‘Spider-Man’ star: ‘We’re reclaiming the poetry of the hero’

Aug. 12, 2011 | 3:30 p.m.
rhys ifans Spider Man star: Were reclaiming the poetry of the hero

Rhys Ifans (Pascal Guyot/AFP)

“The Amazing Spider-Man” swings into theaters in July 2012  and actor Rhys Ifans will play the film’s main menace, Dr. Curt Connors, a.k.a. the Lizard, a laboratory creation that is both scary and scaly.  The 44-year-old native of Wales was in the news today: The Wrap reported that San Diego prosecutors won’t pursue a misdemeanor battery charge against him for allegedly shoving a guard just before his on-stage appearance at Comic-Con International (through a spokesman the actor has said he “deeply regretted” the incident). Our Geoff Boucher sat down with Ifans in San Diego (about an hour before the Comic-Con kerfuffle) and we’ll be posting parts of the interview in the weeks to come.

GB: Marc Webb was a surprise pick to direct this film — his only other feature was “(500) Days of Summer” — but he has some bold ideas for taking Spider-Man into new areas on screen. How was the shoot for you and working with Webb? 

RI: The shoot was phenomenal. It was a dream come true really. A franchise that has such gravitas as this — it’s all eyes on you — and what Marc has done is very exciting. Not to be disparaging to the other movies at all but they were kind of going a certain way and Marc has rolled it back to its delicate, human domesticity. Spider-Man is a working-class hero. He’s an everyman. And I think Marc as a director and Andrew in his performances are doing special — we’re reclaiming the poetry of the hero and of the story.

spider man no 6 Spider Man star: Were reclaiming the poetry of the heroGB: The best Marvel villains have shadings of tragedy to their story and persona. They’re not simple mustache-twirling bad guys. That’s reflected in this new version of the Lizard I would imagine… 

RI: Absolutely, Curt Connors is by no stretch an evil villain. He’s not like the Batman villains, like the Joker, who are the embodiment of evil. Curtis Connors is a great man who makes a bad decision.  That’s the whole magic of the Spider-Man idea. These people are the embodiment of our flaws and our desires that lead to tragedy. Curt Connors is a man with one arm and he wants to grow his arm back. He has access to a science that can enable that. But he has to make a moral decision, an ethical decision, to achieve that. In a story both he and Peter Parker are presented with these amazing abilities, and it’s about this gift that life gives us. More than any other super-hero, Spider-Man presents us with something very local in its ethics. It’s not messianic. It’s far more tangible. He is, again, a working-class hero.

GB: Beyond comics, your role would seem to tap into that grand tradition of characters who go too far to tamper with nature or science, such as Dr. Frankenstein or Dr. Jekyll…

RI: Absolutely. It’s the human condition in flux — in physical flux but in moral and emotional flux as well. The teenage state, interestingly, is a state of flux too, it’s riddled with hormones and change, and Spider-Man more than any other hero is a metaphor for puberty. I feel bad for him. I’d never want to get my first [erection] in that costume. But you have a hero and a villain in flux and not all of it is science fiction.

— Geoff Boucher


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11 Responses to ‘Spider-Man’ star: ‘We’re reclaiming the poetry of the hero’

  1. Cameron says:

    Well at least he doesn't sound drunk. This movie will be amazing!

  2. LOOSE CANNON says:

    You forgot to ask him what he was drinking.

  3. Artie Simek says:

    "We're reclaiming the poetry of the hero." Yeah. That kind of PR talk is a great signal of what to expect…

  4. BobMann says:

    Wow saying things like that make me feel a lot more hopeful for a movie than when people say things like; This movie is going to be ACTION PACKED!!

  5. Jack says:

    I'm sure he will ruin the film considering this guy is a horrible actor who even some how managed to ruin Charlie Kauffman script!! I find it funny how they don't mention his rant at Comic Con about how much he hates United States! I will never support any film this dirthead actor is ever in. If u don't like our country GET THE F**CK OUTTA HERE!!! But I bet he loves American money though!!

  6. bill says:


    • lololee24 says:

      How about this…How about (you) find something other to do with your time, and the rest of us will go and see this movie. I don't like Emma Stone, but that's not going to stop me from seeing this film. I like the cast minus Emma and I like the director. So you boycott this film, and that will free up more leg and arm room for me at the theater. I would love for you not to see this movie, that why I don't have to listen to you Beep while I'm watching the movie. :)

  7. Jason Thorne says:

    If I’m not mistaken, this will be the first movie that Rhys Ifans will have an American accent in.

  8. Tucker says:

    A new Spider-Man. A new beginning. Times change. We need to change as well.

  9. Mike says:

    Another Spider-Man origin story? And the Lizard as well? No thanks.

  10. lololee24 says:

    I love Andrew Garfield as an actor and believe he will do this film justice. However, I don't like Emma Stone or any of her work. I find it very difficult to get through anything she's in. I really enjoyed Zombieland until she hit the screen, I enjoyed the girl who played her little sister and the entire cast but her, I couldn't stand to watch. I like the Help, don't like her in it. I liked Love, hate, and blah blah, with Steve Carrell, but again I did not like her. I don't think she's sexy, charming, interesting, clever, talented. or even a joy to watch on screen. I'll also say this, she and Andrew have zero chemistry on screen and yes, I've heard the two are an Item (that won't last of course) but that has nothing to do with on screen chemistry, none of which those two have. But the film looks wonderful in promo clips, minus Emma's role of course.

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