Spider-Man 2: Jamie Foxx talks playing Electro

Jim Slotek, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 PM ET

NEW YORK - Call it stereotyping, but if I were casting the Steve Urkel story, Jamie Foxx is not the nerd I’d be looking for.

But there he is, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as a geek named Max, sweaty, tongue-tied and sporting, in Foxx’s words, “the first black comb-over.” Max’s destiny is to become the Spider-Man villain Electro, following a workplace accident at the evil corporation Oscorp.

But as Max, Foxx turned heads on Times Square.

“When I was Max on the streets, girls are like ‘Look at Jamie Foxx, look at that hair, oh my God, something is off with him! Uh UH!’” Foxx says of his mojo-killing look.

But there’s a reason Foxx went geek. “Y’know what? It was fame fatigue.

“What I mean by that is any time I get a chance to disappear into some kind of character is great to do, because we (celebrities) bombard people with our image every single day on Instagram or Twitter. So to be the first black comb-over and put the gap in the teeth and go back to sort of my days in (the TV sketchcom) In Living Color, that’s great.”

Max has another facet that attracted Foxx to the role. He’s a Spider-Man super-fan, with pictures all over his walls, who comes to feel betrayed and refocuses his worship into hate. The end-game of celebrity stalking, if you will.

“Max is sort of like broken and really reaching out. Even though the character is broad, when he sees Spider-Man it does something to him. We understand when he turns into Electro, he’s hurt more than he is evil. He’s just let down as a fan. And I understand the fanatic thing too

“I was in Philly shooting a movie,” Foxx goes on, “and I get a knock on my door on my condo, and there’s a guy says ‘Hey Jamie, Beyonce told me to come check on you. Can I just come in?’ And I had to slam the door and call security. They actually caught him.

“But I wanted to inject a little bit of that sort of fanatic into Max as well.”

As Electro, Foxx is covered head to toe in prosthetics, with scary glowing contact lenses. Dane DeHaan, who plays his partner-in-wanting-to-kill-Spider-Man Harry Osborn/The Green Goblin, says, “Jamie didn’t have any pores on his body that were breathing.”

“I think my sister was scared,” Foxx says of his family’s set visits. “When I had the stuff on and the eyes, she was like, ‘Don’t look at me with all that, please.’ My (five-year-old) daughter, on the other hand, would walk up and touch it.”

A more classical inspiration for Electro’s hate, Foxx says, came from the character of Salieri in Amadeus. “The way he felt about Mozart. I wanted Electro to have that jealousy, like, ‘I want what you have as opposed to what I’ve been blessed with.’ I remember when Salieri said, ‘This is who He chose, this little monkey!’ And then he takes the cross and he burns it. That was like, ‘Wow, this guy is in a dark place.’

“I think our characters in the Spider-Man franchise, the villains, are purely villains. They’ve been used and misunderstood. But you never know. If I come back, I may be a little more sinister.”

Foxx says he hasn’t signed on for the upcoming instalments (the studio has announced plans for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4, as well as a villain spinoff, The Sinister Six). But he says he expects to.

“Electricity doesn’t die, baby!”

Twitter: @jimslotek

jim.slotek@sunmedia.ca


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