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The Star eCentral: Movie Reviews

Emma Stone embraces her spunky character Gwen Stacy

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 07:00 PM PDT

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 heroine Emma Stone on the element of surprise.

If there was one thing actress Emma Stone absolutely detests, it would be weight training. The affable actress was nursing a sore throat when she spoke to Star2 in Singapore recently. "I don't have a lot of physical strength so the idea of lifting weights makes me want to strangle somebody. It just makes me so crazy," said Stone, 25.

To prepare for her role as Gwen Stacy in the first installment of The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Stone went through a gruelling weight training routine. She explained her loathing for it: "I didn't respond well to it because I absolutely hate having to do for the sake of it."

However, her green eyes lit up when she talked about her routine for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. "That's what is great about this new movie – I got to do dance training which was really cool. It was a blast to be able to elongate your body and swing in amazing ways."

Stone returns in the movie as Gwen Stacy, a high school valedictorian who gets caught up in Spider-Man's world as his love interest. When Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) is not busy chasing Russian mobsters through New York or fighting off Oscorp's latest mutation, he is by Gwen's side as Peter Parker.

However, being Spider-Man will eventually take a toll on the couple's relationship.

"Gwen has an understanding that Peter needs to be Spider-Man and he needs to be a hero. While Mary Jane Watson is in love with Spider-Man first and Peter after that, Gwen falls in love with Peter first."

The brainy beauty is also far from being just another damsel in distress. In the previous installment, Spider-Man defeated his opponent with Gwen's help. For The Amazing Spider-Man 2, don't expect Gwen to stand by as just another face in the crowd.

"Yes, I'm very excited about that. She definitely finds a way to infiltrate in what he is doing, to help," she said with a laugh.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 also stars Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro and Paul Giamatti as Rhino. Stone relished the opportunity to work with some of the most critically-acclaimed actors in Hollywood.

Pure heroine: Emma Stone says her character Gwen Stacy falls in love with Peter Parker as himself, instead of Spider-Man.

"It's a dream to be able to work with people who are also teaching you. You have to rise meet to the occasion to grow and learn. I always thought that getting to all this movies is like a masterclass. You can't get this experience in drama school or scene study class. It's a whole other experience."

Stone also said co-star Garfield is "an amazing Spider-Man". "He's so prepared and he knows so much about the character. It's embedded in him to do what Spider-Man can do. So it's really cool."

Though most would associate Mary Jane as Spider-Man's heroine, Gwen is one of the most important characters in the comic book universe. Her fate in the comic books had an incredible impact on Spider-Man's life. She talked about why she wants the film to honour the comic book storyline, particularly issue #121.

"I think it's incredibly important. It's hugely impactful in Peter's life and what happens with him as a hero. It's a devastating and really iconic moment in comic book history. I want to do that for the lovers of the Spider-Man comics."

She added: "Before I auditioned for Gwen, I googled her and it was pretty much the first thing you see. I was just like 'oh God, that's crazy!'. I can only imagine what it was like for people reading the story when issue #121 first came out. It must have been the most shocking thing."

Still, Stone hopes audience will be able to watch the movie and experience the same feeling of shock that comic readers had back when the original story debuted in 1973.

"I'm very protective of people understanding that it's not necessarily what is going to occur in the movie. I want the element of surprise to remain intact."

Related story and videos:

Along comes Spider-Man ... his girl and the director

Watch: Jamie Foxx explains how Electro got his voice 

Watch: Andrew Garfield and Marc Webb team up for The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Ganging up for 'The Other Woman'

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton sail through The Other Woman by acting drunk.

IF there is one thing the female buddy movie The Other Woman has plenty of, it is drunk acting. In it, the trio of women – played by Leslie Mann, Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton – on several occasions, are happily intoxicated.

But ask them about the technique of acting drunk and fingers point to 42-year-old Mann.

As Kate, the spouse of love cheat Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jamie Lannister in Game Of Thrones), she gives it the full treatment.

