's had, the father issues that he's had and brings it all into character. I look at the script and I look at basically what the character does. What he does tells you about who he is as a person. I think that's where it all begins. For me he's someone that uses his money to his advantage, he knows he's born with this huge trust fund and he tries to buy his happiness. He does that in the fancy clothes he wears and the ridiculous haircut he has, the cars he drives, the parties he goes to but ultimately you now that backfires when he can't buy happiness. So that's really the basis of it. Then when we're up there and we're shooting it's all about playing pretend and making yourself believe it. On these movies it's such an advantage because the worlds that they create are so hyper-realistic – the office looks so much like the real Oscorp office. Any other movie I'd make, like an independent movie, you have this small space you can barely move around in and then you show up on set it's like "oh we're shooting my office" and you walk in and it's the size of a football field! It's insane and it exceeds anything my imagination could imagine so it allows me to fall into the world and to just believe it in a way that it makes my job easier I guess.


Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 alongside Andrew Garfield

Q: How much on the set and making the film was shot in 3D and how much was converted later?

Marc: The first film I shot entirely in stereo with two red cameras set up on perpendicular mounts split by a mirror and that's how we shot everything. But the cameras were quite large, the ropes and the wires that emerged from them were really heavy and I felt a little encumbered. I felt that I couldn't move the camera around as fast and I couldn't do hand-held as easily, I couldn't do a steady cam. So this time around I was like, "I wanna shoot this on film" and it was awesome. Now because I knew it was gonna be in 3D, when you're doing CG at this level, everything that's computer generated you can generate a second eye very quickly and it immediately goes into 3D, it doesn't matter what you shoot it on. I had that reassurance for the action scenes. Basically the short answer to your question is that it was all converted but I would shoot the scene, then I would take the actors out and shoot the scene again to generate a second eye, so there was a latent stereography that was at work and we would rotoscope the people out and replace the edges with the plate that we shot in order to create dimensionality.

Q: How did you incorporate the effects while you were acting? 

Marc: There's a lot of green screen and then we uhh... just pretended that stuff was there.

Dane: Yeah I mean, I didn't do that much green screen. Of a six month shoot, I think we spent four days in front of the green screen and sometimes that can get really confusing. I'm up on the glider and they're like "You're flying from here to here." and you're like "Ok but where is here? And where is here?" You kind of just have to go with it and trust that Mark's gonna tell you to do something that in the end will be a good result. The green screen is really confusing it's like the exact opposite of what I just told you the experience was of stepping onto the sets. Also a lot of the special effects and the fights, there's a lot that's all CGI then there's a lot that we do practically, and the stuff that we do practically is again on a set and we're really fighting, really going at it, so it's a mixture and I think that they did a really good job of keeping the green screen to those four days. We had something called 'pre-vids': a really bad computer generated cartoon of us doing the action, which was sometimes actually more entertaining than the film itself. So you knew, you could reference the pre-vids and see this is the shot that they're trying to accomplish so in that way you could imagine it.

DeHaan as Osborn's alter ego the Green Goblin

Q: Where did you get the musical ideas for the theme?

Marc: The way we did the music was different to any way I'd ever done it. We got an amazing group of musicians, Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Johnny Marr of The Smiths, Mike Einziger the guitarist of Incubus, and they got into a room and sort of jammed for four to five days and basically made a record.

Q: Did you ever have a 'spidey-sense' moment with big challenges you had to overcome with this film?

Matt: One of the biggest challenges we had to overcome, we all got very excited about because Electro was gonna be a big villain in the movie, was the idea of Times Square being the epicentre of where electricity happens in the middle of Manhattan. The writers got to work and wrote a huge set piece to do with Spider-Man confronting Electro in Times Square but it turns out you can't actually do that in Times Square which became our problem. The 'spidey-sense' moment, which was actually not a moment but like six months, was trying to figure out how to literally recreate Times Square on the back of a soundstage in Long Island, outdoors in the cold at night for weeks. It was spectacular and Mark had to actually figure out what that looked like, the dimensions of it and the sourcing of the light.

Avi: It was shot in the winter, it was freezing and the movie was shot for summer and no one left. I would've left after ten minutes. It was the excitement of recreating Times Square on its own. It was worth it.

Marc Webb directs Andrew Garfield and Dane DeHaan on the set of TASM2

Q: I hear there are more films in the pipeline. How do you consider setting up plot points for future films?

Matt: I think when you see the end of this movie – I mean we always look at every movie as a movie onto itself so there's genuine resolution in this one but also it clearly leads to other ideas and other problems that are frankly growing for Peter Parker.

Q: Do you have any advice on how young people can get into film?

Avi: Look at the DVDs and get seriously into 'The Making Of' and you're gonna feel if it's interesting for you, if it's the kind of thing you really want to do. There are a lot of people who go into our business for all the wrong reasons. So dear reader, read a lot so you understand the story structure. Start falling in love with technology. You play video games so try and understand how they set up these open world games. Read scripts, they're online, they're everywhere.

Marc: Dane, what about you? How did you get into the film business?

Dane: I think the film business itself is kind of an enigma as to how you break into it but I think what's really important and what's really great about everyone here is that it's so important to be really educated about what you're getting yourself into. At the end of the day, the business aspect of this business is highly unpredictable and unreliable and you can't count on that. What you can count on is the work and you can count on learning how to do the work. You can always trust in that because that is a personal journey. So the fact that you're learning how to do it and you're gonna enter the field knowing what you're doing, that's the only thing you can do for yourself. If you focus on that alone I think the work will speak for itself and it will start to open doors.

A selfie with Dane was inevitable right? I had such an invaluable time at the event and learnt so much about what goes into making a blockbuster movie. Hope you enjoyed reading about it too.

Will you be seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 when it hits theatres on the 16th?


Image 1 & 2 via Into Film, Image 3 via Total Film, Image 4 via apnatimepass, Images 5 & 6 via Entertainment Weekly, Image 7 via Just Jared
All other images were taken by me.

13 comments:

  1. oooh, you're always going to such cool events. thank you for always sharing them, love seeing what you're up to :)
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  3. This is an amazing Q&A - everyone gave such insightful answers. And you look tots gorgeous with Dane! x A.

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  4. You do the coolest things! I loved the first Spiderman movie (waaay better than the Tobey Maguire ones!) and I really want to see the second xxx

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