Currently, Sam Raimi’s Spiderman is revered as one of the great superhero movies, and perhaps the most important movie of this century in terms of changing the way Hollywood viewed comics. Before Spiderman, comics were seen as kid stuff, and if you were going to make a movie out of one, you were expected to go to great lengths to downplay or even hide the comic elements. That’s why Fox’s X-Men used Matrix-style black leather instead of blue and yellow socks. Later Spidermancomic book movies were allowed to embrace and celebrate their source material.
But just because everything went well doesn’t mean that the way to get Spiderman to the screen was simple or easy. Variety has a new oral history of the film in honor of its 20th anniversary and includes many details about Spiderman‘s long development. Raimi, for example, was a very surprising choice to direct the film in the first place. A beloved cult figure thanks to the Evil Dead franchise, Raimi had never had a major box office hit up to that point in his career. In the article, Raimi explains that his agent told him “there are about 18 directors who would rather be on a list than you.” To which Raimi, a lifelong fan of Spider-Man, replied, “I’m number 19.”
Some of the other candidates for the job included David Fincher and Tim Burton, who reportedly told Sony exec Amy Pascal “I guess I’m just a DC guy” as a very weird sales pitch, but when Raimi walked in, his passion for the material amazed everyone. Pascual said Variety “He came in and said it’s a soap opera about a boy who loves a girl, and that’s what I want to focus on. John Calley and I looked at each other and said, ‘Well, that’s the movie we want to do too.’
Raimi got the job. And now, after more than 15 years of absence, his return to the superhero movie, Doctor strange in the multiverse of madnessopens in theaters on Friday, May 6.
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