The cast of The Amazing Spider-Man, due in theaters July 3, recently sat down in New York City to promote the movie—and, while doing so, revealed some (relatively spoiler-free) facts about the movie that you wouldn’t know from watching. For example:
1. Spider-Man is not director Marc Webb’s favorite character in the movie.
“I’m a big fan of Spider-Man,” said Webb, “but I’m an even bigger fan of Peter Parker.” Webb, whose only previous feature-film directing credit was the rom-com (500) Days of Summer, made a conscious decision to hold off on the big, impressive web-swinging scene until later in the movie than expected, allowing plenty of time to flesh out Peter’s character.
2. Sally Field and Martin Sheen drew on real life, not comics, to play Aunt May and Uncle Ben.
Martin Sheen, in the role of Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, had to play a man struggling to cope with the rebellious teenage boy in his family—and he drew on his own fatherly experience to get it right. “I have some familiarity with raising kids and grandkids,” he said—though he joked that his own efforts were not always successful.
Asked if she read comics as a child, Sally Field, who plays Peter Parker’s Aunt May, read “the girl ones.” Archie and Little Lulu were some favorites. But there were “boy” comics in the house: her brother, who’s a physicist, was a fan.
3. One of Captain Stacy’s best lines wasn’t in the script.
A Denis Leary-uttered zinger that garnered screening guffaws—watch for a quip about another famous movie lizard—was the product of on-set improvisation, said Leary. The team was playing around in that particular scene, doing lots of takes and trying different versions. But even though Leary is a practiced comic, he didn’t come up with the line. Director Marc Webb was the one who said “what about…?” (Another great line was improvised too: Gwen Stacy’s desperate—and successful—attempt to keep her father out of her bedroom.)
4. Emma Stone shares her character’s interest in biology.
Stone was homeschooled, so her science education didn’t involve lab reports and Bunsen burners—but a bout with bad acne, and the desire to understand the biology behind it, led the actress to get interested in science. With the help of an aunt and uncle who worked for Merck, she was able to check out a lab, and even wanted to intern, which is exactly what Gwen Stacy does with her interest in biology. So why didn’t she? Only college graduates were being considered for the job. “I don’t like the word smart anymore, because what does smart mean?” Stone said. “Does it mean that you’re able to learn or does it mean that you graduated college?”
(MORE: 10 Questions for Stan Lee)
5. “Heroine” by the Velvet Underground was playing on set during an important scene.
Welsh actor Rhys Ifans said there were no rock-and-roll influences in his character, Dr. Curt Connors—at least on screen. Behind the scenes, though, director Marc Webb kept up a good soundtrack, including the Velvet Underground track, which played on set while filming the scene where the movie’s villain emerges.
6. A date-night scene with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone was cut from the movie.
Andrew Garfield, who said that he received a nice email from former-Spidey Tobey Maguire when he was cast, also said that filming action scenes and filming romance scenes are both scary (even considering his real-life romance with co-star Emma Stone)—but that kissing is more frightening than killing. “I felt more safe when I was swinging around,” he said, noting that at least there’s a harness during the action scenes. But audiences won’t get to see a chunk of the on-screen love story that scared him so much because the date scene between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy was cut during editing.
But the clear winner of the award for best Spider-Man fact came from Director Marc Webb:
7. Stan Lee kept trying to add lines for his cameo.
Stan Lee, the comic-book maven behind the original Spider-Man, appears in a brief cameo in the movie—that’s no surprise, considering that Lee appears in many other Marvel movies (most recently as “Old Man in TV Report” in The Avengers). But even though Lee’s cameo is silent, he pushed hard for a line, according to director Marc Webb. “The first thing when we sat down, he was like, ‘so let’s talk about my cameo,’” Webb said. “He kept trying to add lines.”
And what was the line he wanted to say? “Oh, Dostoevsky. He’s like the Russian Stan Lee.”