For many actors, sitting in a makeup chair for hours can be tedious. Not Dane DeHaan of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Hes like one of those rare cats that likes a bath.
I get really into it I love it, he said of wearing prosthetics, in this case to play the Green Goblin in Spider-Man 2, which opens Friday. Its interesting because so many actors are always trying to look so different, and do such different things, but they dont really tap into the (makeup and costume) part of it that can truly make you look like a different person.
DeHaan, 28, was willing to go green and don a 50-pound suit to play the villainous alter ego of Harry Osborn, Peter Parkers (Andrew Garfield) childhood friend.
After completing the daily, four-hour transformative process, you get to stare in the mirror and you are like I am the Green Goblin, and I get to spend all day trying to kill Spider-Man, DeHaan said. I would wait four hours for that any day.
Spider-Man 2 marks DeHaans first foray into comic-book films, but not prosthetics. His breakout films, the 2012 high school sci-fi fantasy Chronicle and 2013 multigenerational family drama The Place Beyond the Pines, both messed with DeHaans angelic face. In Chronicle, explosions altered his looks. In Pines, in which he played a criminals confused, searching son, it was fists.
DeHaan said he does not look for extreme roles, just interesting ones. The makeup jobs manifest from there.
When I read a script and say, Theres no way I can do that, its probably the (role) I will want to do, said DeHaan, graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. That probably correlates to the fact I play a lot of characters who go through a lot even as far as turning into monsters.
Expectations for Amazing Spider-Man 2, sequel to the 2012 movie that rebooted the Spider-Man franchise and earned more than $750 million worldwide, are considerably higher than for previous DeHaan films. As in, as high as the Manhattan skyscrapers from which Spidey swings.
DeHaans profile up to now that of a mostly independent-film actor who plays tortured exceptionally well also is likely to soar.
Speaking by phone from the Brooklyn apartment he shares with his actress wife, Anna Wood, DeHaan acknowledges that my life is about to change in a big way with Spider-Man 2s release.
Yet he also still sees the pure fun of appearing in a comic-book film, viewing it as a (very expensive) extension of playtime activities from his Allentown, Pa., boyhood.
I always wanted to be an actor, and I started wanting to be an actor by playing pretend in my house and dressing up like superheroes, DeHaan said. Now I get to do it on a bigger scale, and take it a lot more seriously, in a way that fulfills the serious actor part of me.
DeHaan also liked the nuances within Harry, who turns villain as part of a bid to stop a disease inherited from his dying father, Norman (Chris Cooper). Norman Osborn owns Oscorp, the corporation that once employed Peters father and manufactures trouble for the Parkers more than any other product.
He is forced to make all these decisions about how to save his own life, DeHaan said of Harry. He doesnt just resort to the most extreme option first. It is quite an arc that Harry goes through. It is not just an evil journey.
DeHaan has seen the aughts Spider-Man films in which James Franco played Harry. But not since they came out, and certainly not for this, he said, referring to the new Spider-Man 2. I wanted my own take on the role.
DeHaan also has followed Franco in playing James Dean. Franco starred as Dean in a 2001 TV movie and DeHaan plays him in the forthcoming Life, opposite Robert Pattinson, who plays Life magazine photographer Dennis Stock.
Of course the delicately handsome DeHaan is playing Dean. All sensitive young actors since Dean inevitably are compared with him, from Franco to Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Gosling.
DeHaan looks most like DiCaprio, but his screen presence hews closer to Goslings in that both can seem like threats to others as well as themselves.
In last years Kill Your Darlings, DeHaan charmed and mesmerized as Beat Generation figure and convicted killer Lucien Carr, a college friend of Allen Ginsbergs (Daniel Radcliffe).
In the movie, Ginsberg harbors an intense crush on Carr, who DeHaan plays as a dangerous combination of young, reckless and profoundly sad. You worry for little Harry Potter.
DeHaans performance is the reason to see this film, Betsy Sharkey wrote in her Darlings review in the Los Angeles Times. The actor brings such a complex mix of bravado and vulnerability to Lucien, you feel an absence any time he leaves the screen.
Spending time with Garfield, Radcliffe and Twilight star Pattinson contemporaries age-wise but old hands at fame presented DeHaan with examples of how to handle the media and fan scrutiny he might face after Spider-Man 2s release. Seeing Radcliffe handle himself with what DeHaan called grace and graciousness was particularly instructive.
Dan is amazing at dealing with it, he said. People come up to him like, Oh my gosh, its so good to see you, and he is just like really happy that someones there and telling him they really like him.
Observing famous co-stars provided lessons otherwise hard to come by.
There are questions you have that you cant Google, DeHaan said. You cant really Google, Hey, I am at dinner, and theres 20 people waiting outside the restaurant for me. What do I do?"
His marriage to Wood, who appeared in Chronicle, has been a big grounding force in my life as his film roles have grown more prominent. The fact that I have somebody in my life (there) before this all got crazy, who knows who I really am it keeps me sane, DeHaan said.
But if his career goes the way he wants, he need not worry about anyone recognizing him on the street. First theres his affection for prosthetics.
He also admires how actors disappear into roles without them. Like Guy Pearce, with whom DeHaan appeared in the 2012 period crime drama Lawless.
He showed up on set with his eyebrows shaved, and this part shaved down his hair, DeHaan said. That guy is such a chameleon. I feel like every time I see him in a movie, it takes me maybe the entire movie to realize its him.
That is really exciting to me.
Call The Bees Carla Meyer, (916) 321-1118. Follow her on Twitter @CarlaMeyerSB.