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This image released by Sony Pictures shows Emma Stone in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2.’ (AP)
Foxx puts a charge into Spidey 2 ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ nimble with power, humor

NEW YORK, May 1, (Agencies): Jamie Foxx, who stars in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” knows something about the double-life of a superhero. Though he’s 46, Jamie Foxx was only born 25 years ago. Named Eric Bishop at birth, he adopted the stage name at a Texas open mic, choosing a gender neutral moniker since women were chosen quicker at the comedy club. “When I go home, I’m Eric Bishop,” says Foxx. “And then when I go out, I put my cape on and I’m Jamie Foxx.” He smiles and summons a sonorous Superman entrance: “I’m Jamie Foooxx! I’m here to save the world!” But being “Jamie Foxx,” he grants, can be exhausting: “You have to know how to pull back, especially for me because sometimes I’m constantly on.” So it’s fitting that when the makers of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” needed someone to play energy embodied, they turned to the perpetually “on” Foxx. In the film, which opens Friday, he plays Max Dillon, the shy Oscorp electrical engineer who’s transformed into the villain Electro after falling into a pool of electric eels.

Foxx’s highly charged personal energy takes many forms. He’s a stand-up, a sketch comedian (see: “In Living Color” or his 2012 stint hosting “Saturday Night Live”), an Oscar-winning dramatic actor (the Ray Charles biopic “Ray”), a chart-topping pop star, and now he’s a member of the Marvel universe. “He’s a performer in the deepest sense of the word,” says “Spider-Man” director Marc Webb. “When we were on set shooting three weeks at night in Times Square in the cold, he would get out and do Michael Jackson in the center of Times Square in his Electro outfit. The first day on set, he comes in and he just holds court. He does five minutes of stand-up that he’s improvising right there.”

Versatility
In a recent interview, Foxx casually displayed his versatility, peppering his otherwise thoughtful conversation with bursts of impressions: the boxer Mike Tyson (he wants to play him in a biopic), a hint of President Barack Obama, a hysterical version of the comedian Mo’Nique (“Hey, baby, let me tell you somethin’!”), a Peter O’Toole-like English accent to talk about winning an Oscar. “That’s my whole life, mimicking,” Foxx says. “It’s what I do.” He also switches into Will Smith to explain why he wanted the part of Electro, recalling a conversation between the two in which Smith befuddles Foxx by traveling to Russia to sell a movie. “I’m like, ‘Why are you’ll going to Russia? I’m going to Detroit,’” says Foxx. “But what he was doing was opening it up for a person like me to be able to go to these places.”

For Foxx, the globally popular “Spider-Man” is a way to sow a worldwide audience. The actor believes he landed the part because of the huge international success of Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” (it made $262 million overseas), which Foxx calls a “reset button” on his career. “In our business, we say, ‘How do you travel internationally?’ — especially for an African-American kid,” says Foxx. “So ‘Django’ gave me a huge international look so now we’re talking about taking ‘Annie’ down the streets of Rome, down the streets of Paris, down the streets of Singapore.”

“It’s an opportunity to put a flag down,” says Foxx, who this December stars in an update of “Annie” with Quvenzhané Wallis and produced by Smith. “I’m just laying down stakes.” If proving to be a box-office draw internationally has sometimes been challenging for African-American actors, so too has entering the historically Caucasian realm of comic-book movies. Electro, who first appeared in a 1961 comic book, is a white man in print. There was a small amount of backlash from some fans when Foxx was cast. Says producer Avi Arad: “There were still some rednecks in there.” But for Arad and producer Matthew Tolmach, Foxx was an obvious choice. Aside from his talent, Arad says Foxx brings a “morale value” to a long production. “He does capture the spirit of the franchise,” says Tolmach. “He gets people excited about what we’re doing.”

Young Anglo-American actor Andrew Garfield is springing back into action in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” throwing himself anew into the web-spinning ordinary hero’s role. The Sony film has its North American premiere on Friday after a staggered release around the world that started in mid-April. Marc Webb, who directed the first instalment of the trilogy, is behind the camera again and 30-year-old Garfield and Emma Stone — a couple both on- and off-screen — return as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. The first part of a new Spider-Man trilogy opened in 2012, replacing a well-received series directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire. The new Garfield-led Spidey fared quite well at the box office, bringing in $754 million worldwide.

Now, despite “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” heavily on big action scenes in the style of “Iron Man” and “The Avengers” — Garfield says there is time to own the character introduced in the first instalment. Similarly, his character Peter Parker finds himself coming into his own as his heroic alter ego, Spider-Man. “It was very fun to own the character. And Peter Parker is really owning the character too and is really enjoying himself. He is really realizing that this is an amazing opportunity,” Garfield told AFP. The film revisits classic Spider-Man themes, such as how Peter can poss balance normal life with the life of a super hero protecting New Yorkers from villains: this time Jamie Foxx as “Electro.” For lanky 30-year-old Garfield, whose Hollywood ascent took its time before the Spider-Man franchise came calling — Spider-Man is not just about the heroic. He also has things to teach us.

