15 Things You Might Not Know About SPIDER-MAN (2002) - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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15 Things You Might Not Know About SPIDER-MAN (2002)

Geek Dave will never forget these words: "With great power comes great responsibility." Trivia is his gift.
1. After a semi-successful TV series, a Spider-Man movie had been in development hell since the mid-1980s. Canon Films had licensed the character and originally wanted to make some kind of horror-themed movie, in the 90s James Cameron developed a screenplay for Columbia/MGM with Leonardo DiCaprio in mind to star as the web-slinger, but it would take an intervention by a famous secret agent to see some actual movement in bringing Spider-Man to the screen.

Kevin McClory's long-held claim to develop an unofficial James Bond movie, partially based on the material he had contributed toward Thunderball, had already resulted in the 1983 film Never Say Never Again, and toward the end of the 90s he was touting the idea of a whole new ongoing franchise of unnoficial Bond movies after securing funding from Sony Pictures who held the rights to the novel Casino Royale. Official James Bond filmmakers, MGM and Danjaq stated intent to sue Sony Pictures and McClory's Spectre Associates over the new films. A deal was eventually made in April 1999 with Sony trading the Casino Royale film rights to MGM for the company's own Spider-Man project, thus starting right to production.
2. Sony exercised their rights to James Cameron's treatment, which was said to be an extensive 45 page "scriptment", but the company made it clear they were not hiring Cameron to direct or have any further involvement in the project. Rather, Cameron's work became the basis of David Koepp's first draft screenplay. Later analysis suggests this was often word for word.

Koepp is one of the most successful screenwriters of all time, responsible for films including Jurassic Park , War of the World, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Carlito's Way, Mission: Impossible and many others, but it doesn't sound as if he was too stretched in ability when it came to penning Spider-Man. Cameron's screenplay included the Marvel villains Electro and Sandman as antagonists, Koepp's rewrite simply substituted these two for Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, but the bones of the story remained the same - including the "organic webshooter" idea, which stemmed from the Cameron "sriptment".

3. Sony lined up a plethora of potential directors for the project, including Roland Emmerich, Tim Burton, Tony Scott, Chris Columbus, Barry Sonnenfeld, Michael Bay, Ang Lee, David Fincher, Jan de Bont and M. Night Shyamalan.

David Fincher was very interested but did not want to depict an origin story, rather he came in and pitched a brand new treatment based on The Night Gwen Stacy Died storyline, but the studio disagreed with this direction. Chris Columbus was formally offered the job but chose to pass on the project to direct Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone instead. Eventually Sam Raimi was announced to direct in January 2000, for a summer 2001 release. Raimi had been a fan of the comic book during his youth, and his passion for Spider-Man earned him the job. His first decision was dropping Doctor Octopus for the film as he felt the Green Goblin and the surrogate father-son theme between Norman Osborn and Peter Parker would be more interesting to focus further on and allow more screentime for. Scott Rosenberg was hired to rewrite Koepp's material on this brief, although remained uncredited with Koepp being the only screenwriter listed on the eventually finished movie.
4. When it came to finding their Peter Parker, Sony had again developed an extensive list of potential actors and expressed interest in actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Freddie Prinze Jr., Chris O'Donnell, Jude Law, Chris Klein, Wes Bentley and Heath Ledger. Many of these names leaked in the press shortly after the announcement Raimi was directing, and he was approached for comment. Raimi said he had someone in mind but it was not, as the interviewer suggested, Freddie Prinze Jr. Raimi joked Prinze "won't even be allowed to buy a ticket to see this film." Ouch!

Further actors including Scott Speedman, Jay Rodan and James Franco were involved in screen tests for the lead role (Franco would ultimately land the role of Harry Osborn). Joe Manganiello also auditioned for Peter Parker, but landed the role as Parker's bully, Eugene "Flash" Thompson. Of course, it was eventually Tobey Maguire who was cast as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in July 2000, having been Sam Raimi's primary choice for the role after he saw The Cider House Rules. Sony, though, were initially hesitant to cast him but Maguire managed to impress studio executives with his audition. The actor was signed for a deal in the range of $3 to $4 million with higher salary options for two sequels (which was reported to be $26 million!).

