Fans know that sinking feeling. Whenever a comic book movie gets made they start to wonder why the filmmakers involved don't seem to be interested in the source material. But in about three weeks fans finally see the much-anticipated adaptation of Marvel Comics' greatest super-hero Spider-Man. The good news for readers is that the movie is directed by one of us: a fan of the Spider-Man comics.
"I've been reading Spider-Man comic books since I was in second grade. I'm a giant fan," Raimi said at a recent roundtable press conference. That influence shows up on the screen. "I've tried to be faithful to the comic as much as I could, and yet, everybody knows when you take a literary work or even a comic book and translate it to the screen there are changes that the filmmaker feels they have to make."
Some of those changes are well known. Raimi admits that they originated in James Cameron's lengthy treatment, a few portions of which remained in the final film. "What carried over are two very important ideas. One is that in James Cameron's treatment Peter Parker doesn't build his web-shooters. He simply emits webs from his wrists," Raimi said. "The other big idea from James Cameron was that it wasn't a radioactive spider. It was a genetically altered spider. That seemed to make more sense with the science we know today than the science of 1962."
Raimi said he is well aware of fan efforts to discourage the inclusion of organic web shooters in the movie. The director joked, "I'm putting out a petition myself that's 'Down With Organic Shooters Website,'" but also added, "I absolutely support their right to make their opinion known. These guys are fans of the comic books, they love Spider-man. Like I do. We all love Spider-Man. All they want is to preserve the integrity of the character perhaps. In fact that's all I want too. They just have a different point of view on it than me."
And what is Raimi's point of view? The theme that he hammers in the movie is the oft-quoted mantra of the web-slinger himself, "with great power comes great responsibility." Raimi was asked if he felt the burden great power and responsibility that came with direction such an iconic character.
"Actually, I have this great power to direct Spider-man. Yes, that's what I felt, but I didn't feel that I had a responsibility to those internet geeks, if you'll pardon the expression," the director said.
"I had a responsibility to the kids in America who are going to see this movie and who are going to look up to the character and look up there and say, 'That's my hero,' regardless of whether the movie had earned it or not. It's wrong but that's how it works," Raimi continued. "I wanted to make sure he was worthy of their admiration. And that's where I felt the internal pressure."
As a father Raimi was concerned that the movie have a strong theme that young movie-goers can learn from. "That they're presented with someone who learns a lesson about morality, that maybe you don't have to be so selfish, that you can live outside yourself," Raimi said. "I think it's actually the growth of him as a human being, in my mind, that makes him a real hero. Not because he beats up the bad guys."
Fans will also recognize the visual aspects of the comic that translated well into the final film. That comes as a result of Raimi and company pouring over the books themselves to be sure they preserved the character's unique style. "Myself and my co-producer Ben Curtis selected all of our favorite poses from the different comic books and gave them to the animators and explained, 'whenever he stops, he's gotta stop in a classic Spidey pose.' Through his movement we want him to achieve these looks"
The director told journalists that the movie is about Peter Parker growing into the role of hero. This is after bad decisions lead to the death of his Uncle Ben.
"He learns that he's been actually given a gift and he tries to spend the rest of his life paying down the guilt of his uncle's death and trying to live up to the man his uncle thought he could be and trying to listen to these words that his uncle spoke, in every action that he performs forevermore," Raimi said. "The movie is really him making choices, in small ways, to be more and more responsible."
The director said that Parker's journey is what makes him a hero. And, while the principal photography on the film was completed prior to September 11, Raimi said that the movie was tweaked in post-production to acknowledge the real-life heroes from that event.
"I was devastated by September 11th. I didn't know anyone in the buildings. I was moved, live every other American, when I watched real heroes go in there and help those people and risk their lives and even lose their lives," Raimi said.
One scene, conceived prior to the tragedy, has a group of New Yorkers sticking up for the put-upon hero. "Spider-man has been misunderstood by New Yorkers throughout the course of the whole movie and does nothing but risk his life for them. I wanted a small group to appreciate him which I thought was giving back something," Raimi said.
