The soft-spoken 27-year-old thesp Dane DeHaan locked onto the geek radar in a big way last year with the sleeper smash Chronicle, in which he played a high schooler whose super daddy issues outweigh his new cosmic superpowers, leading to massive super-villainy.
He continues the tortured father/son dynamic in Derek Cianfrance’s new familial drama The Place Beyond the Pines, and we got to speak one-on-one with the intense young actor on Sunday about his upcoming role as Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and how that character’s privileged upbringing distinguishes him from his other characters.
“First of all, ‘Chronicle’ was about a kid with an abusive father,” said DeHaan. “‘Place Beyond the Pines’ is about a kid who doesn’t know who his father is, and they’re very different relationships. Obviously with Harry Osborn, the privilege of it is another dynamic. The relationship Harry has with Norman is a different dynamic. Every son has a relationship with their father, whether that father is there or not, and that always has an effect on the person whether they admit it or not. There’s a lot of different ways those relationships are complicated.”
As for whether there is more to be mined from this character that James Franco didn’t touch on in Sam Raimi’s trilogy, DeHaan seemed hesitant to draw a comparison.
“I dunno, I mean Franco did his thing, I’ll do my thing,” DeHaan stated dryly.
When the subject turned to his lack of comic book nerddom, DeHaan was much more outspoken, although hinting that he is indeed doing his homework vis-à-vis a stack or two of Marvel trade paperbacks.
“I don’t think you have to be a fan of something to do the job,” he said matter-of-factly. “I think ultimately it’s important that I’m familiar with past takes on the Osborn story, more for like common, know-it-all ’cause it’s stuff I should know. My job as an actor is the same job, whether its a comic book movie or a gritty Derek Cianfrance drama, or a ‘Chronicle,’ or a ‘Lawless,’ which is to take a character and, for lack of better word, to breathe life into it. I’m a fan of acting!”
Testing the waters to see if DeHaan was interested in making his mark on another mega-franchise, we pointed out his remarkable similarity to a young Mark Hamill and asked him point-blank if he’d be interested in entering the “Star Wars” universe as a young Skywalker progeny in Star Wars: Episode VII.
“My dad would really like that!” DeHaan smiled. “My dad’s a really big ‘Star Wars’ fan. I’ve never really been a ‘Star Wars’ fan, though. I dunno why, maybe it’s ’cause my dad liked it so much. (laughs) I have no idea why, it’s just never really been my thing. I’ve always gravitated towards comic book movies. I don’t read comic books, but I love the last Batman franchise, Sam Raimi’s second ‘Spider-Man’ was pretty sick. The first ‘Iron Man’ was really great, I couldn’t wait for ‘Captain America’ to come out. Those are my guilty pleasures for sure.”
(Photo Credit: Ian Wilson/WENN.com)