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INT: Tobey Maguire


As he's proven two times over now (with soon to be a third), Peter Parker is the role Tobey Maguire was born to play... But you wouldn't know it from his previous acting credits. With movies like PLEASANTVILLE, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, and WONDER BOYS, it's obvious the guy's got talent, who woulda thunk he'd make a great crime-fighting superhero? In SPIDER-MAN 3 though, he once again continues to do just that – this time even getting the chance to show a darker side to the character. If you thought Spidey had some major hardships to deal with during the first two go-rounds, you haven't seen anything yet. Find out more for yourself when the movie hits theaters this Friday, May 4 (you can read my review HERE). recently got the chance to chat it up with the masked web-slinger at the Four Seasons Hotel in LA, where he showed up in full costume while swinging in through a building window. OK, I'm lying, but that would've been cool, right? So, no, Tobey didn't do any wall-crawling or anything like that, but he did discuss his thoughts on coming back for another movie, as well as how playing this character has changed his life. Admittedly, despite his pleasant and humorous attitude, it was fairly apparent that he didn't want to be there at the junket. I can't really blame him though, as he himself discusses what type of stuff you have to deal with doing never-ending promotions on movies this big. You can read all about this and more by continuing on below...

Tobey Maguire

So what was it like coming back for a third time? Being the man behind the spider once again?

The man behind the spider. I'm not quite sure what that means, but I had a good time on the movie. [Laughs] I love it. I love working with the cast and the crew and especially with Sam [Raimi]. So it was great coming back and I really felt like in this movie it was definitely the continuing story of Peter Parker and the other characters, but we were exploring new territory for the character. So it was exciting for me to venture into some different areas.

Was it a whole new character playing the dark side to Peter Parker?

It's not a new character. It's a new side to Peter Parker and something that I think is kind of unexpected to see, Peter Parker behaving in some of the ways that he behaves. It was a lot of fun and it was a lot of work for Sam and I to go over it and really think about and discuss the right tone for that part of the movie.

Did you watch John Travolta in 'Saturday Night Fever' for the dance sequence?

Well, I saw that a long time ago, but I didn't watch it or reference him for the movie.

So it wasn't like an intentional homage to that?

Not from my point of view. I recognize some of the similarities. I will say though, that he was cooler. [Laughs]

Did you have to work with a choreographer or a dance instructor?

Yeah. I worked with some people, a choreographer and some other people – you know, a couple of dance people – and the inside part was pretty much all choreographed and then the outside, the basic idea of it was choreographed, and then we kind of riffed on that and had fun from there.

Was the dancing challenging or at all awkward for you?

Well, first of all, that was Peter Parker dancing. [Laughs] Not Tobey. It really is like a thing where Peter thinks that he's super cool and suave and really he's a cornball. So we were making fun of that and having fun and our aim was to have people laughing. So I had that in mind while I was dancing.

With some of the comedic scenes that you have on this movie, and then, we've heard about how funny you are on set…

[Jokingly] Extremely funny. I'm so funny.

We haven't seen you in a lot of comedies onscreen. Do you want to tackle one of those eventually?

I don't know. I want to work in all kinds of movies and so I would love to do a good comedy, and it was fun. It was a lot of fun. It was fun to do this with Sam. I think that he has a great sense of humor and so we had a blast doing that.

Sam said that the evil Spidey scenes were the hardest for him to do. Do you feel the same?

Well, I probably had the most fun doing those scenes myself. I've heard Sam say that before too and I'm not quite sure that I've ever believed him though. I feel like it's both ways. I think that he's attracted to it and repulsed by it at the same time. I think that it's hard for him to see Peter behave in those ways because it's like his treasured character of Peter sort of straying off course and so I do think that he has a genuine reaction to that. But also I think that we both get a little pleasure out of seeing Peter like that.

Now that you've done the three movies and knowing that Sony is going to probably make 4, 5 and 6, the big question is will you come back for 'Spider-Man 4?'

Well, if there was a great story there and there was something interesting for Peter Parker to do, like a storyline that I love for Peter Parker, and Sam was involved and the right cast was in place, at that point I would consider it.

So if Sam didn't come back you wouldn't consider coming back?


Comments appeared in the news where you said that you couldn't see yourself doing a part four...

I'm not sure.

So that's not what you're saying now?

That's not what I'm saying now. I think that early on through one and two I thought, or always imagined, that it was going to be three and out. I would do three films and that would be enough of those, and I'm not saying that I will do a fourth one at all. I'm saying that I'm not really committed either way and we'll see what happens.

Where do you see your career going from here now that you're known worldwide? You're in a position now that you never were before.

