By now, fans of the latest Spider-Man installment, No Way Home — which stars Tom Holland as the current Peter Parker — will know that both Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire reprised their older roles in “surprise” cameos.
Well, “surprise” might be a stretch, considering that for many months ahead of the film’s release, both Andrew and Tobey were repeatedly faced with questions about their involvement following rife speculation from die-hard fans and media outlets.
During several interviews, Andrew in particular kept insisting that the rumors were false — so much so that it became a huge talking point on the internet, with compilations of all his denials making the rounds time and again.
Of course, Andrew finally gave up the act when the movie hit theaters mid-December. No Way Home has since accumulated huge success, breaking box office records and remaining in the top spot since its release.
Now, speaking on his prolonged denial — or performance, rather — in a new interview on Sunday, Andrew admitted that he found the whole thing “rather stressful.”
“It was stressful, I’m not gonna lie,” he told TheWrap. “It was rather stressful but also weirdly enjoyable.”
“It was like this massive game of Werewolf that I was playing with journalists and with people guessing, and it was very fun,” he added.
If you didn’t know, the game Werewolf involves a group of people, some of whom are secret “werewolves” tasked with hiding their identity from the others.
“Like anyone who’s played the game Werewolf knows, if you are the werewolf your heart kind of sinks because you know you have a stressful couple of hours ahead of you,” Andrew went on. “You’re gonna have to lie to your friends’ faces and try to convince them that you are not the bad guy in the game... But it was thrilling, actually.”
Andrew continued, “There were moments where I was like, ‘God, I hate lying.’ I don’t like to lie and I’m not a good liar, but I kept framing it as a game. And I kept imagining myself purely as a fan of that character, which is not hard to do.”
“I placed myself in that position of, ‘Well, what would I want to know? Would I want to be toyed with? Would I want to be lied to? Would I want to be kept on my toes guessing? Would I want to discover it when I went to the theater? Would I want to be guessing, guessing, guessing?’” he said.
Refuting his own concerns, Andrew said: “I would want the actor to do an incredibly good job at convincing me he wasn’t in it. And then I would want to lose my mind in the theater when my instinct was proven right. That’s what I would want.”
In light of his long-winded efforts at keeping the cameo a secret, Andrew recalled feeling disheartened after apparent leaks from the Spider-Man set — which appeared to show him and Tobey shooting in Atlanta — began circulating online.
“I worked so hard to keep it a secret that I was in Atlanta shooting,” he said. “All these leaks were happening, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, guys, what the hell is going on? I’m working so hard here to stay secret, and then here’s an image of me with Tobey!’ And they’re like, ‘No, no, we’re gonna keep it quiet.’ ‘OK, I’ll keep denying it.’
Andrew added, “I was happy to do it, but it was a lot of work on everyone’s part. It obviously gave people a big thrill in the theater, and what more do you want from a theater experience than a thrill?”
“It’s been a rare experience to play that mass game of Werewolf with every single Spider-Man fan in the world,” he concluded.
But in spite of everything, it looks like all’s well that ends well, as theater audiences worldwide loved the big reveal. In fact, many erupted into screams and applause at the sight of the beloved Spider-Mans on screen again.
And it turns out that Andrew and Tobey may very well have experienced some of the rush in person, as the pair decided to sneak into a movie theater to watch the film on opening night.
“I snuck into a theater on opening night and just watched with my baseball cap on and my mask,” Andrew told Entertainment Tonight last week. “In fact, I was also with Tobey — me and Tobey snuck into a theater together and no one knew we were there. It was just a really beautiful thing to share together.”
Many fans have since widely credited Andrew and Tobey for not only choosing to return to the beloved Marvel film, but for keeping (as) quiet (as possible) on its multiverse-fueled plot.
Reflecting on his decision to return for the first time last week, Andrew revealed that while he was pretty much down to reprise his role from day one, it was a certain scene with costar Zendaya — who portrays MJ — that really “sold” him.
“My Spider-Man got to save his younger brother’s romantic relationship, potentially. And to heal the most traumatic moment of his own life through doing it for his younger brother,” Andrew told Variety of the now-renowned scene.
For context: In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Andrew's Peter Parker failed to save his love interest Gwen Stacy, who dies after falling from the clock tower. In No Way Home, however, he manages to save MJ from a similar fall — something that he called “a second chance at saving Gwen.”
“I will say the image of my catching [Zendaya's] MJ — that was really beautiful and it kind of sold me on the whole thing,” he said, before adding that he was “grateful” for the opportunity to "tie up some loose ends" from his own franchise.
“It was joyful, and a feeling of closure for me. There was so many unanswered questions for my Peter, where we left it. I got to step back in and get some healing for him,” he said.