I have to admit, like many Spidey fans, I was a bit puzzled at the casting of Emma Stone as the new Gwen Stacy in this summer's The Amazing Spider-Man instead of the new Mary Jane Watson. Stone's outgoing real-life personality and signature dyed red hair make her a natural choice for MJ, but I have no doubt she'll be able to pull off Gwen as well.
In a new interview for NBC Chicago's Popcorn Biz, Stone and director Marc Webb offer their detailed takes on how Gwen will be portrayed in the new film. When asked about what they're hoping to explore in the relatioship between Gwen and Peter Parker, Webb remarks, "The way that Peter Parker eventually learns about sacrifice through Gwen Stacy, but in order to adequately learn that lesson you have to feel that really strong bond. Something for me I think in terms of what we set out to do with this relationship, specifically between Peter and Gwen, I mean, you remember, like, the first time that you meet a girl in high school and that you get to share things with that person that you might not have shared with any other people, that creates a bond and an intensity that I think has a lot of currency. When you get that opportunity to be honest and open with somebody for the first time and share things about yourself that you haven't been able to share things that you haven't been able to before, things that you might be scared of or ashamed about, that's really exhilarating, and I think that's something that people will really identify with. That was something that was fun about the relationship, and then in terms of Gwen as a character, she's really smart. She's got this scientific quality, and maybe you can speak more to this, but she's in sort of a weird position, stuck between the different men in her life."
Stone appears to agree, adding, "Yeah, her duty to her father and her duty to her boyfriend, because she's a real confidant for him. Their intimacy is such an incredible element, and I think that Gwen has been in control her whole life. She's the oldest daughter of a police chief, who is constantly terrified that her father is going to die everyday. She has to have an element of being smart because she has to be. She's a valedictorian because she has to be. She has to take care of things and be responsible for her family and I think that being able to let go and trust somebody who puts themselves in the face of death of everyday, too, that's like, great, now she's drawn to another person that could die at any moment and she has to keep his secret and pick and choose between her first love which is her father, of course, like every girl. That's the first man in your life and then her first boyfriend. So, it's a pretty complex situation for Gwen, and there's a lot of, I think, sadness and fear in her life combined with the fact that she's outwardly confident and strong and smart and takes no bullshit. She's soft and seventeen underneath it all. There's a great source of drama, and Gwen is at the center of this in a lot of ways – there's competing ideas of what's good. These people, everybody's heart is in the right place, but they execute their plans in different ways and that goes for The Lizard and Curt Connors as well. Gwen in particular is stuck between [her father] the Captain and Peter Parker and Spider-Man who have different ways about going about finding justice in their lives. I think that's a really fun thing to explore in the movie."
On the subject of living up to fan's expectations of Gwen, Stone remarked, "I think initially, definitely. But then you realize that there's just so much material when it comes to Spider-Man. I had done The Help right before this and that was a book, and so there was also that kind of fan base, but that's one book and this is fifty years worth of comic book material. So there're different incarnations of Gwen, and I realized that you can't please everybody and that you were cast because they're hoping that you can bring this character to life in the best way that you know how. So at the end of the day, I hope that people are satisfied. I know that not everybody will be, and that's one of those trials of being human, when you learn that not everybody can like you. It is a tough lesson, isn't it, but it's important and I think hopefully people will be okay with my incarnation."
As for Stone's first exposure to the world of Spider-Man, she admits, "The Sam Raimi trilogy. I didn't read comics growing up. I watched a lot of movies and I guess those were my comic books. So yeah, the trilogy, and then really my exposure increased by becoming affiliated with Spider-Man. When I found out that I was going to audition for Gwen, I looked into the Gwen Stacy story. I was so excited that it was Gwen because when your exposure has been the Sam Raimi trilogy you only really knew about Mary Jane, other than Bryce's [Dallas Howard] in the third version, the third movie, but that's a totally different version of Gwen. So, it was like I had some backstory all of a sudden to the Peter and Mary Jane relationship because he's gone through something so horribly traumatic in his life and has such a sense of guilt that it really added so much to the story. So, I was so excited to get to be a part of bringing that story to life."
The Amazing Spider-Man is scheduled to arrive in theaters on July 3, 2012.