From the start of The Amazing Spider-Man reboot of a big screen Spidey, the franchise never quite felt comfortable with itself and the story it was telling. It never fell naturally into the groove like the first two of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy had (we won't talk about the third). The franchise always felt like a bit of an elaborate showpiece that was meant as a temporary stopgap rather than to exist fully on its own.
In a new interview with Zaki Hasan for his upcoming 99 Homes, Andrew Garfield freely admitted he was never fully comfortable in the role, partly because of how troubled the production was, but also, he accepted, because of himself. When asked what he'd learned about being Spider-Man, he was honest - brutally so:
Well, nothing, because I was never Spider-Man. Because Spider-Man's a fictional character. He's not real. [laughs] You know what's funny, to give you the vulnerable answer, I thought I was going to be Spider-Man, you know? I went into it going...ego shit came in. It's like, "Okay, here it is. I'm f***ing Spider-Man. I f***ing made it." All that shit. [laughs] I didn't actually make it. I was never Spider-Man.
I was the actor that I am. The person that I am. Struggling with trying to match up with something that I'd elevated so high in my mind. Elevated beyond what I could attain, what I could achieve. The great thing is, that's what Peter Parker was doing as well. Peter Parker created this symbol that he couldn't live up to. It was never enough. He never felt enough, and I never felt enough. I never felt like I was able to do enough. And I couldn't rescue those films...even though I didn't sleep. [laughs]
That being said, for fans who want to dismiss Garfield and interpret this as the actor saying he didn't care enough about the role or Spider-Man, he went on to explain that his feeling he couldn't rescue the films was because he cared too much:
And I wanted to...not to say that I needed to rescue those films, but I couldn't make them as deep and soulful and...life-giving as I could ever dream. And I'm never gonna be able to do that, with any film. It was especially difficult in that situation because...well, just because. And it was especially important because that character has always meant so much to me, and you saw that if you saw the Comic Con thing, which, thank you for reminding me about that.
Oh, what might have been. Just imagine what Garfield, with his passion for the character, could have done with Spider-Man had it already been in the hands of Marvel at the time. But c'est la vie.
99 Homes is due in theaters on September 25.