A lot can change when you’re bitten by a radioactive spider. Don’t go testing that theory out for yourself, of course — just go see “The Amazing Spider-Man” on Tuesday (July 3) and see how drastically one pesky little arachnid can alter a man’s destiny.
But for Andrew Garfield, who stars as Peter Parker in the “Amazing” reboot, it wasn’t just his character that was transformed by a spider. Garfield himself did plenty of research into the animals to see how their movements, temperaments and manners of perceiving the world around them might inform his own performance as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, yielding amazing results in the end.
Speaking with MTV News, Garfield credited an old drama school teacher of his with training him to incorporate animal movements into a human performance.
“One of our classes [in drama school] was animal study, where you study those animals and anthropomorphize those animals into human form,” he told MTV News on the red carpet at the “Spider-Man” premiere in Los Angeles on Thursday. “You turn them into characters. Famously, I think Robert De Niro’s character from ‘Taxi Driver’ was anthropomorphized from a crab. I may have just made that up, but it sounds good!”
Luckily for Garfield, he didn’t have to think that far outside the box in deciding upon an animal to study for Peter Parker’s movements.
“I had the most direct link to animal study in the world, that I could have ever used,” he said of how spiders informed his performance. “It helps you play in a different way and use your imagination in a different way. I just watched spiders whenever I saw them and tried to emulate that patience, that stillness. When you apply that to a teenage boy who is jerky, twitchy and anxious, as soon as that DNA gets messed with, you can find a patience and a stillness. They’ll dance differently and use their space differently. It was a fun thing to play with.”
And if there’s another great side effect of Garfield’s spider research, it’s this: He’s not afraid of the creepy little crawlers, not one bit. “I’m fine with spiders,” he said nonchalantly.
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