Spider-Man director Sam Raimi addressed thousands of anxious fans at a
packed panel room in San Diego on Saturday. The entertaining Raimi did
shtick and answered questions, but the highlight of the panel was about
10 minutes worth of preview footage that Comic-Con fans were the first
to see. According to Raimi, even Sony hadn’t seen the clip yet.
Likewise, Marvel V.P. Kevin Feige later told Comics2Film that he and
Marvel top dog Avi
Arad were also seeing the footage for the first time.
The clip, which looks to be the opening for the movie, follows Peter
Parker’s high-school class as they tour the Genetic Research Lab at
Columbia University. The lab is populated by enhanced spiders. The tour
guide talks about the special traits of the individual spiders, which
ring familiar to longtime Spider-Man fans: great athletic ability,
tensile web strength and a defensive speed that almost suggests a
“spider sense” at work.
The tour scene quickly sets up the dynamics of the characters: Parker
(Tobey Maguire) is a bookish nerd who gets bullied as he tries to
photograph the spiders. His pal Harry Osborn (James Franco) stands up
for him but also moves in on Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), whom Peter has a
crush on. Still, Peter makes a connection with Mary Jane as she mugs for
photo in front of the containers for the genetically altered spiders,
one of whom has escaped and watches from the ceiling. As Parker
photographs Mary Jane’s clowning, the spider lowers itself onto Parker’s
hand and delivers the fateful bite.
While the crowd was the first to see the footage, Raimi told fans that
they’ll be delivering a rough cut to Sony next week. Prior to the clip
he answered questions about the movie. Raimi expects the movie to come
in at 110 minutes.
When asked about what influence Sony has exerted on the film, Raimi
responded, “They’ve been hands-off so far. The creative aspects of the
picture have been handled by myself, our producer Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad
from Marvel and the writers obviously. Sony’s really given us a free
hand in telling the Spider-Man story.”
The director named David Koepp and Alvin Sargent as the writers of the
movie, who worked from James Cameron’s original scriptment. He also
discussed the work that Scott Michael Rosenberg did on the film, but
said that his work was not used in the final shooting script.
Another fan asked if the movie would feature Raimi’s trademark, frenetic
“This time I feel I’m at the service of Spider-Man. I’m such a big fan
of the character I did not want to be part of the presentation. I just
wanted to translate the character to screen and not make it a stylistic
“When Spider-Man is moving through the city, I want the audience to feel
the excitement of soaring 70 stories up above Manhattan, so there’s a
lot of camera movement, but it’s not done for the effect of creating a
style for the picture,” Raimi said.
By contrast the rest of the movie is intended to be realistic. “The
great thing about Stan Lee’s Peter Parker is that he’s a real kid in a
real world. He went through elementary school, junior high school, high
school as a loser, like the rest of us. That’s why we’re here. Let’s
face it,” Raimi joked.
Raimi hopes to see Peter Parker developed over the course of what should
be a movie franchise. “In the first installment of the spider saga on
film, I think we tried to tell the story of an irresponsible young boy
who is maybe selfish and consumed with his own petty problems of getting
recognized by a girl he admires and being popular,” Raimi said.
“We follow that young man to becoming a responsible young man. At the
end of the picture, and only at the very end, stepping up to that
responsibility has its own price that Peter has to pay.”