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11 Things We Learned About The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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Spidey is back in theaters today in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the sequel to 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man. We found out a little bit about the movie from the director, stars, and producers.

1. THE ENTIRE MOVIE WAS FILMED IN NEW YORK.

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In fact, it was the largest film to ever shoot in New York State. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 filmed on location in the boroughs of New York City and in Rochester, as well as at studios in Brooklyn and Long Island. Some places to look out for: the Hearst Tower at 57th Street and 8th Avenue, which doubles as Oscorp; Lincoln Center; Union Square; Brooklyn Bridge Park; and Chinatown.

2. SPIDEY’S SUIT LOOKS DIFFERENT THIS TIME AROUND.

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The suit in the first movie was designed to look like something a kid from Queens could actually make himself, using materials he could easily procure (the eyes, for example, were made with sunglasses). This time around, director Mark Webb wanted to stick a little bit closer to the suit that’s in the comic books, making the blue darker, and the eyes of the mask white and large. Costume designer Deborah L. Scott—who created Marty McFly’s iconic look in Back to the Future and made the costumes for Titanic—brought this version of the suit to life.

3. PRODUCERS WANTED TO MAKE GWEN STACY A TRUE EQUAL TO PETER PARKER.

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Producer Matt Tolmach said that in many of the previous Spider-Man movies, the focus has firmly been on Peter Parker’s journey—but it’s different in this film. “The truth is, [Gwen] is driving this story,” he said. “Peter is trying to keep it all together. That’s his struggle. Gwen has a real sense of who she is and what she wants. It’s not that it isn’t complicated but it’s incredibly empowering in a character. She’s making choices.”

Emma Stone, who plays Gwen, agrees. “I love how the relationship evolves in the second movie,” she said. “The clarity and maturity that Gwen has sort of achieved—I think because of the death of her father, honestly—has brought her life in sharp focus. So she’s really following her destiny. I think that’s one of the most inspiring parts of their relationship is that it is two incredibly equal parties.”

“When the comics were written—in the ‘50s and ‘60s—women didn’t really have much of a role in comics,” producer Avi Arad said. “They were supposed to look good and stay on the side and we are all very proud we were able to change [that] completely.” And a lot of that credit, he said, lies with Stone: “When you have a great actress and you give her the bulk of the material, now you have a real scene. You don’t just have someone screaming. When you have someone like that, you better make it a two person act all the time.”

4. THE CREW BUILT A REPLICA OF TIMES SQUARE.

For the scene where Spider-Man faces off against Electro for the first time, the crew shot for a couple of nights in Times Square—and then built a replica set at the studio in Long Island. “The logistical obligations of that scene were so complex, [that] we had to, and we could, amazingly,” Webb says. “I remember that scene came up in the script and we worked on it a little bit and I was sorta denying myself the pain/fear of how it was actually going to be shot.” The replica included the red TKTS stairs, recreations of storefronts, Father Duffy Square, and numerous Jumbotron scenes (the rest of the area was added later using CG).

But even though building the replica set allowed the crew the control they needed, it still wasn’t easy. “It was a very difficult thing, just in terms of bringing the amount of lights that were required, the amount of cement that was required,” Webb says. “Our production director did a really extraordinary thing, and it was a huge spectacle. There were explosions and extras and all that stuff.”

5. BOTH JAMIE FOXX AND DANE DEHAAN HAD TO UNDERGO A PHYSICAL TRANSFORMATION TO PLAY VILLAINS.

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Foxx wore 21 thin silicone facial prosthetics—which better mimic the quality of skin than foam prosthetics—to transform from Oscorp employee Max Dillion into Electro. The look was designed by The Walking Dead’s Greg Nicotero of NBB EFX Group and finalized by special effects makeup artist Howard Berger. “It was like taking me and dipping me into blue candle wax like four hours,” he said. It was also his idea to give Max a combover. “My sister is my hair stylist and she created the ‘Django’ look; Ray Charles and things like that,” he told Jay Leno. “When I’m the nerd guy, I want to be the first black man with a comb-over. I told her, ‘Make me look like I would look if I never made it.’”

DeHaan, meanwhile, endured 3.5 hours in the makeup chair—donning contacts, teeth, and prosthetics—to play the Green Goblin. “Then there was another hour just to get into the suit,” he said. “I literally had four people using screwdrivers and wrenches getting me into that suit.” Performing in the suit was tough not just because it weighed 50 pounds, DeHaan said, but because of the temperatures on set. “[The] set was at least 110 degrees. They were literally pouring buckets of ice water down my suit in between takes,” he said. “It had evaporated by the time they called action—that’s how hot it was. I think I lost 7 pounds in like two days. Which for me is a high percentage of my body weight.”

6. TO NAIL ELECTRO’S LOOK, THE VFX TEAM STUDIED ELECTRICAL PHENOMENA.

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After deciding on the right look for the makeup, Foxx said, “[The VFX crew] took it from there. Those guys are geniuses at what they do. [Jerome Chen, Sony Picture Imageworks Visual Effects Supervisor] was like, ‘We got it, we know what we want to do. We want to make a thunderstorm inside your body.’ It’s great to see it all work.” VFX artists made it look as though the electricity was inside of Electro, not just running along the surface of his skin, and watched footage of nighttime thunderstorms and bioluminescent animals and photos of nebulae to achieve the look.

