SPIDER-MAN at 50: This is the 50th anniversary of the Marvel icon and all year Hero Complex will talk to notable names about the character’s success and singular appeal.
Denis Leary didn’t grow up loving Spider-Man — when he picked up a comic book it was usually about Gotham City — but the co-star of “The Amazing Spider-Man” said that in recent years he has come to appreciate the Marvel web-slinger’s everyman aura and hard-luck saga.
“I never read Spider-Man comics as a kid,” Leary confessed. “I was always more of a Batman guy. But my wife has always loved the Spider-Man character and found the working class ethos, the young teenager turning into a man melodrama and his orphan back story intriguing — as did I once she’d introduced me to the series. He’s far from a billionaire and he’s born of this world — it’s a struggle that’s easy to identify with.”
The Emmy-nominated actor got an intense crash course in the character’s mythology while filming Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” which arrives in theaters July 3 with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as his love interest, Gwen Stacy. Leary portrays New York City Police Capt. George Stacy — the father of Gwen — an intense but high-integrity lawman and a key figure in Webb’s revamped Hollywood interpretation of the iconic Marvel character.
Asked whether he has a favorite moment in the vast mythology of Spider-Man, Leary went straight to the birth moment of his own character.
“‘Amazing Spider-Man,’ Volume 1, #56 from 1968,” Leary said. “It includes the introduction of George Stacy. Without that issue I ain’t getting cast into a Spider-Man movie.”
Maybe, although there may be reason to believe the hand of destiny was involved in Leary’s casting: “A good friend of mine — comedian and actor Jeff Garlin, who I’ve known for about 90 years — said when he first met me that I reminded him of George Stacy,” Leary said. “True story. We were in our 20s at the time and I thought he was insane. After I got a call from director Marc Webb asking me to play the part, I called Jeff and filled him in on the news. His response? ‘You never listen to me! Ever!'”
— Geoff Boucher
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