When reprising her role as promising young scientist Gwen Stacy in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” opening Friday, Emma Stone had to look no further than her family tree for motivation. Stone's aunt is “a really brilliant scientist,” working in vaccines.
Gwen Stacy is the love interest of Peter Parker and his alter-ego Spider-Man, played by Andrew Garfield who is also reprising his role from the 2012 reboot.
“I love the character of Gwen so much, and it was so nice to modernize her from the comics and to bring her to the woman that she is in this movie,” Stone said during a taped round table discussion.
Gwen Stacy isn't the only character changing in this second of four Spider-Man movies planned. Garfield, as well as the new villains, are either evolving or transforming themselves, or meeting dark fates, in this latest installment as the franchise moves forward.
“I felt a kinship to the character since I was 3 years old,” Garfield said of Spider-Man during the roundtable discussion. “I feel the beauty of him is that he is... an every man. He is very ordinary as Peter Parker, and he's struggling with the same things we all struggle with.”
In “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” the web-head has to take on fan-turned-foe Max “Electro” Dillon (Jamie Foxx) and friend-turned-foe Harry “Green Goblin” Osborn (Dane DeHaan). Paul Giamatti also appears in the movie as the mechanical menace Rhino.
After a freak accident with genetically altered eels, lonely, awkward Dillon becomes Electro, a neon-blue, pulsating madman with the power of lightning brewing inside him.
“Imagine dipping me in blue candle wax, and then the blue becomes a blue screen,” Foxx said at the roundtable. “People think it's all computer-generated, and toward the end (of the movie), it is, but for the most part, they were shooting me or my stunt double in a suit.”
DeHaan begins the movie as young, handsome tycoon. But his need for Spider-Man's blood to reverse a hereditary disease ultimately leads him to become the hideous lunatic Green Goblin.
“Harry is someone who was born into such extreme wealth,” DeHaan said at the roundtable. “He's probably the richest kid in the world. He's always been able to buy everything he ever wants. All of a sudden... he can't buy his life.
“You can look at it as a really huge temper tantrum. He wants to live and he doesn't understand he can't get the only thing he's ever needed.”
Though menacing on-screen, off-screen Foxx and DeHaan have joined the film's heroes Stone and Garfield and other cast and crew members in partnering with Earth Hour, a global movement organized by World Wide Fund for Nature, which hopes to utilize Spider-Man as a symbol for green initiatives and more eco-friendly practices. Each of the principal cast members are sponsoring a different Earth-friendly initiative.
“I'm proud Spider-Man is the first superhero ambassador for Earth Hour because he shows we can all be superheroes when we realize the power we all have,” Garfield wrote.
“Earth Hour is a movement that has created massive impact around the world, so imagine what we can do this year with Spider-Man by our side.”
Follow Adam Poulisse on Twitter: AdamPoulisse