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Feature: Spider-Man 2

One-Man Army

Getting to grips

More deadly than Green Goblin? Find out as we talk to the man with the arch-enemy role, Alfred Molina as Doc Ock.

Enter Dr Otto Octavius aka Doctor Octopus aka ‘Doc Ock’. A brilliant, but revenge-obsessed scientist with a genius for criminal technology, Octavius becomes Doc Ock when combined with a set of mechanical ‘tentacles’ whose strength is a definite match for that of Spider-Man.

Okay, so if you’re Sam Raimi, you’ve decided on the bad guy, now who’s going to play him? After all, Willem Dafoe as the Goblin cast a long shadow.

The man ultimately chosen to play Doc Ock reveals that it was a search before he landed the role. British actor Alfred Molina is the kind of actor who slips chameleon-like from role to role, rarely repeating himself. On stage, TV, or film, his talent lights up the scene even if he’s not its focus, though very few film-makers make the mistake any more of simply relegating him to minor roles. A character actor in the best sense, Molina’s career is the kind that offers him the creative freedom to create indelible characters.

So, having said all that, it seems obvious that the producers of Spider-Man 2 must have decided right off the bat that Molina and only Molina could bring Doc Ock to life. Well, it didn’t happen that way. It was a search, remember?

“They asked me if I wanted to come in and read for the part,” he reveals. “There was a whole bunch of other actors who were on a short list. I was one of something like five and we all read for it on different days and then I guess they made their minds up. They didn’t come chasing me by any means.” Molina explains why the part didn’t come to him immediately. “I mean I’ve got no track record in these kinds of movie. The last sort of big movie that I did which was in any way comparable was Raiders of the Lost Ark. And that was 22 years ago. So I was surprised and delighted to be on the list.”

Even with the actor’s gypsy-like résumé, stepping into a Spider-Man film was a definite change of pace, a fact that made working on the picture very attractive. “It was just completely different – I’d never done it before, never worked at this technical level before, never had the opportunity to work with such high-end special effects. I’d never worked on a movie that was on such a big scale. That was a whole new experience for me so I was keen to do it. I also wanted to do it because, as a kid, I was always a fan of Spider-Man comics, though it hadn’t been part of my world for years.”

by James Brooks

Get the full interview when you buy
Starburst #310

Photo © Sony Pictures Entertainment
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Starburst #310
May 2004
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