Alfred Molina just gave Spidey fans something to look forward to when the latest installment in Sony’s Marvel franchise, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” hits theaters on December 17. In a new interview with Variety, the actor confirmed, after much fan speculation, that he’s returning to the series to reprise the role of Otto Octavius, a.k.a. Doc Ock, that he originated in 2004’s “Spider-Man 2,” directed by Sam Raimi. But, there’s a catch: This time, in Jon Watts’ film, the actor will be de-aged.
“It was very interesting going back after 17 years to play the same role, given that in the intervening years, I now have two chins, a wattle, crow’s feet and a slightly dodgy lower back,” Molina said, explaining why he asked director Jon Watts how he could possibly return as Doc Ock now that the actor is 67.
“He just looked at me, and said, ‘Did you see what we did to Bob Downey Jr. and Sam Jackson?’” Molina said. He’s referring to how for 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” Marvel de-aged Robert Downey Jr. using CGI, and in 2019’s “Captain Marvel,” also de-aged Samuel L. Jackson to play a 1990s-era Nick Fury.
Molina tipped Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” — which de-aged Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci — as both a reference point and a cautionary tale for approaching the technology.
“They made Robert De Niro’s face younger, but when he was fighting, he looked like an older guy,” Molina said. “He looked like an old guy! That’s what worried me about doing it again.”
While Molina acknowledged that “I don’t have the same physicality that I had 17 years ago,” he remembered that “it’s the tentacles that do all the work… the arms are doing all the killing and smashing and breaking.”
Though Marvel Studios and Sony haven’t officially confirmed Molina’s return, fan rumors have been swirling for awhile on a Doc Ock reappearance in the Tom Holland-led film.
“When we were shooting it, we were all under orders not to talk about it, because it was supposed to be some great big secret,” Molina said. “But, you know, it’s all over the internet. I actually described myself as the worst kept secret in Hollywood!”