Foxx was thrilled with the way the CGI and practical makeup worked together. “The CGI guys would come out and be there and look at me and take pictures and say ‘stand this way, say this, laugh,’” he explained. “It was really fun. It was like you were back at your crib where you’re looking in the mirror practicing on how to act. When I looked and saw what they did with the CGI, I was like that is incredible because people don’t even know that that is actually me. They think it’s all CGI.”

7. IN ONE SCENE, GARFIELD’S FOOT GOT BRUSHED BY A CAB.

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Andrew Garfield, who plays Peter/Spidey, has a favorite scene—which Webb and Stone also love—in which Peter and Gwen see each other for the first time in a year. Garfield had the idea that Peter should see her and cross the street, oblivious to all traffic. “[He] talked about cartoons—when the skunk gets a smell and he floats across,” Webb says. “It was that kind of idea.”

Peter Parker might have been oblivious to the traffic, but Garfield didn’t make it through unscathed. “In the take [that was] used, the taxi actually ran over my heel,” he says. “You can see a little facial recognition of that just as I’m about to step onto the pavement. Literally, a tire smacked my heel. It was really scary.”

8. PAUL GIAMATTI WANTED TO PLAY THE RHINO.

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The actor appeared on Conan O’Brien’s show in 2011 and said that if he could play one character in a Spider-Man movie, it would be The Rhino. “Rhino came to us for the role!” Arad said. The Rhino’s mechanized suit is entirely CG, but he wore a rig on set.

“[Paul] was so great to have on the set,” Tolmach said. “He just showed up and [was] about fun. This movie felt like we were now free in some ways to have fun, and to tell a bigger story—and a more tragic story. We were freed up of the obligations of origin. [We could] build a movie that we all really believed in and tell this big superhero opera. And that’s what you’re going to see more of going forward—the expansion of the universe with all these characters.”

9. CERTAIN SCENES WERE INSPIRED BY SILENT-ERA STARS.

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Webb, Garfield, and stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong are all big fans of silent film stars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, who performed physical comedy on-camera. This time around, they wanted some of that physicality to inform how Spider-Man (and Peter Parker) moved. “Sometimes, Spider-Man is witty and sometimes not—he’s trying his standup routine out on the criminals before he takes it to the comedy floor,” Garfield says. “The physical ability he has—we don’t want to just be punching and kicking and being cool. There’s something sort of trickster element that we wanted to capture.” They hired Cal McChrystal, the physical comedy director on One Man, Two Guvnors, to help come up with a few moments.

“It was dipping into a different kind of filmmaking and acting,” Webb says. “If you sit down and watch a Charlie Chaplin movie and don’t listen to the music—or if you play different music over it, like a Pixar soundtrack—it becomes accessible in a way that is profound. It becomes emotional and beautiful and there’s something really powerful there. That was an attempt to bring back vaudeville for a second, which is a lost art. It was one of those things where people watch and it goes by and it's as it should be. But it took a long time to do.”

Armstong watched a particular scene from one of Keaton’s shorts where the actor grabbed the back of a moving car and is whisked out of the scene almost horizontally; once he figured out how Keaton did it, they emulated it for a shot in ASM2.

10. THE PRODUCTION BUILT RIGS TO DO STUNTS PRACTICALLY.

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A fight in a plane that kicks off the movie was accomplished mostly using actors and not stunt people. The crew built the interior of a G-5 plane and combined it with a motion base and two rings that could rotate the plane 360 degrees. They also used the rig in a later scene—inspired by Fred Astaire’s work in The Royal Wedding, in which the actor danced on the walls and ceiling—where Garfield rolls up onto the wall and walks along the ceiling, removing the Spidey suit. “All that stuff, people get a certain kind of pleasure from that,” Webb said. “It’s different from comedy, it’s different from action. it’s like watching people dance in a way. It’s physical virtuosity that people enjoy in a different kind of way.”

Garfield prefers to do his own stunts, but it's not always possible. "I used to be a gymnast and an athlete and it’s important to me—just like with every other aspect with the character—[that] I have some enjoyment of it," he said. "I don’t want to let it pass me by and watch somebody else play Spider-Man. I want to do it because it’s my only chance to really play it in a way that’s not just crawling up the doorway at my mum’s house. So I felt really stoked to get a chance. There’s me and there’s two stunt guys. It’s usually better man wins in terms of whatever stunt we’re doing. Sometimes it’s just the insurance risk is too high if I do them. If I die, the movie has to stop."

11. THE MOVIE WAS SCORED BY HANS ZIMMER … AND A FEW FRIENDS.

It was Webb’s idea for the Oscar-winning composer to form the supergroup that would create the music for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The band called itself The Magnificent Six and featured Pharrell Williams, Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Michael Einziger (Incubus), Junkie XL, Andrew Kawczynski, and Steve Mazzaro. The idea, Zimmer told Billboard, is that “Peter Parker, is a kid, he's just graduating. If he had to listen to music and that was the way he expressed emotion, it wouldn't be big Wagnerian horns and Mahler strings. It would be rock ‘n' roll.”

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8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
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Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

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11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
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Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

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