Lessons
“I want to take the ethos and the lessons learned from the character, from Spider-Man and bring them into my life,” he said. “That’s the most amazing thing about playing the part as I get to spend time in the energy of this hero, this very ordinary hero. And the big lesson is that even if you’re ordinary, which we all are, we all are human, we all have the possibility and capability to do extraordinary things in our lives.” This new film has also been a chance for Garfield to give Peter’s character more nuance, and humor, than he did in his first go. “We tried to do it in the first but Peter was going through too much stuff personally to really get the humor going. But now he can really enjoy himself,” Garfield says. Though busy with “Spider-Man” filming and promotion, Garfield also finds time to take parts in smaller, independent films. This year he will be in “99 Homes”, which he also produced.

“That’s the main message that I take away from playing this character. I don’t really judge things based on size. I judge things based on how my heart feels about them and what my gut tells me,” Garfield says, adding: “I’m still learning.
“I’ll be able to answer when I finish the journey because I think that when you’re in the journey, it’s hard to be objective. But I know I’m learning a lot, it’s been a very accelerated process for me.”
Sony’s big-budget superhero tentpole “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” officially kicks-off the summer box office season Friday, with analysts projecting an opening in the $95 million range.
If it comes in just a little above that, it will be the year’s biggest opening weekend, ahead of another Marvel movie - Disney’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” That sequel opened to $95 million in April.
“Amazing Spider-Man 2” will most likely not match the $114 million debut of the first “Spider-Man” movie 12 years ago — which was the first movie to open a $100 million weekend — or the $151 million that “Spider-Man 3” opened to in 2007.
And that points to the challenge Sony faces as it seeks to launch a cinematic universe, much like Disney has done with Marvel’s Avengers and Warner Bros. hopes to do with a “Justice League” film headlined by Batman and Superman.
While Marvel and DC’s heroes have recently dominated theaters, the wall-crawler ain’t what he used to be at the domestic box office. Franchise fatigue could be setting in; every “Spider-Man” film has made less in the US than the one that preceded it.
But Spider-Man is still among the most iconic of Marvel’s superheroes, and while his popularity may ebb and flow — as has that of Superman and Batman over the years - the character remains one of the most recognizable and beloved comic book heroes in the world. And Sony is betting big, having already set two more Spidey movies for 2016 and 2018.
Also, “Amazing Spider-Man 2” is also serving as a launch pad for two spin-off films Sony currently has in development — a “Sinister Six” film from writer-director Drew Goddard and a “Venom” movie, based on the popular villain.
A major part of the strategy is that Spidey appears to be spinning a wider web at the overseas box office, and the studio believes that “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” will top the $490 million that 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” brought in internationally.


Confidence
That confidence stems in part from the $132 million the film’s made in its first two weeks of release abroad. It will roll out in China and Brazil this weekend, along with about 40 other foreign markets. China in particular could provide a bonanza; “Amazing Spider-Man” took in $48 million there two years ago - but took a bit of a hit because Chinese officials pitted it against “The Dark Knight Rises.” This time, a haul in excess of $100 million is likely.
Domestically, the notion of a $90 million opening weekend being seen as anything other than a smashing success is hard to grasp, but that’s the baggage that comes with opening on this date — and with a production budget of more than $200 million, even after tax breaks.
Marvel films have opened on the first weekend in May for the past seven years, and two have posted the biggest openings in history: the $207 million of “The Avengers” in 2012, and the $174 million of “Iron Man 3” last year.


“Amazing Spider-Man 2” should have no trouble topping the opening of the previous film, which debuted with $65 million in July of 2012. That film revitalized the franchise, which had been dormant for five years. But whether this sequel can top the $262 million domestic haul of the first movie remains to be seen.
Marc Webb returns to direct, from a script by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Jeff Pinkner. Stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone also return, joined by Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti and Dane DeHaan. Marvel Entertainment’s Avi Arad produces, along with Orci and Kurtzman.
Sony will have it in a saturation-level 4,300-plus theaters, including a full complement of IMAX 3D and Premium Large Format screens. Showings for the film will begin Thursday night in roughly 3,000 locations.
Have Sony and director Drew Goddard settled on their Sinister Six? Not exactly.


“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” opens this Friday and while the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Rhino, Vulture, Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio are teased in a post-credits sequence that fans will be able to unlock by Shazaming the closing credits song by Alicia Keys and Kendrick Lamar, those are not necessarily the villains that will be in “Sinister Six,” an individual familiar with the project told TheWrap.
The post-credits stinger includes a virtual schematic created to tease fans and whet their appetites regarding the possibilities that await them in the Spider-Man universe — but those are merely possibilities.
TheWrap has learned that the “Sinister Six” have not been decided on, as Goddard is still finalizing the script. One veteran talent representative told TheWrap that production could begin as early as January 2015.
“Sinister Six” will present a fresh point of view of the Spider-Man universe, as it focuses on the web slinger’s most famous villains. The credits of “Amazing Spider-Man 2” feature blueprints of Rhino, the Goblin glider, Doc Ock’s arms, Kraven’s spear and Mysterio’s mask, not Chameleon’s, as some sites have speculated.
It remains unclear whether Andrew Garfield will appear as Spider-Man in “Sinister Six,” or how long a possible appearance may last.
 

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