'The Amazing Spider-Man' Director Marc Webb Talks Nerdy Peter Parker And Practical Web-Swinging

Let's get this out of the way: yes, the teaser trailer for Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man has leaked. No, I'm not going to post it. It is a cam recording and the quality is not very good at all. If you really want to see it now, I'm sure you can track down a copy. For now let's satiate the desire for new info on the film with the first comments the director has given on the record about his new approach to the classic Marvel Comics character.

We know that The Amazing Spider-Man is essentially a reboot, with Andrew Garfield taking over the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man from Tobey Maguire, who played the character in the three Sam Raimi films. We know that this film intends to get back to the roots of the character somewhat by positioning him as a skinny, smart outsider kid in high school. Below, read comments from Marc Webb in which he explicitly defines the approach he took to making the new screen version of the hero, and where he talks about making the action in this film different from what we saw in the Sam Raimi movies.

The director talked to the LA Times and said quite a few things that increased my anticipation for the film. The fact that we've seen homemade web shooters in photos from the film suggest that this take goes back to the early Lee/Ditko stories in which Parker's status as a budding scientist is emphasized. That's where Marc Webb starts when talking about the character:

Peter Parker is a science whiz. If you look back to the early Stan Lee and Steve Ditko comics, he's a nerd with big glasses. The idea of what a nerd is has changed in 40 or 50 years. Nerds are running the world. Andrew Garfield made a movie [called "The Social Network"] about it. Nerds are no longer pariahs and knowing how to write computer code is longer a [mocked] quality. What was important in those early comics was this notion that Peter Parker is an outsider and how we define that in a contemporary context.

Hopefully we'll see the mixture of self-doubt and exuberance that has always been particular to the character. As he says,

The 90-pound weakling, that's who Spider-Man is when he gets bit. So much of the DNA of the character is the fact that he was a kid when he got bit. He is imperfect, he is immature and has a bit of a punk rock instinct. In his soul he's still a 90-pound weakling even after [the transformative bite].

Creating and capturing Spider-Man's movement was a big deal, as well, and a chance to set this version apart from the three previous films:

One of the things we tried to do was keep the stunts more grounded physically and that was a huge challenge because you have a character whose abilities are superhuman. How do you do that in a way that's convincing and real?... We spent months and months and months developing rigs so he could swing in a way that wasn't computer-generated. Obviously there's going to be enhancements and CG [sequences], but it's based in a physical reality and that's a new technique [for this film brand].

Ironically,the web-swinging you'll see in the teaser trailer is from Spidey's POVand therefore necessarily CGI-assembled. But it looks pretty good, and I'm looking forward to seeing the realization of the practical effects as we see more footage from the film, hopefully later this week.