By R.T. Watson
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - He may change his mind later, but right now Andrew Garfield says the role of comic book superhero Spider-Man in the upcoming reboot of the hit film franchise is a part that could last a lifetime.
"I could play this character for the rest of my life," an enthusiastic Garfield, 27, told Reuters at Comic-Con on Friday, where the first few clips of the film were revealed to fans.
Comic-Con International, an event where tens of thousands of fans of comics and science-fiction stories gather annually, has become a major launch pad for Hollywood studios promoting movies, and the makers of "The Amazing Spider-Man" delighted them on Friday with a look at its new crime fighter, Garfield.
"The Amazing Spider-Man" will land in theaters in 2012, and it has been pitched to fans of Peter Parker -- a.k.a. Spider-Man -- as a franchise reboot that takes the boy back to his roots as a gawky teenager who acquires the web-spinning capabilities and super strength of a spider.
The first three movies, starting with 2002's "Spider-Man" and directed by Sam Raimi, took in a whopping $2.5 billion worldwide, but the makers decided that to continue thrilling loyal fans, the franchise needed a fresh start.
So, they hired the little-known Garfield (who since then made a name for himself in Facebook film "The Social Network) to portray Parker and director Marc Webb (independent film "500 Days of Summer") to breathe new life into the series.
"I think Marc wanted to make it as authentic as possible ... what happens to this kid? What happens to a kid if he really truly gets these superpowers? But also what the real struggle it is to be a teenager" Garfield told Reuters.
The new star got off to an impressive start at a Comic-Con panel for the upcoming movie. He posed as a rogue fanboy dressed in a Spider-man costume and stood in the audience at a microphone where fans ask questions of stars on stage.
"Peter Parker has inspired me to be stronger," he read from a piece of paper. "He inspired Andrew, me, to be braver."
Then, Garfield delivered a line worthy of any comic book character who had been helped by the amazing boy with spider-like attributes.
"He saved my life," Garfield said.
And the Comic-Con crowd was caught in his sticky web.
Whether "The Amazing Spider-Man" can save the franchise in theaters awaits next year's film release, but there is a precedent for success.
When Warner Bros. wanted to revive its Batman film franchise, the studio hired Christopher Nolan -- at the time a relatively little-known director of hit indie movie "Insomnia" -- to direct 2005's "Batman Begins."
The result of the reboot? "Batman Begins" was a smash hit that led to another blockbuster, "The Dark Knight," and a third movie in the works.
Garfield knows that the pressure to perform is on him and Webb to do the same for Spider-Man.
"This is really a lot of responsibility," he told Reuters, "and I feel the responsibility of the symbol I was given to portray."
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)