Rhys Ifans - Six Interesting Facts about Spider-Man's New Foe

I must admit, when I heard that Rhys Ifans had been cast as Dr. Curt Connors in The Amazing Spider-Man (ASM), I knew next to nothing about him. I had probably seen him in a film or two, but the name didn't register with me. Over the last few months, I've learned a bit more about him through interviews he's given about ASM and through my own online digging. For starters, I know he was born in Wales in 1968 and Welsh is his first language. I also learned that on July 22, 2012, he will celebrate his 44th birthday - just a couple of weeks after ASM opens. I learned that the correct pronunciation of his name sounds like "this  ivans" - with the stress on the "I" in "Ifans" After doing my research, I'm surprised I wasn't more familiar with Ifans, because he's certainly appeared in some fine movies and has garnered praise for much of his work.

Concept art of "The Lizard"
Before we check out some of Ifans' early work, here's a little info on the character he'll be portraying in The Amazing Spider-Man. In the film, Dr. Connors is a brilliant scientist who is genetically engineering a serum, with the intention of helping people regenerate missing limbs (Connors happens to be missing his right arm, as well). He tests this serum on himself and something goes horribly wrong. (When will scientists ever learn? Testing stuff on yourself never turns out okay). The film apparently follows the comic book tale fairly closely - just as in the comic, Connors uses reptile DNA in his serum and he is transformed into a half-human/half-reptile monster and Spider-Man nemesis, known as The Lizard

Ifans recently spoke to Empire Magazine about his character in ASM -
"Curt is a force for good throughout his life. He's a geneticist who wants to help people, like him, who are limbless. In his eagerness to advance that science, he makes a mistake and that's an occurrence we've seen throughout time, sometimes to our benefit, sometimes to our detriment. ...He is a broken man who wants to fix himself. The Lizard almost becomes a drug for him, an alter-ego like Jekyll and Hyde, if you like. He's strong and brave and agile in a way that he can't be in his own life."
Dr. Connors/The Lizard is Ifans' biggest role to date, but he's had a varied and interesting career -

In the early 1990's, he was the lead vocalist for the British rock/pop group, Super Furry Animals. However, he left the group before they released their well-received 1996 debut album, Fuzzy Logic. Although he never got a chance to sing on their record, you can hear him as one of the slightly incoherent voices on the answering machine in the song, Long Gone.

In 1999, he played Hugh Grant's slovenly (and hilarious) roommate, Spike, in the British romantic-comedy, Notting Hill. Skip to the 00.50 mark in the trailer below to see a bit of Spike in action.

In 2005, Ifans won a "Best Actor" award from the British Academy of Film and Televison Arts (BAFTA) for his portrayal of British comedian, Peter Cook, in the made-for-TV movie, Not Only But Always. In the movie, Ifans co-starred with Aidan McArdle (as Dudley Moore) as it portrayed the British comedy duo's friendship and collaboration in the 1960s and '70s.

Also in 2005, Ifans made a guest appearance in the music video, The Importance of Being Idle, by Oasis. He's also made appearances in several other music videos over the years.

Since 2007, Ifans has sung for the band, The Peth (Welsh for "The Thing"). The band released their debut album, The Golden Mile, in 2008. The album's title refers to the Grangetown area of the Welsh city, Cardiff, which is near the band's studio.

Finally, as Harry Potter fans know so well, Ifans played the white-haired editor of The Quibbler magazine, Xenophilius Lovegood, in 2009's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I. 

Did I neglect to include one of your favorite Ifans performances? If so, let me know on Twitter.

Rhys Ifans as X. Lovegood - Warner Bros.

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