"Then there was September 11 and I decided to add and slightly change their dialog because I really wanted to include a tip of the hat to those brave rescue workers who risked their lives to be heroes. So the dialog has been tweaked slightly," the director revealed. "Although It may not fly in other countries. I don't know. But I really wanted to give something to those heroes, those real heroes"
Fans also spotted the web-slinger in front of the American flag in recent trailers. "Yes, I put the American flag in after September 11. But I've always been a big American. I think I would have had that flag in anyway," Raimi said. The sequence called for Spider-Man to land on a rooftop. It seemed natural that a flag be in the shot. "Spidey and the flag. He really represents a great American."
Raimi talked about his long-standing interest in comic book heroes, which first became evident in his movie Darkman. Although it's not based on a comic, it very clearly is a superhero story. "I've learned a lot since I made that movie. I was 29 when I made that picture," Raimi said. "I spent a lot of time with Liam Neeson since then and Frances McDormand and some other great actors like Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett, and I learned a lot about performance. And television taught me a lot a bout storytelling and character."
The director sees that time as a growth period that allowed him to make a spectacular super-hero movie. "I've tried to take what I've learned and apply it to this latest motion picture. I don't think I could have made Spider-Man ten or twelve years ago. I don't think I had the ability to as a filmmaker," Raimi said.
The legal difficulties surrounding the rights to Spider-Man may have also been a blessing in disguise. "My first thoughts are, we're lucky that the movie was tied up legally for all these years because I don't know how we would have made it 10 years ago," Raimi admits.
On the other hand, the director continues, "That's always the first thought I have and then I think and yet [Richard] Donner did such a brilliant job with Superman 25 years ago. When I saw that I believed Superman can fly, circle the earth, come from the planet Krypton. So, I'd hope that we would have been smart enough to find a way, you know that was fifteen years after Superman."
Look for more from director Sam Raimi and the cast and crew of Spider-Man here on C2F.
This past weekend journalists and hundreds of lucky fans got to see an advanced screening of the eagerly awaited Spider-Man film. Louis B. Hobson of the Calgary Sun writes that this past weekend Columbia had four special sneak previews of the Spider-Man film. In his article Hobson prints reactions from people who have seen the film.
Keith Bateman age 29 thought Spider-Man was everything he hoped it would be. Bateman says of the film, "It's a lot of fun and I thought the tribute to New Yorkers post-Sept. 11 was particularly cool. I think that shows how aware of its place in pop culture the movie really is."
Jen Dirdrich, age 27, said, "Sam Raimi got the tone right. It's cheesy enough to be in the comic book film genre, but it's also intelligent and witty. It's the kind of film you know you're going to enjoy almost as much the second time around."
Nine-year-old Sky McTerinali gave Spidey big praise. She said that "hands-down Spider-Man is more fun than Harry Potter." Mario Morales, age 12, said he liked Spider-Man "every bit as much as X-Men. The special effects are so awesome and the action is really intense."
Damon Richter age 31 who identified himself, as an avowed comic book fanatic said, "Spider-Man is setting itself up for some great sequels. It won't disappoint comic book fans, but it didn't push the envelope as much as Tim Burton's Batman did for its day. There was a bit of the feel of Darkman about it."
Thanks to Cinescape for the lead.
Variety reports that Coolio is the latest actor to join the cast of Daredevil. The write up also confirms last week's reports that Ellen Pompeo is in the pic.
With Daredevil shooting underway set reports are starting to come in. A reader who wishes to be known as "Turd Furgeson" was lucky enough to be on hand for a scene and witness Colin Farrell performing feats of deadly accuracy as Bullseye. Furgeson told C2F that the actor was in costume for the scene.
"The scene I was witness to was in a bar. It centered on Bullseye, who is going to be AWESOME," Turd reports. "His costume is altered somewhat. It's more 'Matrix-esque.' It's black leather with some white trimming. When he reveals his face to the camera, there is a Bullseye symbol on his forehead."
The scene apparently takes place inside and outside a pub. The master marksman engages a drunken Englishman in a game of darts with the winner driving off on a motorcycle.
"The scene has Bullseye throwing darts at a board and hitting the mark every time, even though he isn't looking," Turd reports. "He then becomes involved in an altercation over a motorcycle. That's when Bullseye really gets to show off his prowess."
According to documents provided by Furgeson, an actor named David Doty plays the part of the Englishman. Doty has credits in many films including the recently released Dragonfly.
