You've read Molly Lambert's account of the friendship and rivalry between Hollywood's original bros. Now decide for yourself if you're on Team Leo or Team Tobey, as the Grantland staff recount some of the highlights of their respective careers.
It sounds like the plot of a science fiction movie: Two boys are selected to enter into the same profession as youths, climb their way up the ranks as friends, and compete against each other for the best jobs as men. They make a series of choices, some dictated by fate and others by chance, that ultimately make them very different from each other as adults. They remain best friends throughout it all, each one sometimes secretly wondering what his life would have been like if he had been born the other. That dystopian future scenario is more or less the story of Leonardo DiCaprio (born in Hollywood, 1974) and Tobey Maguire (Santa Monica, 1975), the longterm BFFs who are starring in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby as the iconic pair of toxic BFFs.
Maguire and DiCaprio met hustling the L.A. audition circuit for the same child actor parts. Both had been working sporadically in TV and film. Maguire had done guest shots on the '80s Twilight Zone reboot, Blossom, and Roseanne. DiCaprio logged two episodes on The New Lassie, playing the role of "Glen," which was also played by Robin Thicke. Leo also did an episode of Roseanne and played "Young Mason Capwell" on the soap opera Santa Barbara. Both kids came from divorced parents and had bounced around lots of shitty apartment complexes. As child actors, they found a way to generate their own income at an age where most professions wouldn't legally be allowed to hire them.
How you feel about this reboot of Marvel's superhero franchise probably depends a great deal on how much you liked Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3. Since I hated Spider-Man 2 so much that I never saw its sequel — guys, it just made no sense for Doc Ock to attack Peter Parker in the middle of the movie if he didn't know he was also Spider-Man!!! — I thought The Amazing Spider-Man was all right.
Working in The Amazing Spider-Man's favor is, above all, its casting. In the title role, Andrew Garfield may be a bit too cool to be totally believable as a high school pariah — even though, yes, I know, he wears glasses. But you do buy it when his new powers leave him first flummoxed and scared, and then delighted by the possibilities, particularly as they may help him to avenge the death of a loved one. As Gwen, his love interest, Emma Stone is as charming as always. Rhys Ifans — whom I sat next to at my neighborhood Starbucks in New York during filming, no big deal — makes a compelling villain, even if he suffers a bit from the contemporary vogue of making the bad guy too empathetic (not every movie antagonist has to be King Kong). And though the film was quite long in the cinema, it might not feel so sluggish at home if you can read a magazine during the dull parts.
Why would Spider-Man get a reboot — this time, with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker — only five years after the Tobey Maguire–led franchise churned out its last installment? Because of $$$$$. THR is reporting that the new Spidey movie, The Amazing Spider-Man, is tracking extremely well with all kinds of audience demographics, "suggesting a six-day opening of $125 million or more, the best showing of any summer film outside of box office goliath The Avengers." Well then!
When Marc Webb was announced as the director of The Amazing Spider-Man, the long overdue reboot of a franchise left sadly rudderless since the first year of the Obama campaign, certain assumptions were made. That Webb just might have the perfect kicky-cool visual style — not to mention last name — to reinvigorate the most pop of popular superheroes. That a greater emphasis would be placed on the story’s sweet-natured romance between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, his doomed (in the comics at least) blonde love. That even if Spidey didn’t tussle with the Vulture he at least might dance with him to some early-eighties Yacht Rock in a totally non-ironic way.