Amazing Spider Man 2: On Location Shooting

“New York City always was and always will be Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s domain – through birth, through growing up, through high school and the famous Empire State University,” says Arad.  “Shooting the entire movie in New York was a unique opportunity to capture the sights and sounds of Peter’s world.  The idea was to use authenticity and make audiences the world over feel as they themselves are joining in his journey in the city.”

Entire Shoot in New York

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the first film in the Spider-Man franchise to shoot entirely in New York State.  “Spider-Man is from New York City and his story is a story of New York City,” says Webb.  “So to be able to shoot in our actual locations, instead of doubling it on a backlot, was really appealing.”

In addition to filming on location in New York City and Rochester, New York, the production shot on stages on Long Island and Brooklyn – comprising the largest stage footprint ever seen in the Empire State.  In fact, according to the Governor of the State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the largest film to ever shoot in New York State.

The film’s production designer, Mark Friedberg – a New Yorker himself – was especially excited by the prospect of shooting on his home turf.  “I believe in the crews.  I believe it brings a lot of energy to our creative process.  And I believe it help us tell this story – it’s a New York story and we were able to make New York part of the storytelling.  Spider-Man is a particular kind of superhero for the kinds of people that we are,” he says.

While shooting all over New York, the production drew thousands of spectators who were eager to spot their local hero in action.  “New Yorkers respond to Spider-Man with such love and joy,” says Andrew Garfield.  “It just gets everyone out.  Out of their apartments, out of their houses, out of their shops, and it gets everyone screaming and dancing.  Spider-Man their character.  He belongs to them.  He belongs to the city.  So it felt right to be there.”

“People come from far and wide to see a Spider-Man movie being shot, because it’s such a New York story, and such a big production,” adds Emma Stone.   “He’s such a beloved character and you really feel that in the city.”

Garfield also took the opportunity, when he could, to get out among the New Yorkers. “There was a great moment in between takes.  I went and played some basketball with some kids in my Spider-Man costume,” Garfield remembers.  “That was fun for me.  I had half an hour to kill and I saw them playing a pick-up game on the blacktop, so I thought I’d join them.  That was really, really fun – one of my favorite moments…”

Of course, like all self-respecting New Yorkers, those kids took it in stride.  “They were just like, ‘Yeah, we’re playing basketball with Spider-Man, whatever,’” Garfield laughs.

Friedberg says that because Peter Parker’s home is outside Manhattan, moviegoers will experience a rarely seen side of New York.  “New York is not just Midtown – it’s Queens, it’s Brooklyn, it’s DUMBO, it’s the bridges and tunnels – in fact, Spider-Man leaves a message for Gwen on the side of the bridge from under the FDR.  There are neighborhoods that don’t get a lot of exploration on film – places you’d never think to go if you were only shooting in New York for two weeks.”

Indeed, the film shot all over New York City, including outside the Hearst Building, which fills in for Oscorp Industries, on 57th Street at Eighth Avenue; at Lincoln Center on the West Side; in the Bensonhurst neighborhood in Brooklyn; Manhattan’s Flatiron District; Union Square; Park Avenue; Chelsea; the Upper East Side; DUMBO in Brooklyn; the Financial District; Throgs Neck in the Bronx; East River Park on the Lower East Side; Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn; and Chinatown in Manhattan.

Times Square

Some of the city’s most famous sections get starring roles.  In one of the larger action sequences of the film, Max Dillon, played by Jamie Foxx, newly transformed into glowing, blue-skinned Electro, wanders through the streets of Manhattan, amazed by his newfound power to control electricity.  Finding that his strength increases as he drinks in more voltage, Electro naturally gravitates to Times Square – a location that runs neck-and-neck with the Las Vegas Strip for using the most electrical power in the U.S.

The production filmed with Jamie Foxx on location in busy Times Square for one night, while the majority of the sequence was filmed on the production’s back lot at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage, New York.  “Out in Long Island we built a huge section of the northern part of Times Square to have as much control over it as possible,” says Webb.  The replica included perfect copies of the storefronts along Broadway and Seventh Avenue from 46th to 47th Streets, including Father Duffy Square, with its red bleachers and TKTS booth surrounded by the bright billboards of Times Square.

“We all know what Times Square looks like – it’s an iconic venue.  So even though we were recreating it, it had to look and feel exactly like Times Square,” says Tolmach.  “We built a set that was literally the size of Times Square, with green screens literally as large as the screens that you see in Times Square – and we lit it up like Times Square.  The scope was simply enormous.”

The reason for re-creating Times Square – rather than filming in the real location, one of the most highly trafficked on the planet – will be clear to anyone who has seen the film.  The action involves exploding Jumbotrons, flying police cars, gunfire and panicked mobs.  “I think New York City is glad we built it and didn’t try and do that to the real one,” laughs Friedberg.

Long Island: Oscorp Industries

Other huge sets that Friedberg and his team built were the various interiors of Oscorp Industries, the story’s mega-corporation that is in forefront of military and genetic research.  At Grumman stages on Long Island, the production built Norman Osborn’s penthouse office, as well as Oscorp’s Special Projects Division, while Oscorp’s power plant was built on the Gold Coast back lot.

In Brooklyn’s cavernous Marcy Armory, which the production used as a stage, Friedberg and his team built the sleek, three-story tall Oscorp lobby, filled with authentic artwork on loan from some of New York’s most prestigious galleries.  “The challenge for us was to built the lobby of what should be a half-billion dollar building, not using a half billion dollars, and try to make good or interesting architecture,” the designer says.