NEW YORK, July 13 (UPI) -- "The Amazing Spider-Man" leading lady Emma Stone says she thinks the superhero's youth and courage in standing up to bullies make him relevant 50 years after the character's creation.
In the re-boot of the Spider-Man film franchise, the 23-year-old Arizona native plays Gwen Stacy, the titular web-slinger's brainy, beautiful love interest, who works in a lab where genetic experiments are conducted. Stone's real-life boyfriend Andrew Garfield plays Peter Parker who becomes Spider-Man after he is bitten by a genetically mutated spider while Rhys Ifans plays Stacy's ambitious boss Dr. Connors and Denis Leary plays her overprotective father Police Capt. George Stacy. Martin Sheen and Sally Field round out the cast as Uncle Ben and Aunt May, Peter's kind-hearted, adoptive parents.
Asked what it is about Spider-Man that has endured for decades, the star of "Zombieland," "Easy A," "Crazy Stupid Love" and "The Help" told reporters at a recent press conference in New York, "He's the only teen super-hero, which is major."
"A lot of times when you start reading a comic you're a kid or a teenager," Stone observed. "So he's identifiable. Instantly, you can relate to him. Not to mention, he's bullied, which is huge for a girl or boy. I think everyone has experienced something along those lines. The fact that he is bitten by a spider and his sort of wish fulfillment comes true that he's able to fight back the bullies he wasn't able to before is symbolism for kids; that they have so much power within them to speak out, to stand up for themselves, to stay unique and to stay true to who they are as Peter does."
Although Stone insisted she loved Gwen, she admitted she initially thought she would be playing a different female figure from Spider-Man mythology.
"At first, I had met [late producer] Laura Ziskin early on for Mary Jane," the actress recalled. "I had always wanted to play Mary Jane. I thought Mary Jane was so great. And a couple of months went by and they were like, 'We'd like you to audition for the part of Gwen Stacy.' And I was like, 'Awe, I don't know Gwen Stacy.' Because I hadn't read the comic books growing up. And so I heard the story of Gwen and just fell in love with Gwen's story because it is so incredibly epic and tragic and incredible. In the way it affects Peter moving forward with Mary Jane, another character I love, obviously, was enormous.
"So I took the opportunity to audition and met Andrew at the audition and got to act with him for the first time and he is one of the best actors I've ever worked with and I instantly knew how much I could learn from him and that really, really drew me. That challenge, rising to meet him each day, was really exciting and it was a huge growing and learning experience for me."
"The Amazing Spider-Man" has made more than $408 million at the North American box office since it opened this month.