To Indiewire readers, Dane DeHaan is in all likelihood a familiar name. But to folks who don't venture out to the local arthouse cinema on a frequent basis, the 28-year-old actor is probably unknown. That's all about to change today as his first blockbuster, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," unspools in theaters nationwide.
DeHaan first cut his teeth by sharing the screen with Academy Award winner Chris Cooper in John Sayles' Philippine-American war epic "Amigo" in 2010, and followed that up by playing a key supporting part in the critically admired HBO drama "In Treatment." He's since appeared in the sci-fi sleeper hit "Chronicle," Derek Cianfrance's "The Place Beyond the Pines," Atom Egoyan's "Devil's Knot," and the Beat Generation drama "Kill Your Darlings," opposite Daniel Radcliffe.
While "Chronicle" was a commercial hit (it grossed over $60 million in the U.S.), it was a relatively indie production compared to his latest, considering it cost $12 million to produce versus "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"'s colossal budget of over $200 million.
Because of his relative obscurity, DeHaan admitted to Indiewire last week in Manhattan that Sony wouldn't let him audition at first for the role of Spider-Man's foe Harry Osborn (aka The Green Goblin) in Marc Webb's sequel to his successful reboot. So DeHaan did what any hungry actor does -- he pestered.
(When casting was underway for the initial reboot, DeHaan even tried to get seen for the title role that eventually went to Andrew Garfield. "I wanted to be Spider-Man, but I didn't have as much weight in my corner at the time.")
"I fought really hard to be a part of ['Spider-Man 2']," he said. "I wanted to do it before I saw the script. When I found out they were casting a new Harry Osborn, I started banging on the door to get it."
Key to snagging the part was convincing the studio that he had a unique take on Osbourne, who was previously played by James Franco in the original Sam Raimi trilogy. On the day of the first on-screen test, following a preliminary round of auditions, DeHaan arrived early to meet with the costume department.
"I didn't want to wear the traditional Harry Osborn suit and tie. My take on the character has always been that Harry exists in today's world as this trust fund baby hipster kid. Even when I got in the makeup chair, they were slicking everyone's hair back. And I said, 'Don’t slick my hair back. Trust me, if they yell at you, I’ll take the blame. This is what I’m bringing to the table. This is what I'm selling.'"
The producers and Webb bought it, and it wasn't long after that DeHaan was suiting up on the biggest set of his career. Despite being new to the massive scale of the Sony production, DeHaan said it was easy to stay grounded due to the way Webb (who got his start with the much more modestly budgeted "(500) Days of Summer") ran his set.
"Because a film's bigger, people expect it's going to be more distracting, and that there's going to be things that are antithetical to the artistic process," DeHaan said. "Webb makes sure the resources are used in a way that aids the artistic process. We have six months to make the movie. We have the time. And Marc used that time in such a smart way. He made me forget I was making 'Spider-Man,' and made me feel like I was making an independent movie with my friends."
"All you really hear about big movie sets is people throwing printers at people," he added. "I haven't been on many of them, but I'm sure ours was unique."
The experience was so positive that DeHaan said he'd love to sign on for future installments. "When I signed up for the movie, there was no plan for it go further," he said. "But I want to come back, 'cause I had a good time."