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Rhys Ifans channels his inner bad boy as the villain in 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans
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 Ifans said at a New York City press conference for “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

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

Did they show you the designs for the Lizard before you took on the role? How early on did you get to see it?

Really early on, way before we started. I was kind of bombarded with visual stimuli throughout, which was very useful.

What made you decide to take on this role?

I was on a little island when a bit of the script came. I heard Sony was behind it and it was kind of a big deal. And then I heard Marc Webb was the director. I'd seen "(500) Days of Summer" and thought it was a beautiful, beautiful film. I just thought it was a brave, interesting and a fantastic choice for a director.

I knew Marc was on board. I didn't know him, but I knew his work. So I thought, "Maybe they're going at this from a different place." So I met with Avi [Arad, producer of the "Spider-Man" movies] and Marc and read and kind of lost my mind in the office where I met them and got the gig.

What fascinated me about the character was that unlike a villain that's brought in to spar with Spider-Man, he has a very real emotional connection, particularly Peter's father. He is a very intelligent scientist who genuinely wants to benefit and change the lives of millions of humans.

We're living in a world where we see war zones with people who are limbless from land mines, so this technology [from Dr. Curt Connors] would be a huge benefit to millions of people. I was just interested to see how his hunger for the advancement of that science and his moral conflict with the corporation that he works for, the corporation that will benefit from this financially, but also its owner, Norman Osborn, at the expense of unwitting New Yorkers.

And Connors, even to the end, is morally repelled by that decision and decides to become his own lab rat, which allows him let go of his limb, but he doesn't figure what that cold-blooded, reptilian, super-powerful, glistening-in-the-sun sense of hubris does to a compassionate human mind.

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

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