Spider-Man 2’s Dane DeHaan is about to be public frenemie #1
By Lisa Kennedy
Dane DeHaan’s handsomeness can be hard to pin down. There’s his full mouth, which can capture wit or ache. Then there are his eyes, capable of smoke, vulnerability, malice.
All are moods he’s delivered in his still-nascent but utterly disciplined career: from the HBO series “In Treatment” to his Obie Award-winning performance in Annie Baker’s Off-Broadway play “The Aliens”; from his turn as an accidental superhero in 2012’s sleeper hit “Chronicle” to a super-villain in the Spider-Man” franchise.
Fair-haired, blue-eyed, the actor has got a lightness to him that he can deftly turn to darkness.
So take note of that face. You’re likely to see it a fair amount over the years to come.
Beginning May 2, the 28-year-old’s compelling visage and gift for mutability will be on global display in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” DeHaan portrays Harry Osborn, boyhood friend to Peter Parker. He also suits up as the Green Goblin, dedicated foe of Parker’s alter-(superhero) ego.
“Spider-Man 2” is a behemoth new to the actor.
“It’s a completely different monster,” he said on the phone before joining co-stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone on a publicity juggernaut.
“I haven’t actually been on the press tour yet because I was finishing up a film in Toronto. I’ll join everybody in London. … It’s exciting to see the kind of impact this kind of film can have on people around the world.”
As of Thursday, the sequel of the rebooted franchise had taken in $43 million in its overseas opening.
Son of a computer programmer and furniture company exec, DeHaan was born and raised in Allentown, Pa. He left Pennsylvania for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he got a degree in acting.
Last fall, DeHaan was nominated for a Gotham Awards Breakthrough kudo for his turn opposite Daniel Radcliffe in “Kill Your Darlings,” a moody indie drama about poet Allen Ginsberg’s undergrad years at Columbia University. He portrayed fellow student Lucien Carr.
Based on the man to whom Ginsberg later dedicated “Howl,” Carr could be cruel, kind, charismatic. And the gifted writer from New Jersey falls for him.
It’s tempting to see a kinship in Carr’s and Harry Osborn’s ability to swing from friend to foe and back.
“They both have a darkness to them,” their portrayer said. “But Lucien is a charmer. There’s a sexual prowess and energy he has. He knows how to manipulate people with that and control them with that. He’s almost like a black widow spider luring people into his web.”
Of his latest role, DeHaan says, Harry is “just born powerful. He has a gigantic trust fund. He inherits a billion-dollar corporation. He tries to buy his happiness. He can impress people alone with his money and power. “
For his recent role in the zombie film “Life After Beth” Variety magazine’s Geoffrey Berkshire wrote, “The movie truly belongs to DeHaan, Both a deft comedian and a soulful dramatic presence, the young actor is shaping up to be one of the most idiosyncratic leading men of his generation.”
For his part DeHaan nods at the luck of getting so far, so fast. Yet he has some rather journeyman insights for young actors.
“Make no mistake, what is happening to me is a dream come true. I probably had a better chance of winning the lottery than I did of having all these opportunities come through,” he said.
But “I spent a lot of time learning how to do this. I didn’t even step into an audition room until I graduated from college, then spent five years training from 7 in the morning to 11 at night learning how to do this.”
It’s not how every actor breaks through, he admitted. But it may be how this one sticks around.
Lisa Kennedy: 303-954-1567, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/bylisakennedy