Actors fall in love on movie sets all the time: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
But what makes Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone so distinct is that they have been dating for more than three years - since they began working on The Amazing Spider-Man together - yet they have never publicly acknowledged they are in a relationship, much less spoken about it. Which is not easy when you are co-stars who spend much of your down time travelling the world doing interviews together.
Talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres and the pair's co-star in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Jamie Foxx, tried to stir up things recently when DeGeneres was interviewing the three stars and asked whether they ever had to share hotel rooms on tours.
''Yeah, what do you guys do? I've always wondered,'' Foxx teased Garfield, who quickly responded with: ''You know the answer to that, because we've been sharing a bedroom.''
A few months before the publicity tour began, the couple arrived at the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City and sat down for a joint interview.
Stone, 25, was sporting bleached-blonde hair and bright-red lipstick, while her 30-year-old English boyfriend had a bushy beard and was wearing a cardigan over a flannel shirt.
They dance around anything personal, always bringing it back to the movie.
''Relationships are hard anyway, as we all know,'' Garfield says, before quickly adding, ''but it's especially hard for someone who has to be so dedicated to his work, and that's part of the trouble that Peter has with Gwen in this story.''
In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker (Garfield) is at the height of his powers and embracing his role as a hero, but he is also enjoying spending time with Gwen (Stone). As both face the possibility of a long-distance romance, Peter is confronted with a new villain, Electro (Foxx).
''I loved coming back to continue to play a part that I have wanted to play since I was three years old,'' Garfield says.
''In the first one, we had to really try and grab the audience and tear them away from looking at Tobey Maguire or Kirsten Dunst or James Franco, and say, 'We have something else,' and that was challenging because it was a very short period of time between the movies, but with this one, we all felt like we didn't want to try to appease anyone. We didn't want to apologise any more. We just wanted to tell a story, and it's a quintessential Spider-Man story.''
Born in Los Angeles to a British mother and American father, Garfield moved with his family to England when he was four.
He trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London before starting his career on stage and then landing a small role in Robert Redford's 2007 drama Lions for Lambs.
He followed that with a bigger part in the 2010 thriller Never Let Me Go, before his career-changing role as Mark Zuckerberg's betrayed business partner in David Fincher's dissection of Facebook in The Social Network.
He identifies with Spider-Man's ability to negotiate with villains - something he fails to pull off in a key scene with Electro.
''I actually think I would be very good at it, and I've done this in the past. As a student in primary school, I made peace on the playground between two warring groups, and a couple of times at secondary school, too,'' he says.
''But then at drama school, I got punched in the middle of a negotiation where it didn't go so well, so it doesn't always work.''
Stone, meanwhile, grew up in Arizona and began acting as a young child in community theatre productions, before dropping out of high school and moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.
She landed the lead in the 2010 comedy Easy A and quickly followed that with high-profile roles in Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) and The Help (2011), before she was cast as Peter Parker's first girlfriend, Gwen Stacey, at the age of 22.
''I felt in this film as though I was maturing along with Gwen,'' she says, ''so even though I am years older than her, I've also grown in those three years since we made the first one and I felt like there was definitely more depth and wisdom that I could bring to her this time.''
- Sydney Morning Herald
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