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“Amazing Spider-man’ star Andrew Garfield inhabits a bug’s life

In this film image released by Sony Pictures  Andrew Garfield is shown scene from 'The Amazing Spider-Man set for

In this film image released by Sony Pictures, Andrew Garfield is shown in a scene from "The Amazing Spider-Man, set for release on July 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Columbia - Sony Pictures, Jaimie Trueblood)

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Updated: August 2, 2012 6:10AM

NEW YORK — Even though he is Spider-man, Andrew Garfield isn’t the kind of actor who believes in spin.

“I was terrified to take on this role,” says the new wall crawler. “It means so much to me and so much to other people.

The soft-spoken Brit, 29, is filling the tights of former web spinner Tobey Maguire in “The Amazing Spider-man,” opening Tuesday.

Director Mark Webb says casting the role wasn’t easy.

“Peter Parker [Spidey’s alter ego] has a lot of tragedy in his life. Andrew had that gravitas,” Webb says. “Andrew also had an incredible physical stamina. We wanted to do the stunts in a more practical way.”

Seen earlier as Eduardo in “The Social Network,” Garfield plays Peter as a young man dealing with a terrible family secret that leads to his superpowers.

“The teenager element is vital to this character,” he says. “Spider-man goes through the same stuff I went through. I felt like I was him. Everyone feels like an outsider, which is why he is all of us.”

Once Peter has spider DNA in his veins, “I found the teenage boy has patience like a spider,” Garfield says. “He doesn’t fidget anymore. He can wait like a spider.”

Nothing prepared him for his swinging days on the set. “Flying as Spider-man is a physical sensation I wanted to do since I was 3 years old. Everyone wants to do it. I got to live it for a second.”

Looking like a spider and mimicking the moves was key to the role. “I have many spider poses in me,” he says. “There’s a scene where I’m typing with my foot and eating Chinese food and moving something with my other leg. I seem to grow legs, which is the idea.”

Even more demanding was the romance with Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy.

“It was very scary,” admits Garfield, who is dating Stone in real life. “I felt safer when I was swinging around. First love is the most scary and most exhilarating thing you will ever go through. You have so much to lose.”

Garfield does have one of the best endorsements in the superhero world. “To my knowledge, Tobey Maguire hasn’t seen the new movie. But when I was cast, he sent an email to me. It was very generous and it makes me feel like I could take the torch in confidence. I had his support.

“He didn’t need to do that,” Garfield says, shaking his head. “I guess we’re all just part of the Spider-man family.”

The web is wide. Ask Garfield when he shook off the superhero and he says, “I guess most of us have a fictional character we care about so much. If the opportunity ever came along to play it, you want to serve it and do it justice. So, I didn’t shake it off yet.”

With a sigh, he adds, “Next time, I might. I love sleeping and eating.”

Big Picture News Inc.

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