After she finds out about his philandering, a self-pitying Kate puts on her old wedding dress and squirts whipped cream directly into her mouth. She has had a few, naturally.

"Just allow yourself total freedom and get totally loose," she says, whipping her head around.

Diaz, 41, who plays the successful, no-nonsense lawyer Carly in the film, offers another idea: copy what babies do. She says: "Maybe you just act like a baby. They always look drunk."

Mann and Upton, her companions at the press conference in Sydney, Australia, voice their enthusiastic support for the idea. There is obvious chemistry between the three women.

Here on the interview couch, a few moments are spent in high-spirited chatter and the comparing of shoes before they turn their attention to the questions.

In the film, after Kate (Mann) discovers that husband Mark has been seeing the unsuspecting Carly (Diaz), the pair decide to join forces to seek revenge, but not before recruiting third member Amber (Upton).

Together, they find ways to make sure that justice is served on the handsome but despicable Mark.

The mood in the room turns serious for a moment when the subject of chick flicks come up. The Other Woman is anything but, say the trio. For one thing, the male lead, on whom the women wreak havoc, is anything but desirable.

Diaz says they made Mark as "ratty as we could, we made him the worst possible depiction of the liar, cheater, pathological individual."

The net effect, she jokes, is that men can watch the film and "feel good about themselves. They will say, 'I am not even close to being as bad as that guy' and their girlfriends can be like, 'Oh, honey, you're so great'."

Mann adds that for the male audience, there are "cars and poop jokes" as well as a scene in which Diaz is hit in the face with the genitalia of a large male dog.

"And dog balls. Whatever interests you," quips Mann, who is best known for her parts in comedies written or produced by husband Judd Apatow.

She has been seen in Apatow productions This Is 40 (2012), Funny People (2009) and The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005).

That moment with the dog is among the many bits of physical comedy in which the women – especially Diaz and Mann – flail, fall and act silly. Much of it is spontaneous, they say.

In one scene, the pair, attempting a ninja-like home break-in to spy on Mark, attempt to scale a wall, with Mann doing the climbing while being held up by Diaz.

Diaz says with a laugh: "She just climbs on me and I hold on for dear life. I just don't want to fall over."

Diaz got her break in the Jim Carrey comedy The Mask (1994) and gained widespread recognition for her performance in the Farrelly brothers comedy There's Something About Mary (1998). She is also known for her dramatic roles, winning critical acclaim for turns in Being John Malkovich (1999) and Vanilla Sky (2001).

Mann, looking at Diaz, adds: "She was shaking. There's a picture of me running at her to jump on her and she was just like 'ugh'. Bracing. But I knew I was safe, that she wouldn't drop me."

Upton, too, got physical, giving Mann a piggy-back ride in one scene.

Upton, who at 21 is the youngest of the three, is also the least experienced in acting. Her break into feature films came through her work first as a fashion model (a career that also gave Diaz her start) and subsequently, as one of Sports Illustrated magazine's most popular swimsuit models.

This is her third and most substantial role. She has appeared in smaller parts in Tower Heist (2011) and The Three Stooges (2012).

All three roles have depended to a large extent on her statuesque proportions as much as her acting. She is not worried about being typecast, however.

She says: "I've only been in the spotlight for three years. In time, I will show people that I have more to offer. I'm taking the opportunities and I am grateful for them."

The three actresses may have ganged up onscreen to extract their pound of flesh from love cheat Mark, but in real life, they are aware that the best revenge on a bad lover is simply leaving.

Says Upton: "Cameron and I agree that the best revenge is just to walk away and not waste another second of your life with someone who is emotionally damaging. It's the best revenge because he doesn't get a chance to explain himself.

"You can imagine him just rotting away at the heart," she adds dramatically, a remark that has the other two women in stitches.

Mann, in admiration, repeats it: "Imagine him rotting away at the heart. Damn." — The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

The Other Woman opens in cinemas nationwide today (May 1).


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