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‘Only Living Boy in New York’: Marc Webb Says He Needed to Direct Something on a Smaller Scale After ‘Spider-Man’

At Monday night’s New York premiere of the indie drama “The Only Living Boy in New York,” which took place at the Museum of Modern Art, the film’s director, Marc Webb, told Variety that after working on “The Amazing Spider-Man” and its sequel, he was happy to take a break and helm something on a smaller scale. Though, “if they’ll have me, I’ll return to doing bigger movies in the future.”

He then elaborated on the need for a change. “I needed a little bit of that after the ‘Spider-Man’ thing, where there’s so many expectations,” he said. “This was really fun to make, and low stress. It was a bunch of people in a room messing around, having a lot of fun.”

The premiere was held by Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions, and Webb said he appreciates that Amazon lets their movies have a theatrical run before they hit the Amazon Prime streaming service. “We shot on film, and you can tell the difference much more on a projected screen than you can on TV,” he said.

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The drama follows a young man, played by Callum Turner, who discovers his father (Pierce Brosnan), a successful publisher, is having an affair and resolves to end it. Turner told Variety the character couldn’t be further from who he is, and that’s why he wanted the role.

“He’s from a privileged background, I’m not. He’s from New York, I’m not. The affair was so alien to me, as my mum brought me up. There’s all these things that were completely unrelated to me,” he said, adding that he read the works of Raymond Carver and spent time on the Upper West Side to get into character.

Kate Beckinsale plays the woman having an affair with Turner’s father, and she credits the film’s long rehearsal period with helping her “psychoanalyze” her character and also “why a woman who is a decent soul would find herself in this horrific situation.” Though the movie’s cosmopolitan New York setting is reminiscent of the films she’s made with Whit Stillman (such as “The Last Days of Disco”), she does insist there’s a key difference: “We talk a lot less.”

Co-stars Jeff BridgesKiersey Clemons, and Cynthia Nixon were also on hand for the special screening.

The Only Living Boy in New York” hits theaters on Friday.

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