I just hope to have opportunities to make good movies with good filmmakers. I don't really have a specific path of direction that I want to go on or even types of roles or movies that I want to do. I want to do everything with great people.

Just as an actor or as a producer or...?

Yeah, all of it. Whatever.

Do you ever get concerned that you'll only be seen as Spider-Man now?

I'm not really concerned about it as long as I have opportunities to make other types of movies. I mean, certainly I'm identified with this film or with this character and I don't think that's going to go away any time soon. So I'm not fighting that or resisting it. As long as I get to make some other movies I'm fine with that.

Sam Raimi talked about your character development using a lot of spiritual terms. Did you appreciate those spiritual characteristics coming out in this film?

Well, I guess if you're talking about the imagery you should talk to Sam and Bill Pope, the director and cinematographer. For me, from my department, I wasn't thinking about it in those terms really although there is definitely deep remorse, I think, on Peter's part. I think that he feels like he lost his way and he's really remorseful and feels really humbled and wants to stop behaving in that way and it's difficult for him and emotional. I think about it from the character's perspective and not really in religious terms. It's more about psychological and emotional terms that I'm thinking.

Could you identify with some of the things that Peter went through in this film, with the success going to his head and things like that?

I think that Peter and I react differently to that aspect of it. He's really kind of loving it and bathing in it and getting that kind of arrogance and self-importance. To me, I enjoyed playing it and I thought it was funny and fun to do personally. We just have different experiences.

You have a great emotional arc in this with Kirsten Dunst and you've sort of come up as a movie couple together. Did it flow really easily this time or was it harder?

It flowed pretty easily for me. Just the whole movie in general I had a good time on and I felt really at ease during the whole shooting process and working with Kirsten is great. I love what she brings to the role and to the movie. So it was always a lot of fun.

What have you been able to learn about fatherhood since having your baby?

It's definitely amazing. I love being a dad. I love my daughter. It's amazing. It's like everyone says. All the clichés are true. It's indescribable and you just have to be there to understand it. You don't really get it until you're there.

You've talked about your own childhood troubles in 'Parade.' Do you have any advice to kids today who might find themselves in similar situations?

It's hard to say. I think that each and every individual experience is so different. I was fortunate enough to find different people along the way whether it was through movies or books or people that helped buoy me in times when things were a little bit down and I never really wanted to be a victim or kind of wallow in the harder things. I always wanted to move forward and I was very ambitious. I felt like I had a pretty good imagination and vision for my life and I had people telling me that I was driving the vehicle of my life here, that I was the master of my own destiny in a sense. They told me to do whatever I wanted to do.

That scene with Bruce Campbell was hilarious. Was there any adlibbing in your scene with him?

Well, there wasn't really like, adlib. There was a different tone at first to the scene and it was kind of more confrontational and we thought that it would be funny if we were kind of getting along strangely. There were some awkward moments, but I thought that it would be a better tone if we were getting along better and Sam's always coming up with gags or different jokes. So I think that everyone was throwing ideas in here and there and it did change up a bit and there is some adlib in there, but that was a lot of fun, and I thought that Bruce was fantastic and the best appearance of the three appearances for him in these movies.

You got to work with Stan Lee in this movie, the creator of the iconic hero. What's your take on him?

I think that what he's done is pretty amazing to me. He created all of these characters, and not just Spider-Man, but a lot of characters that are these huge iconic characters that are really present in Hollywood movies now. So it's pretty interesting and he's an icon himself like his characters are.

This is such a thrilling character for people. What is something that you do in real life for excitement?

Well, I don't know. I like to be very active. I can't say that there is anything that quite compares to swinging around like Spider-Man does. I like to ride bikes and run and scuba dive and do different kinds of sports. I like to play a lot of basketball and kind of normal human being stuff.

There's not one particular adventure sport that you really prefer?

I like all kinds of things. I'll do anything pretty much. I mean, I've never been skydiving or bungy jumping and I don't really see the point for myself in bungy jumping, but I would consider skydiving. Now, however, my fiancé is like, "You're not skydiving." It would be a shame if something happened and I missed my daughter's life. That would be a drag.

Has having a child changed what kind of movies you'll act in?

It may. I don't really know right now. I think that the greatest affect that it'll have is on what the locations of movies are more so than what the content of them are. Although, it might affect my decisions about the content as well, I don't know.

You played a very good ugly American in 'The Good German.' Is that the sort of thing we can expect more from you, characters who are sort of the flipside to Peter Parker?

Not necessarily. I mean, I enjoyed doing that movie and kind of like I said before I don't really have any character in mind or types of characters or types of films. I just want to do everything with people that I really respect and want to work with.