To prepare, Maguire was trained by a physical trainer, a yoga instructor, a martial arts expert, and a climbing expert, taking several months to improve his physique. Maguire studied spiders and worked with a wire man to simulate the arachnidlike motion, and had a special diet.

5. Nicolas Cage, Jason Isaacs, John Malkovich and Jim Carrey were allapproached or offered the role of Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, but all turned it down. Willem Dafoe coverted the part though, and insisted on wearing the uncomfortable costume as he felt that a stuntman would not convey the character's necessary body language. The 580-piece suit took a team of half a dozen assistants over half an hour to put on to Dafoe, and he ended up performing the vast majority of his own stunts.
6. Kate Bosworth unsuccessfully auditioned for the role of Mary Jane Watson, as did Eliza Dushku, Mena Suvari and Jaime King. Elizabeth Banks also auditioned for the role but at 26, at the time, she was told that she was too old for the part of Mary Jane (!) and was cast as Betty Brant instead. Kate Hudson was offered but turned down the role, and Sam Raimi was leaning toward casting Alicia Witt before Kirsten Dunst decided to audition after learning Maguire had been cast, feeling the film would have a more independent feel. She was the last person to be cast for the movie, landing the part less than a month before shooting began.

7. Stan Lee had long voiced interest in playing J. Jonah Jameson, but it was J.K. Simmons who was cast in the role, though he learned about it through a Spider-Man fan who had read the news of his casting at a fan website three hours before Simmons agent contacted him to inform him that he had gotten the role!

8. Hugh Jackman, who had already starred as Logan / Wolverine in the first of the X-Men film series, stated in a September 2013 interview that he was approached to appear as Wolverine in Spider-Man for a cameo appearance. However, when Jackman arrived to New York to shoot the scene, plans for his appearance didn't materialise because the filmmakers were unable to get the Wolverine costume Jackman had used in X-Men!
9. The scene at Columbia University, where Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider, was filmed on an unseasonably warm spring day. However, the costume department had provided the principle cast and high school extras with cold-weather clothing. The real Columbia University students can often be seen in the background wearing shorts and t-shirts by contrast.

10. James Franco's hair was dyed brown to give him some resemblance to Willem Dafoe, his screen father. This decision was only made after filming had begun. Indeed, in some scenes, including the scene where Harry visits Aunt May in hospital, you can see that Franco's hair is his usual black.

11. When Peter Parker is testing out his webbing for the first time, he says several classic DC Comics catchphrases, most notably "Up, up and away, Web!" (Superman) and "Shazam!" (DC's Captain Marvel. Tobey Maguire ad-libbed these lines, which were not in the original script. He was also unaware of the DC/Marvel rivalry as - brace yourself - Maguire had never read a Marvel Spider-Man comic book! He simply took the role because he liked the script.

12. Despite the many action scenes and stunt sequences that Tobey Maguire took part in, the scene he found the hardest to film may surprise you...
Yes, it's that now-famous upside-down kissing scene. The problem Maguire encountered was that his sinuses kept filling up with water as it was performed in driving rain and he felt like he was drowning!

13. Several Spider-Man costumes were created at a cost of up to $100,000 each. Four were stolen from the set in early April of 2001 and Columbia Pictures posted a $25,000 reward for their return. The costumes were never returned.

14. After the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001, certain sequences were re-filmed and digital technology was used to remove the Twin Towers from the movie. Sony also recalled teaser posters which showed a close-up of Spider-Man's face with the New York skyline which included, prominently, the World Trade Center reflected in his eyes. Not all the posters were recovered, however, and the ones still at large are now highly prized collector's items.

15. Spider-Man was the first film to reach $100 million in a single weekend as well as the most successful film based on a comic book at the time. With a box office gross of over $821.7 million worldwide, it was the third highest-grossing film of 2002, the highest-grossing superhero film and the sixth highest-grossing film overall at the time of its release. Spider-Man is credited for redefining the modern superhero genre, and it's fair to say that even though it was a Sony pictures production without this Spider-Man movie, and its success, we very likely would not have a Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Which is perhaps part of the reason Spider-Man: No Way Home honours this (no spoilers here!).

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