Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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LA Daily News: Spywitness

By Sharon Knolle

Thursday, June 24, 2004 - CRAWL SPACE: How will "Spider-Man 2" producer Avi Arad spend his big movie's crucial opening weekend?

"Getting drunk!" he shouted at the film's Westwood premiere on Tuesday night.

Everyone else is already dizzy with anticipation to see if the sequel, starring those upside-down kissers Tobey Maguire and Kristen Dunst will beat the original's box office record.

Maguire says he doesn't differentiate between playing superhero Spider-Man and regular guy Peter Parker. "They are absolutely identical," says Maguire, who turns 29 on Sunday.

Sporting choppy short hair and a shapeless flapper frock, Dunst insists she's changed since the first film.

"I've grown up a lot. I used to want to please other people. Now I'm more confident and I feel like I've given a better performance."

After the premiere, guests - including Sarah Michelle Gellar, who will star in the new horror flick "The Grudge" - hit the after-bash at the Santa Monica Pier, where they played carnival games to win Spider-Man trademarked toys and tokens.

With "Spider-Man 3" already in preproduction, who will be Spider-Man's foe next time? While the sequel drops some hints, producer Arad says the third villain is "a big secret."



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