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The Spider bites back.

Spider-Man Tobey Maguire isn't your normal macho Hollywood superhero. The boyishly handsome 32-year-old even admits he doesn't do the genuinely tough stunts.

"Any actor who says 'I do all my own stunts' is not telling you the truth, unless they're jumping over a little gate or something," says the star of Spider-Man 3.

"When I watch the stuntmen do really crazy stuff I get blown away. I can't believe they do that!"

But there is more action from him this time in the third instalment of the profitable Spider-Man franchise, he admits. "I had more fights in this movie. I had to do more because there's more with my face on it, but it wasn't really outside the boundaries of what I've done before."

He didn't undergo a tough workout regime to prepare for the role, he says. "I didn't want to do the extreme thing I've done in the past. You know, train like a boxer for a few months then afterwards you just completely let go, which is what I've done before. It's not very healthy physically or psychologically."

The third web-clinging adventure delves further into the darker, more personal side of Peter Parker. Ego begins to bring out a vengeful side of the young photographer who leads a double life as a superhero crime-fighter.

"Part of it is kind of battling my dark side, Peter Parker's own kind of character flaws," Tobey says. "We've gone into some different areas that were fun for me without losing touch with who Peter is."

In Spider-Man 3 our superhero becomes overconfident and starts to neglect the people who care about him. He upsets the balance between his devotion to Mary Jane and his duties as a Marvel comic superhero. The film features two new villains, Sandman and Venom, Kirsten Dunst returns as Mary Jane and James Franco plays Harry Osborn (New Goblin) Peter's former best friend who believes Spider-Man killed his dad.

Tobey likes the fact that the film shows more of Spidey's human face.

"We like to connect to the character. If you go away too long you create emotional distance from what he's going through. It's a balance of delivering the iconic image and hooking into the character."

And then there's the growing on-screen romance with Mary Jane. "There's a lot more romance in this movie, definitely. Their relationship is the heart of the story."

But with the third web-slinging adventure in the can, the big question is this: will there be a fourth Spider-Man film? The rumour is Tobey's being offered $20m to slip on the Spider-Man outfit once more, and it'll go ahead with or without him.

"It all depends if there's a story worth telling," Tobey says. "I'm very proud of the three that have been made. If we feel like we can make a good movie then I'm up for it."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 4, 2007
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