Late last month, as the crew of candidates reportedly up to replace Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in "Spider-Man" left many fans feeling underwhelmed, one of those delightful Internet campaigns cropped up out of nowhere. A random comment on Gawker's i09 website suggested that "Community" co-star Donald Glover should nab the part of the web-slinging wonderboy. And just like that, another Net meme was born.
A Facebook support page appeared, the Twitterverse picked up the thread and the mainstream media took note. So did Glover himself, an African-American comedian who doesn't exactly fit the profile for the Parker we've come to know since his creation in the pages of Marvel in the early '60s.
And that, surely, was part of the appeal. But it would be both reductive and highly unfair to suggest the grassroots campaign was a result of anything other than the fact that Glover's got a vocal fanbase that thinks he's the right guy to slip into those Spidey tights.
In his first public comments about the "Glover for Spider-Man" movement, the 27-year-old actor spoke about the support from fans, the backing of "Spider-Man" creator Stan Lee and whether any of this might lead to an actual audition.
MTV News: Are you surprised by the "Spider-Man" support and how it blew up?
Donald Glover: I was floored. I was really floored. It literally started like, "Who doesn't want to play Spider-Man? That would be cool." The amount of support and people e-mailing me, calling me — I think that's really cool that people have that much faith in me. ... That's crazy that people were like, "Yeah, that guy would make a good Peter Parker." I think that's pretty cool, and I'm happy. It did come out of nowhere. I was very flattered.
MTV: I think people also responded because you took part in it. What inspired you to Photoshop that image of your head on Spider-Man's body?
Glover: I didn't.
MTV: You didn't? The Web seems to think you did.
Glover: I know the Web thinks I did that. Somebody did that last year as a joke, like, "I think you'd make a good Spider-Man," and he sent me that. And then when the Spider-Man thing started, I posted it. I'm not that good. I wish I was that good. I'm somewhat proficient at MS Paint.
MTV: Has there been one Photoshopped image or tweet or something in particular that you've really gotten a kick out of?
Glover: The one that had me on the floor rolling — there's one with me as Peter Parker, Aubrey Plaza as Mary Jane and Danny Glover as Uncle Ben. It's poorly done, but it's hilarious to me. I always thought Morgan Freeman would be better, but people are like, "You've got the same last name, you got to do that." It was just funny-looking. My body is all messed up.
MTV: The support has been coming not only from fans, but from people like Stan Lee and "Ultimate Spider-Man" author Brian Michael Bendis.
Glover: I was very surprised but also humbled. They didn't have to do that. Everybody could have been like, "I want to be Spider-Man." If you had gone back in time and told 8-year-old me that one day Stan Lee is going to call you a fine actor, I'd probably jump out a window. It's pretty cool. I'm wondering what he saw when he was like, "That guy's a fine actor."
MTV: Did you grow up a comics fan?
Glover: I was really into comic books as a kid. I used to make comic books when I was in first grade and sell them for a penny. I got in trouble for it, actually. I was always really into Spider-Man. I love his backstory of feeling responsible for his uncle's death.
MTV: Lately we've seen Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia, Jaden Smith step into the "Karate Kid" role, Angelina Jolie maybe starring as Cleopatra and even Megan Fox saying she wants to play a Native American superhero. What do you make of this increasing shift between fictional characters and actors of various races and ethnicities?
Glover: I think it's good that people aren't hopefully thinking about that sort of stuff. I don't think people are trying to make statements or anything like that. Actors want to play cool parts, and I think that's always been the case. I think it's awesome that people are not asking any questions and just being like, "I want to do this. This would be fun, right?" And I think that's the heart of acting, which is just pretending.
MTV: Could all this grassroots support lead to an audition?
Glover: I really don't know. I haven't asked or anything like that. It's not something where I'm knocking on someone's door or anything like that. I think it's very cool that people want me to do it. I work for Sony. I'm a big fan of Spider-Man. I'm glad that people are talking about the new reboot because I think it's going to be awesome, regardless of whether I'm in it or not. Whatever happens, happens. I'm not vying for it.
MTV: But it's definitely been fun.
Glover: If the biggest thing that comes out of this is two "Spider-Man" fake covers with my face on them, that's way more than I could ever hope for.
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