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MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2007


LOS ANGELES -- The Continuum today begins its series of interviews from last weekend's Spider-Man 3 junket with Bryce Dallas Howard, who plays Gwen Stacy.

Following is an edited transcription:

Question: How excited were you to be part of this project?

Howard: So excited. I love this franchise. I was a huge fan of the first film and I thought with the second film I was completely blown away because I felt it was better than the first film, which I didn't know was possible.

So I was one of those people who was going on the Internet, seeing what are the rumors and what's going on. And when I found out that they were thinking of having another female character, I was just all over that.

Question: When you're doing research on Gwen Stacy, you automatically find out that she'd died. Were you expecting that at all?

Howard: I wasn't sure was going to happen, and the script did change a lot. But there was never an incarnation where that actually occurred.

I have to say, though, it was funny when I did start doing research and a picture of her popped on the Internet, I looked at it and I was like, "Are they serious? Do they really want to cast me as this character?" Because there's such a specific look and it's not anything I ever kind of envisioned myself doing or being able to do.

So there was a lot of a hair meetings, makeup meetings just to figure out the look and whatnot.

Question: Did you have more more fun as a blonde?

Howard: It was fun, it really was. I feel more comfortable certainly as a redhead because that's how I am naturally. But I'm glad that I got to do it. I got a lot attention in grocery stores, like a lot of people coming up to me, "Do you need some help, ma'am?" I'd be like, "No, it's OK."

Question: So that was your real hair? It wasn't a wig?

Howard: No, they dyed it.

Question: So how long did you have to be blonde for?

Howard: Like six months.

Question: How long were you dangling for that sequence?

Howard: Weeks. (laughs). Yeah, weeks. That was so much fun to shoot. They built like this three- or four-story structure inside of a soundstage. And they literally, just over and over again, they would just collapse it. They would collapse the building over and over again. And all these desks and coffee machines and everything would fall down and smash on the ground, and they would sweep it up and then they'd set it up again.

They put a harness on me, so of course I was safe the entire time. But they really let me fall.

Question: Was it scary?

Howard: Oh yeah. There was no acting involved in that scene whatsover. Literally.

Question: Did you agree to do the film before the script was done?

Howard: No, no. I actually was involved really late in the process. I think it was a couple of days before shooting started, I believe, in January. The script was already set. Of course during the entire process there were a lot of rewrites and a lot of changes. But I was involved as late in the process as was possible.

Question: What were your biggest surprises in working on a movie of this size?

Howard: What was really surprising to me was the amount of time that was devoted to the complexity of the characters in rehearsals, and how much effort the producers and obviously Sam (Rami, director) put into to making sure that this really was a film that had a lot of gravity to it and that the performances were what they wanted and that the characters were what they wanted. I just assumed all the focus would be on the CGI and the action, was really delighted by that.

And I was also struck by the fact that the set felt so intimate. It felt like we were making some kind of independent film. Everyone knew each other. They had done two films previously, obviously, and so it was almost like a family. It was a very warm set and a very easy-going set.

And when I saw the film finally just a couple days ago, I was just like, "Oh my God, this is what we were doing? It felt so small."

Question: Did you have a lot of friends on this project that wanted to visit you when you were filming?

Howard: (laughs) Yes. One of my best friends, who's my writing partner and my sister's boyfriend and one of my greatest friends in the world, he would just all of a sudden show up in my trailer like almost every day. And he'd be like, "Where's Venom? Like I need to see Venom!"

So I told Topher, "Please, Topher, just humor us and walk into the trailer in your costume." And my friend, who's like this really overly confident person, would be just shaking practically so excited.

Question: One of Gwen's strongest moments was the scene when she called Peter out. Were you happy with the way that played out.

Howard: Yeah, I was. I'm sure as you guys know, the character of Gwen Stacy initally in the comic book was Peter Parker's first love. And she was around in the mid- to late-60s, early 70s.

And therefore, I really wanted to be true to this character. I didn't want to just come into this third film as some kind of a man-stealing, home-wrecking tart. This is Gwen Stacy. So I was glad that the way the relationship was she was friends with Peter Parker and there was a closeness there and unintentionally she created some tension in their romance. So I was very pleased with that.

Question: Sam mentioned that the producers wanted her in this film and possibly devloped in later films. Is that something you would be interested in and what would it take for you to be in Spider-Man 4?

Howard: What would it take? (laughs) Just asking! I've been very vocal that I want to be part of the fourth film if there is one. I loved the experience. This is one of the best experiences of my life, truly. And I almost didn't feel like I was making a movie.

It was great, we shot in Los Angeles. That's where I live with my husband. And I made a lot of really lasting friendships. It was a blast.

And I love these films and I love what they represent. Sure, these are huge, huge films, and it's always great to be a part of something that you know ultimately -- knock on wood -- that at the end of the day it's going to be seen. But just from a moral standpoint, I think these films have something to say and I think that's very important.

Question: Did you go to Tokyo?

Howard: No, no, I can't. He's (Howard's new baby) far too young. I can't travel with him.

Question: Did you want to go to Tokyo?

Howard: Did I want to? Yeah, yeah, of course. Ultimately I want to be with him, but it's just great to be able to talk about this film. And It would be a lot of fun to travel all over the place and kind of see how this film is resonating in all different parts of the world and how differs and whatnot. But I'm happy to be where I am with my little boy.

Question: There's a whole section of Gwen fans who thought she should have never died and she should have wound up married to Peter. How much interaction have you had with fans?

Howard: Not much interaction, other than I've been scouring the Internet and for just every blog possible and reading everything they have to say about it because that is a tremendous resource. I mean, these are people who have devoted a lot of time and a lot of emotional effort honestly to access ... what's the right word? It's almost like writing a thesis of what the significance of this character is in his life and whatnot.

So I have a lot of reverance for how committed they are. I hope I did an OK job. Because I get that. I get how important that is.

Question: And you got to have James Cromwell as your dad?

Howard: Yeah, he's great, isn't he? He's such a stellar actor. And I was so glad how tall he is, too. Because I'm kind of tall, too, and I'm always so nervous they'll cast my dad and I'll be like, "Oh, dear!"

But he's just fantastic. I think he's the perfect Captain Stacy.

Question: Can you talk about what it was like being on the set as a fan of the series?

Howard: It was absolutely thrilling. I will not forget the first time that I saw the Spider-Man suit. I was like, "Oh my God, there it is." I didn't want to stare. It's like when you see a celebrity and you don't want to stare, but you're like, "Oh my God, there's so-and-so." That's how I was with the Spider-Man suit.

There was a moment when we were in New York City and I did a zip-line. We were like five stories above the concrete and we zipped down and Spider-Man was holding me and I was holding Spider-Man. And I was like, "I've being saved by Spider-Man!" It's really, really fun.

Question: Speaking of the zip-line shot, that was one of the first to show up on the Internet.

Howard: That was kind of crazy. And also, underneath my clothes was like 40 pounds of harnesses. So I was like, "Oh no, this is not the representation of Gwen Stacy I want out there." You kind of want to preserve the magic of the film. You don't want them to see the fact that you have harnesses on and there's a big wire there and whatnot.

But it was also a little bit exciting. Also because, where I was shooting, a block away only a few years previously is where one of my bosses lived, where I would go and I would walk her dog. Literally, I could see her house and her office. And I was like, "Yeah, I'm with Spider-Man."

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