But before the hoopla of a blockbuster superhero flick unfolds, DeHaan is talking about his newest film, "The Place Beyond the Pines." Taking place over a 15-year stretch, the movie stars Ryan Gosling as Luke, a stunt motorcyclist who finds out he has a son from a one-night stand with a waitress (Eva Mendes). The choices Luke makes over the next few months end up affecting everyone around him, including his son (the grown version of which is played by DeHaan).
We sat down with DeHaan to discuss the film, starring in last year's found-footage superhero flick "Chronicle," having a non-speaking role in "Lincoln," and what to expect from his turn as Harry Osborn in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
You've been having quite the year. Yeah, so far. We're only a couple months into this one, though [laughs].
I assume you'd seen "Blue Valentine" before this? Absolutely. Even reading the script you understand it's a very ambitious movie. But I knew Derek [Cianfrance] would be directing it, so it was awesome. The kind of performances he got out of "Blue Valentine," that's kind of what I strive for as an actor. So the opportunity to get that out of me was really exciting.
Since you're playing the son of Ryan Gosling's and Eva Mendes's characters in this movie, did you try to study their mannerisms at all? I don't really work in a way where I study mannerisms. I actually made a specific choice -- and I think Derek did as well -- to keep Ryan and I separate. I didn't want to watch any of Ryan's footage. And I did that because Ryan to me is someone I truly look up to and I have a lot of respect for. At the time, it was almost like a mystic, I-could-learn-so-much-from-you respect. That, in a lot of ways, mirrors the way Jason has with his father, in that his father is somebody he built up in his mind to be the key to his life. If he can find out who is father is it will set him free.
Did it take you a while to get the hang of riding a motorcycle? A little bit. I knew how to drive a stick shift car, which is helpful in terms of the clutch. But that scene in the movie, it's the longest and fastest I have still ever ridden on a motorcycle. It was fun.
You worked with a ton of talented actors and directors over the last year, like Bradley Cooper and Steven Spielberg. Has there been one piece of advice that you've taken with you? Hm, I don't know. Not particularly. It's not like I ask all these questions and look for advice. I learn something from everybody I work with. I think I would be a fool to think I didn't. Ultimately, how I look at it is I am acting, and acting is something I've always wanted to do. I am really lucky that I get to do it at this crazy level that I never thought I'd be able to, and I get to do it with these people that I never thought I'd get a chance to work with. I soak it all in. Ultimately, I try to carve my own path.
I assume you soaked it all in on the set of "Lincoln." That was just one night [of shooting]. It was super fun. When you get the phone call of "Do you want to spend a night with Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg?" the answer is yes [laughs]. It gave me a lot of respect for actors who have to go in there and knock it out in one day. It's actually a really tough job to do that. Obviously it was amazing to watch Spielberg and DDL working together. And the production value on the set was amazing. It was certainly a memorable night.
Do you audition for a small non-speaking role like that? No, that was just one of those things where Spielberg called my agent.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, "Chronicle" has seemed to take off into this cult hit. Yeah, it's been super well-received. I think it makes more sense than most found-footage movies. I think ultimately whatever the movie is, it will be successful if it's told in a really human way and it resonates with people. I think we did a good job in that movie of not only telling this crazy story but showing human beings going through things and why things were happening and why they were moving forward. In a really interesting way it all made a whole lot of sense.
You'll get to do the superhero thing again with "Spider-Man 2" in 2014. Where were you when you first heard about the Harry Osborn gig? That was such a long, drawn-out process to get that part. I really battled, from getting my first audition to going all the way through. Like, three times I was convinced that I completely didn't get it and I was just moving on in my life. So, honestly, when I finally got the phone call that said I got the part, I was obviously ecstatic. It was a childhood dream come true. But it was also a huge sigh of relief because I had won the war [laughs]. I had done battle after battle after battle. I was like, I can relax now.
Is there one particular thing you want Spider-Man fans to know about your version of Harry? Just let them know that they might think they know, but they have no idea.
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"The Place Beyond the Pines" this theaters in a limited release on March 29.