The Green Goblin will be celebrating his 50th anniversary this July and over his half-century of terrorizing Spider-Man, he’s leaped off the comic pages in a slew of cartoons as well as the two recent film franchises.
“There have been many incarnations of them, whether that be in comic books or cartoons or movies,” says Dane DeHaan, who plays Harry Osborn/Green Goblin in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
“And I think what was of utmost importance to me was to honor them as the characters they’ve always been and to get an understanding of who Harry Osborn is and how he has to exist within the Spider-Man universe. And the same with the Goblin.”
amNewYork spoke with DeHaan, 28, who has had a quick rise to fame in films like “Chronicle,” “The Place Beyond the Pines” and “Kill Your Darlings.”
How did you make Harry and the Goblin your own?
What’s exciting is we haven’t really had a Harry Osborn in about 10 years, so this is the first time people are seeing a Harry Osborn of today. And what’s fun is to take this archetypical character and fit him into today’s society and find where in today’s society he exists and that was really fun.
Was it tough having to wear all that makeup?
It’s 3½ hours of make up and an hour to get into the suit, but as an actor, it’s the coolest feeling ever because when it’s done, you’re the Green Goblin! That’s a dream come true. It took a long time, but it was totally worth it.
The Goblin has a gnarly face. Were you able to look at yourself?
It became a lot about looking myself in the mirror. I took this mask class when I was in acting school and it was all about looking at the mask in the mirror and letting the mask dictate how you’re going to move, how you’re going to talk. And then that way, I kind of let that makeup take over and into my veins and that’s kind of where the Goblin came from.
What was it like working opposite Andrew Garfield?
Well, Andrew’s such a great actor and he has such a great understanding of who Spider-Man is and who Peter Parker is and really just does an amazing job of embodying both those characters. He showed up to work every day prepared and ready to bring it, and any time you’re working with an actor of that caliber, it just makes the job easier because you know they’re going to come prepared and ready to go to battle.
Do you like playing the bad guy?
Yeah, sure. I really just love acting and I love playing complicated people. And I think one of the interesting things about Harry is he’s not just a bad person, he’s a human being and in the beginning of the movie, he’s a good guy. It’s just life gets away from him and he turns bad and that’s such an interesting journey to explore as an actor and I certainly had a blast doing it.
What does the future hold for Harry?
That’s a really good question. I know it’s obvious by the end of this movie they’re setting up for something bigger and what exactly that is, I’m not sure, but I’m really excited to find out.
Were you a big Spider-Man fan growing up?
Well, I think that I kind of knew I wanted to be an actor when I put on my Spider-Man pajamas and played pretend. And the first trilogy of movies was coming out when I was a kid so I was a big fan of the movies, always. And in that way, Spider-Man was a part of my life. In a way, he’s a part of most kid’s lives. Everybody wants to be Spider-Man.
You’ve done some Broadway and Off-Broadway work. Any plans to return to the New York stage?
Gosh, I really hope so. I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to come along. I’ve been a part of some really special theatrical performances in my life and I really want to go back. I’m jut waiting for the perfect thing to come along.
You seem very grounded. What keeps you from getting all caught up in stardom?
Well, I have a strong personal life; I’m married. My wife helps me keep my feet on the ground and also I’ve just always done this simply because I love acting. And I like the craft of acting. All I know I can trust in is the work itself and that’s always what it’s been about for me and that’s still what it is about. There’s a lot of things that you can easily get distracted by. As one gets more and more successful, there’s more and more distractions. But the thing that I’ve always latched onto and I know I can trust in is the work itself.