Tobey Maguire appeared at a Los Angeles press conference Thursday to promote his movie ''Seabiscuit,'' which opens July 25, but all anyone wanted to ask him about, it seems, was next year's ''Spider-Man'' sequel. ''I'm really happy with it,'' he said of the Spidey sequel, which he said is about two-thirds of the way through filming. ''It's going to be better than the first one. The story is a lot better.''
He declined to discuss the plot, which has his Peter Parker taking on multi-limbed foe Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina). He did, however, try to dispel some rumors that have been circulating around the project for months. There had been talk that Maguire had injured his back shooting his role as a jockey in ''Seabiscuit,'' and that, after complaining that back pains would make it difficult for him to do Spider-Man's acrobatic stuntwork, he was nearly replaced in the role. ''It's not true that I was fired,'' he said Thursday. He called his back problem an ailment that had plagued him for years, long before the ''Seabiscuit'' shoot. But he said that, despite ''concerns'' and ''questioning'' by both the Spidey filmmakers and himself as to whether he was fit enough to do the stunts, he never intended to drop out of the role.
Maguire also had harsh words for Playboy magazine, whose recent interview with him disclosed his membership in Alcoholics Anonymous. ''That [remark] was [from] a conversation off the record with that journalist, and the journalist betrayed me,'' Maguire said. ''So, it upsets me. I think it’s a well written piece, but I don’t like that and then it becomes a revelation even though it’s been out there for years.'' He added, ''I don't think it’s really a secret that I’ve been sober since I was 19. It’s in half the articles done about me.''
Speaking to Zap2It.com, Playboy Deputy Editor Steven Russell defended the article, saying ''While we understand that Mr. Maguire may feel uncomfortable about his comments regarding Alcoholics Anonymous in the August issue's Playboy interview, it was never discussed at any point with the interviewer, David Scheff, that these comments would be considered off the record.''