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Denis Leary is a cop whose foe is a superhero in 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

Denis Leary
Denis Leary
Columbia Pictures

“The Amazing Spider-Man” (directed by Marc Webb) is a reboot of the “Spider-Man” movie series that started with the Sam Raimi-directed trilogy of the first “Spider-Man” movies: 2002’s “Spider-Man,” 2004’s “Spider-Man 2” and 2007’s “Spider-Man 3.” For the 2012 “Amazing Spider-Man” reboot, there is a whole new cast: Andrew Garfield is Peter Parker/Spider-Man; Emma Stone is Gwen Stacy (Peter Parker’s love interest); Sally Field and Martin Sheen are Peter’s aunt and uncle May Parker and Ben Parker, who raise Peter after his parents mysteriously disappear; Denis Leary as New York City police captain George Stacy, Gwen’s father; and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, the movie’s chief villain. Here is what Leary said at a New York City press conference for “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Denis Leary at the New York City press junket for "The Amazing Spider-Man"
Getty Images

After being on your long-running TV series "Rescue Me," how was it to be in a superhero movie?

It was awesome! The 3-D cameras sometimes need to take a break, because they're air-conditioned with big rigs. So I'd go back to my trailer and watch sports. It was awesome. It was great.

You have one of the best lines in "The Amazing Spider-Man" when you reference Godzilla. Was that in the script or was it improvised?

It was improvised. Marc is like an actor's director. He made a very small movie called "(500) Days of Summer." It's a terrific movie with a lot of heart. It's an actor's movie. That's what he first described ["The Amazing Spider-Man"] as when I first got on the phone with him.

And he actually stayed true to that description. He was making a character movie that happened to cost a kajillion dollars and have a big blockbuster name and a July 4 release date. But it really was an actor's movie, even in the big action sequences.

In rehearsals and stuff, he was talking about improvising around certain things and certain scenes and play with it. That was one of the scenes that he earmarked. I don't remember what take it was, but we had done a number of different versions of it. It was just myself and Andrew that day with a lot of extras. And we just started playing around with it. And somewhere in the middle, Marc just walked up and said, "What about this?"

I feel like we had about eight or nine takes where we just played with it. Some were my ideas and some were Andrew's ideas. And Marc came up with that line. And I said, "Let's shoot it." And I don't know what they did from there, if they tested all the takes or decided in the editing room.

You've played a New York City cop. You've played a New York City fireman. Can you tell us what are some of the best experiences you've had with real people in either job?

There are too many to mention with firefighters. I was on a show called "The Job" for ABC, which was based on the real life of a detective who I knew, who was my technical adviser on "The Thomas Crowne Affair." The guy was clean and sober when I was working with him on the television show, but he had been a pillhead and kind of a mess and had a mistress while he was married. And that's what the show was about.

And I was standing with Lenny Clarke, who was an actor in that show, outside of a steakhouse after we had just eaten dinner. And a detective who was on the job, who was undercover, he was obviously scouting a guy across the street, and he had a radio thing. He saw us and he said, "Thanks a lot. Now my wife is really pissed. She found out about my girlfriend." I thought that summed it up.

For more info: "The Amazing Spider-Man" website

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