Friday, July 21, 2006

Gwen Stacey Knows

Bless you Daniel Fienberg for your interview with Bryce Dallas Howard at More importantly, bless you Bryce Dallas Howard for saying exactly why Spider-Man will still be the dominent superhero franchise long after all these other sad compromised franchises find their way directly to video with "X-men 4, Gambit's Boogaloo" and "Fantastic Four 3: The Thing Meets The Shmoo." Bryce sums it all up better than most and remember, this is someone who is coming in as a supporting character in the third movie. The way she talks about the experience, it's like it was "The Godfather" or "The Lord of The Rings" and that's fine with me, because when it comes to the Superhero Genre, it is.

"I have to say I had the most unbelievable time doing 'Spider-Man 3' because everyone who's involved with that film has so much integrity and their hearts are in exactly the right place and they only want to tell a story that's the most entertaining, that's the most moral story and, ultimately, the most artistically compelling, because they have opportunity here to make a movie that they know people will show up to, so they're like, 'OK, we're not gonna sit back here and just sorta ride this. We're gonna really push ourselves,'" Howard raves, somewhat breathlessly.

She continues, "And Sam is at the center of that. What's fascinating about how he works is he's really like, 'This is a team effort. Let's go, go, go.' And it's like he's the camp counselor and he's got all of the kids at camp and he's just wrangling them and letting all the kids play in all the different ways they want to play and it's just pulling the best from everyone, whereas with Night (M. Night Shyamalan) , it's truly, everything comes from him, with Sam, lets everyone come up with everything and then he makes choices and so ultimately it is like The Sam Raimi Film, but everyone has their fingerprint on that film."

The Gwen Stacy character is a fan favorite from the "Spider-Man" comic. She is Peter Parker's first love and one of the pivotal presences for the early days of the franchise. Although many of Stacy's story details have already been appropriated for Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane, Howard promises that distinctive aspects of the character remains.

She also says that she feels no pressure taking on the iconic role.
"Not a pressure, but a responsibility and a joyful responsibility," she says. "It was so great for me to go through all of the comic books and read everything and brainstorm with everyone like, 'OK. How can we bring this woman to life in a way that will both be surprising and appropriate and will fulfill people's expectations.'"

Several attempts to get Howard to expand on what Stacy's part in movie will be are quickly thwarted by laughter and the matter-of-fact response, "I can't say."

Her final word on the subject is encouraging, though. "If you're a fan of 'Spider-Man,' I can confidently say you'll be satisfied."
This is the secret ingredient, the special recipe to make a successful franchise based on a genre character. True belief and love for your subject and a healthy knowlledge of what really makes your property tick. Raimi understands that Spider-man is about fighting for what is right, not what you want. It's about Peter Parker grasping for the sky and being happy with only the little victory here and there. Most of all, it's about guilt. Spider-man works best in pain and emotional despair. Poor Peter, his fans are his worst enemy.

Now ask your self, if Michael Bay really, really understands Optimus Prime. Nope. All he sees is a big honking robot and dollar signs. That is why the DC animated series will be around for ever and Ultimate Avengers will be $3.99 in the Blockbuster bargin bin in a few months. Hey Hollywood!! Ask Bryce! She knows what makes it work!

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