NEW YORK — Welsh actor Rhys Ifans asserts that he's oddly and uniquely qualified to play the raging, reptilian villain in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” the epic new rebuild of Marvel Comics' classic superhero franchise.
As the earnest, brilliant Dr. Curt Connors, the one-armed OsCorp research scientist who morphs into the rampaging arch-villain The Lizard, Ifans said his ace card in landing the coveted role in what promises to be another lucrative run of summer blockbusters (following the three Sam Raimi-directed films of summers past) was his classical training as an actor at London's Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
“Theatrical training really helps when it comes to green screen performance and stuff like that,” Ifans said during a press conference hosted by Columbia Pictures at the tony Crosby Street Hotel in Soho. “In the theater you do have to apply your imagination a lot more than you would on a film set.
“Generally, if you're looking at a New York landscape in a film they fly you to New York and you look at the landscape,” he said. “In the theater, you have to conjure it all in your mind. ”
Ifans' film resume attests to his wide versatility, ranging from period drama in “Anonymous,” to dark “Harry Potter” fantasy, to light “Nanny McPhee” fairy tales, to the urban angst of “Greenberg.” In addition to loads of live performance on stage, Ifans' career also boasts a gritty rock 'n' roll facet — he once fronted the band Super Furry Animals and now acts as lead singer for Welsh group The Peth.
While Ifans said his personal knowledge of science is sketchy (“Making a cup of coffee is alchemy to me”), he did feel that his rock 'n' roll lineage helped inform his performance as Spider-Man's Jekyll-and-Hyde nemesis.
“There wasn't any specific rock 'n' roll inspiration for playing Connors because you need two hands to play a guitar,” the actor said. “But I just think the whole Spider-Man fantasy is rock 'n' roll in spirit anyway. And often on set, (director Marc Webb) in scenes with no dialogue would play songs from the soundtrack. Marc is also a huge music fan, and we share very similar musical tastes.