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A quick look at your new Spider-Man!

Last updated on: July 12, 2010 10:55 IST

A quick look at your new Spider-Man!

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Raja Sen in Mumbai

My first reaction on hearing that young Andrew Garfield has been chosen to be the new Spider-Man in Mark Webb's reboot of the franchise was to watch Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus.

In the film -- famous for being Heath Ledger's last, with the late actor filled in for by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell -- Garfield plays Anton, a young romantic who helps Christopher Plummer's Doc Parnassus conjure up audiences to mystify.

All I can say about Garfield is amen. Spidey's in good hands.


Image: A scene from The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

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The 26-year-old half-British half-American actor was born in Los Angeles and was raised in England, where his family moved when he was three. Ever-keen to act, Garfield started taking classes at the age of 15, and quickly found roles in major productions.

Following recognition at the Evening Standard theatre awards, Variety named Garfield one among 10 actors to watch in 2007, the same year he appeared in Lions For Lambs. The Robert Redford film, starring Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Redford himself, sees Garfield as an exceptionally bright yet jaded student.

The actor does impressively well among the stalwarts, despite a smaller role.


Image: A scene from Lions For Lambs

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John Crowley's Boy A, on the other hand, stars Garfield in the lead. An adaptation of Jonathan Trigell's novel, the film is about a boy convicted for murder who, following rehabilitation, builds a new life and even becomes a local hero.

'Mr Garfield's performance makes Jack so endearing and vulnerable that as he takes his first wobbly steps, like a baby bird shoved from its nest, your instincts are protective,' writes Stephen Holden in The New York Times. 'When he goes out drinking with his co-workers, and swallows a tab of Ecstasy without knowing what it is, you worry that disaster is imminent. Later, when he comes to the rescue of Chris (Shaun Evans), his closest friend at work, in a drunken rooftop brawl, the movie portrays his violent intervention as brave and not as a scary reversion to previous behavior.'

Garfield got unanimous raves for his work in the film, and won a BAFTA award for Best Actor.


Image: A scene from Boy A

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The things he's doing next only smell of further greatness. Coming up later this year is Never Let Me Go, Mark Romanek's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel of the same name, where Garfield has a plum role opposite Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley.

Even more exciting is The Social Network, David Fincher's film about the founding of Facebook. Based on a highly acclaimed script by Aaron Sorkin, the film has tremendous pre-release buzz. With music by Trent Reznor and starring Jesse Eisenberg and Garfield in the main roles, the film comes out on October 1. Can't wait.


Image: A scene from Never Let Me Go

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My basic read on Garfield -- besides an obvious liking for that last name instantly evocative of a legendary lasagna-loving feline -- based on the films I've seen and the words buzzing around the web, is that he is a bright-eyed, decidedly talented young actor.

Confident and self-assured enough to play both straight man and absolute nutjob, he'd make a very fine Peter Parker. Webb's reboot of the franchise sorely needs an intelligent yet cocky whippersnapper, and Garfield should be a fine fit for the part. He's natural, clean cut and believable both as a geek and a significantly flawed young hero.

Godspeed, Andrew Garfield. May you give us true believers cause to celebrate.


Image: Andrew Garfield
Photographs: Gerardo Garcia/ Reuters
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