Hollywood actor Martin Sheen said there were times he felt like he, Andrew Garfield and Sally Field were starring in a family drama instead of an action picture when they were shooting their scenes for "The Amazing Spider-Man."
In the re-boot of the franchise, Sheen and Field play Uncle Ben and Aunt May, the kindhearted, hard-working adoptive parents of Garfield's Peter Parker -- a brilliant, usually well-behaved teen who becomes uncharacteristically overwhelmed and frustrated dealing with the disappearance of his parents, a crush on his classmate Gwen Stacy [played by Emma Stone] and extraordinary new powers he doesn't know how to use or control after being bitten by a genetically mutated spider.
While the 3-D picture offers some of the most stunning special effects ever captured on-screen, Sheen's and Field's excellent performances ground the story as Garfield gives the audience a superhero they can relate to and care about.
"I think Sally will confirm that our great director, Marc Webb, wanted us to be as simple and direct and honest with each other and just enjoy each other's company and not to play any image of the characters, who are very well known," Sheen told United Press International at a recent news conference in New York.
"To just forget all that and make contact with each other and enjoy what we were doing and make it alive and personal. Because if it's not personal, it's impersonal and if it's impersonal, who cares? We knew those relationships would ground the whole story and that was important. So that's all we focused on and watching this young man -- and I know Sally would agree -- this is a very, very special guy, Andrew Garfield, who is now launched and rightly so ... watching him work was so gratifying," Sheen said.
"He was so generous with us because he had to do some very heavy emotional work and, boy, the set was on fire when he went to those places. But then he would do an equally intense performance off-camera for our reactions and that was an enormous leap of generosity to his fellow actors.
"That really endeared him to me and Sally, too. ... But we laughed a lot, too," said the 72-year-old former star of TV's "The West Wing," as well as the films "The Subject was Roses," "Badlands," "Apocalypse Now," "The American President," "The Departed," "Stella Days" and "The Way."
Field, the 66-year-old star of "Forrest Gump," "Murphy's Romance," "Steel Magnolias," "Absence of Malice," and "Norma Rae" and TV shows "Gidget" and "The Flying Nun," said "Spider-Man" felt to her like working on a "little kitchen drama" since Aunt May, Uncle Ben and Peter have some very emotional scenes in and around the family home, far away from Spider-Man's crime-fighting exploits.
"It gets very heated. It's very troubling what's going on. As far as we know, we were shooting a little kitchen drama in a way and what was bizarre for me -- because I've been doing this a long time -- but we were shooting a little kitchen scene in a very confined atmosphere with a handheld 3-D camera," Field recalled
"There was a little part of me saying: 'Sweet mother of God. This is a 3-D camera this far away from my face. I'm not going to see this movie ever.' And it's kind of amazing and Andrew and I had to do these fight scenes that we had, not losing your focus, while really maneuvering around these huge pieces of equipment and this phenomenal operator is trying to maneuver around us and the furniture. It was a technically fascinating experience."
Co-starring Emma Stone and Denis Leary, "The Amazing Spider-Man" is now on DVD and Blu-ray.
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