‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’: Dane DeHaan explores Harry Osborn’s dark side

May 02, 2014 | 6:44 p.m.

To hear Dane DeHaan tell it, his name was not at the top of the list of performers under consideration to star opposite Andrew Garfield in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

“I had to really approach them,” the actor told Hero Complex in an interview this week about being cast as Peter Parker’s childhood friend Harry Osborn. “They wouldn’t even give me an audition for the movie at first. I really had to fight hard and bang down doors just to get my first audition.”

Fortunately, his persistence paid off. DeHaan brings a twitchy, desperate energy to Harry, whose friendship with Peter is tested in the new film, which arrives in theaters this weekend. Directed like its predecessor, 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” by Marc Webb, the sequel sees Spidey facing off against several foes, including Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich, an Eastern Bloc criminal who becomes the Rhino, and Jamie Foxx’s Electro, who begins the movie as the meek Oscorp employee Max Dillon.

And though Harry at first appears to be on Peter’s side, as the events of the film play out, the heir to the Oscorp fortune finds himself at odds with Spider-Man.

“He’s certainly a complicated person,” DeHaan, 28, said. “I think he’s very different from a lot of the people I’ve played, but he is just as complicated for sure…. It was my idea from the start about where a Harry Osborn naturally fits in today’s society, [he’s] this hipster trust fund baby of a kid. That just falls in line with the character traits that he always has to have but brings him into modern day and fits him into a part of society that never really existed until just a couple of years ago. That was what I was selling, that was my take on the character.”

A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, DeHaan has enjoyed success playing a number of complicated figures. He won early acclaim on the HBO series “In Treatment,” and on stage, earning an Obie Award in 2010 for an off-Broadway production of “The Aliens.” His film career caught fire with Josh Trank’s “Chronicle,” in which he played one of a trio of teens who suddenly find themselves with superpowers.

Dane DeHaan, left, and Daniel Radcliffe in "Kill Your Darlings." (Sony Pictures Classics)

Dane DeHaan, left, and Daniel Radcliffe in “Kill Your Darlings.” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Turns in films such as “Lawless” and “The Place Beyond the Pines” followed, though it was his work in last year’s “Kill Your Darlings,” the indie drama in which he played Lucien Carr, a real-life figure from the early Beat years who had a formative relationship with a young Allen Ginsberg (portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe), that might have brought him the most big-screen attention to date.

With “Amazing Spider-Man 2,” that might be about to change. Taking over the role of Harry from James Franco, who played the character in director Sam Raimi’s earlier “Spider-Man” trilogy, DeHaan now stands to reach a much wider swath of moviegoers in a role that sees him consumed by his darker impulses (the spoiler-averse might be advised to stop reading now).

By the conclusion of the new movie, written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner, Harry fully enters villain territory, assuming the mantle of the Green Goblin and delivering a devastating, life-changing blow for Peter as Spider-Man. (In Raimi’s trilogy, of course, it was Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn who became the Green Goblin.)

To prepare, DeHaan turned to classic Spider-Man comics for a clearer understanding of Harry’s history on the page.

“Harry Osborn’s been around for 50 years, so there’s a wealth of information,” DeHaan said. “I have the comic when he first appears, and I have the comic where he first becomes the Goblin. I certainly turned to the comics big time to get a feel for who Harry’s been and has to be in the Spider-Man universe in order to honor him. The things that I really latched on to were that he’d always been this rich kid, he’d always try to buy his happiness, he’d had drug problems before in the comics. He is a character that stands the test of time.”

The actor said that he and Garfield spent time collaborating to ensure that Peter and Harry enjoyed an authentic kinship on screen — before Osborn assumes the form of the colorful antagonist.

“It was important to us that the bond between Harry and Peter was very evident,” DeHaan said. “Their dads worked together when they were kids, and that’s how they knew each other – I think it was the kind of thing where the dads would go off working and we would be left to our own devices, so I think in many ways we were closer to each other in our childhood than we were to our own fathers. We just wanted that relationship to be clear.

“We got to know each other pretty fast, but we also spent some time apart – because we also haven’t seen each other in a long time,” the actor continued. “It was a fine line to form the relationship but once we were on set, it just depended on the day. We were either getting along great or trying to kill each other.”

Dane DeHaan takes flight as the Green Goblin in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." (Sony Pictures)

Dane DeHaan takes flight as the Green Goblin in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” (Sony Pictures)

To play the Green Goblin, DeHaan spent roughly three-and-a-half hours in the makeup chair, and it took an additional hour to put on the Goblin suit, which weighed roughly 50 pounds. “It’s kind of uncomfortable but also the coolest thing in the world at the same time,” DeHaan said. “It’s totally worth it. People are like, ‘Oh, that must have been so hard.’ But not really – I was the Green Goblin! It was amazing.”

Although reviews of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” have been mixed, industry tracking suggests that the movie could take in roughly $95 million in its North American debut weekend, which must come as good news to Sony given the studio’s plans to expand the comic-book film franchise beyond just the future “Spider-Man” sequels set to open in 2016 and 2018.

New movies about Spidey’s nemesis Venom and the collective of villains known as the Sinister Six are also in the works, but DeHaan won’t say whether he’s definitely set to take part.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I think it’s obvious at the end of this movie that they’re setting up for something bigger — and I certainly can’t wait to find out what that is,” he said.

– Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex


Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone film an action scene on location for the film "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" on June 4, 2013 in New York City. (Aby Baker/Getty Images)Andrew Garfield: ‘This is the Spider-Man I want to be.’

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6 Responses to ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’: Dane DeHaan explores Harry Osborn’s dark side

  1. Sheldon Wiebe says:

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 makes Spider-Man 3 look good.

    • Tyler says:

      Haha. That’s such a tough call. I don’t know which one I think is worse. The only redeemable qualities are Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Garfield is a better Spider-Man, I gotta say. But yes, this movie is so bad my girl and I felt like leaving. We never do that.

  2. Fred Barnett says:

    DeHaan stole the film. He should do the Sinatra Bio pic and skip this juvenile crap.

  3. Russel Mist says:

    Well I think it’s a good thing that they gave the role to Mr. Dan DeHaan, his Harry Osborn is freaking amazing and cool. I think no one is just as perfect as he is in the role. It’s a nice catch for the movie’s outcome which have been so great and amazing, his version really justifies the character’s twist at the end

  4. Charlotte says:

    Well as an all round general movie lover i thought it was great!

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