Do you think SPIDER-MAN and its sequels stand as the defining comic book movies out there? What do you think of other comic book films?

For me, no, I think that there is a whole bunch of them. I really like 'Batman Begins.' The first two original 'Superman' movies were great. Tim Burton's 'Batman' was great. I mean, there are a lot of really good ones out there and we're all just trying to make the best films that we can and hopefully live in that world and be peers to those other great ones.

You've been Peter Parker for six years now. Do you think the character has changed with you over the years?

Well, I'm sure that I've changed a lot over the last six years. I'm not quite sure how to separate how I've changed based on the movies over the last six years versus just growing up over the last six years. That's kind of hard for me to answer without manufacturing something.

Someone said that you're a perfectionist. Was that always the case?

I've always been like that. Since before I can remember.

Could you see yourself doing another comic book based character?

I don't think that I'll be playing another iconic superhero from a comic book. I think that would be kind of odd and I'm guessing that it might be kind of hard for audiences to accept me in that way, but sure. I mean, what was that thing with Viggo Mortensen? That was from a graphic novel, wasn't it?

'A History of Violence.'

Yeah, sure. So there are a lot of things that take on a different tone. Like I said though, I wouldn't go be in another film where I was one of these iconic superheroes. I think that would be weird. I don't think that it would work.

During the early fight with Harry Osborn, you fought the whole time without the costume. Was that more complicated?

You know, it's just that they're all kind of similar. I am definitely doing a lot more of that than some of the other stuff, but they are really long and involved processes. I would guess that it's similar, but a little more work for me basically.

Have you had any strange encounters with an overzealous 'Spider-Man' fan?

[Laughs] Yeah. I guess I've had some strange experiences. I can't really think of anything. I just try to block them out after they happen. So I don't remember them. I did have an interview the other day where a guy was wearing Spider-Man tights, which I thought was a bit odd.

Did you say something about them or just ignore it?

It was part of his bit. He had a whole bit with them. He was proud of his Spidey pants. [Laughs]

Was that in Tokyo?

Wait... Was he in Tokyo or was he here? I don't remember. [Laughs]

Is it hard to stay present in all the interviews that you're doing for the movie, and to always know who you're talking to?

Well, I'm very present. So I'm present when I'm in a room, but it's just hard for me to remember how it all worked out.

Or which continent you're on.

Exactly. It is hard saying, considering that if I did a hundred interviews in Tokyo and I'm going to do a hundred to a hundred and fifty here, it's hard to remember exactly who I talked to and in what place because Tokyo is a three day stop where I'm just pounding away.

With the global release date, has that lessened your duties in terms of doing press?

Well, I've been promoting the film since – not as concentrated with as much energy into it as this – but since last year, late last year sometime. I mean, it's constant promotion.

When do you get to take a break from the press? Do you go through May with it?

Well, probably when the film is released the big sweep will be done and there will probably be some follow up stuff for a week or two afterwards and then they'll give me a ring a month or two before the DVD's going to come out.

Can you go anywhere without being recognized?

Can I go anywhere without being recognized? Sure. If I went to a mall, I would definitely be recognized. If I went to an empty restaurant and sat in a certain way I might not be recognized. I mean, it's just kind of what you would probably imagine.

Have you ever been to a party in your suit?

No. I actually don't have a suit. I've had many offers to show up for kid's parties. [Laughter]

That's a whole different kind of fan too – children. How do you respond to kids who see you and think that you're really Spider-Man?

Well, first of all, I love kids and it's a lot of fun interacting with kids, but it's a little confusing sometimes because I want to take the lead from parents. Sometimes parents will want to explain that I'm an actor and sort of the reality of the situation and other parents like to keep the illusion alive. So, that's always a sort of trickier spot and especially the younger they are. I did have a thing where at the time I thought the right thing to do was to explain. The kid asked me and I was honest about it. The kid said, "How do you do that?" I said, "Well, we take the building, the vertical building and turn it on it's back and I'm crawling across it." And the kid was just really bummed out. I was just like shattering his whole thing and then I had to work to get back in there, but we ended up hugging and he was telling me that he was going to miss me and it ended up being really sweet. It ended up being a really sweet thing, but for a while I felt really bad about it.

Out of the three 'Spider-Man' films, which is your favorite?

Right now I feel like this one is my favorite. I'm excited about it. It's fresh. I feel like there are so many great things. It's funnier. It explores new territory. It's probably the most distinctly different of the three films. I thought that '2' was a really, really good movie. The story came together very well and in the first one, I loved the kind of excitement of it and the origin story. Right now though, this is probably my favorite, but that might change.

Got questions? Got comments? Send me a line at: [email protected].




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