Stuntman Damon Caro was also on hand to stand in for Farrell. Caro has provided stunt double work for Edward Norton in recent movies like The Score and Fight Club.
Meanwhile, 'M', an anonymous informant for the Man Without Fear website, has given his perspective on the construction underway for the set of Daredevil, which is being filmed near the tipster's Los Angeles office.
According to 'M', giant wooden water towers have been constructed upon the historic Arcade Building. The 12-story building, built in 1924, now sits in the middle of Los Angeles' historic core.
Perhaps of greater interest to Daredevil fans, 'M' gave his opinion on the use of L.A. as a substitute for New York City. A native New-Yorker, 'M' says: "This part of downtown LA looks more like NY at times than NY does, especially if you've only seen NYC on TV or in films." He adds that a large part of filming for NYPD Blues takes place on S. Spring Street, just down the road from the Arcade Building.
The scooper followed up by providing photos of the historic Arcade Building, including close-ups of the water towers recently constructed for the film, as well as wide-angles and unique views that may help to convince skeptics that Los Angeles is passable as Hell's Kitchen.
In other DD news, readers on the internet got their first look at Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock, Daredevil's alter-ego this week.
This photo, found at People.com's daily photo gallery, shows law partners Matt Murdock (Affleck) and Foggy Nelson (Jon Favreau) walking out of court.
Does this mean that Daredevil production will follow the example of Spider-Man in keeping the fans informed? We hope so!
Thanks to C2F member knack for the tip!
Last week Moviehole.net broke the news that work on TimeCop 2 is underway. The movie would be a sequel to the semi-successful Jean Claude Van Damme movie about a future cop how polices the time-stream trying to prevent time travelers from creating temporal problems. The original movie was based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name.
Moviehole reports that Jason Scott Lee (Dracula Ressurection) is set to replace Van Damme as the titular character.
Comics2Film checked in with Dark Horse Entertainment to try to confirm the story. A spokesperson for Dark Horse said they received word a week earlier that production was already underway on the movie and that it was planned to be a direct-to-video feature.
However, Dark Horse was surprised by the news. As producers on the original movie and owners of the property Dark Horse should be involved with any sequels, but so far they have been out of the loop.
The Dark Horse rep said they are looking into the matter further and mulling over their options.
Variety reports that there may be some new legal hassles for the Spider-Man movie. According to reports, Manhattan billboard advertising broker Sherwood Outdoor has filed a suit against Sony in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Sherwood is alleging that the filmmaker have used digital technology to alter their billboards to remove actual ads and insert product placement ads for marketing partners like Cingular Wireless and USA Today.
Sherwood refused to comment on the suit, while Sony and Cingular said they hadn't received copies of the complaint yet.
For music fans: Columbia/Roadrunner/Island Def Jam/Sony Music Soundtrax will release "Spider-Man (Music From and Inspired By)" on Tuesday, April 30.
"Spider-Man (Music From and Inspired By)" is a collection of music written and performed by a generation of musicians influenced by the power and mystery of the Spider-Man character, his conflicts and his adventures.
Rock veterans Aerosmith are contributing an updated version of the classic Theme From Spider-Man that opened the 1960s era cartoon. The original version of the song will also be on the album.
The album's lead singles and videos are "What We're All About (The Original Version)" from Sum 41 featuring a guitar solo from Slayer's Kerry King; and "Hero," a new track from Nickelback vocalist/guitarist Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott (the vocalist from Saliva), written for the film by Kroeger.
The album showcases new music from Alien Ant Farm, Slipknot's Corey Taylor, Pete Yorn, Black Lab, Bleu, and Greenwheel as well as Tom Morello's rock remix of Macy Gray's "My Nutmeg Phantasy." Other featured artists include The Hives, Default, The Strokes, Jerry Cantrell, Theory Of A Dead Man, Injected, and composer Danny Elfman.
When fans place the CD into a computer CD-ROM drive and log onto the Spider-Man soundtrack website, the "Spider-Man (Music From and Inspired By)" CD will allow them to unlock and view streaming versions of music videos for Sum 41's "What We're All About (The Original Version)" and "Hero" by Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott as well as behind-the-scenes footage from "Hero," the making of the Sum 41 clip, and exclusive footage from the shoots. The initial pressing of "Spider-Man (Music From and Inspired By)" will be available with a limited edition 3-D collector's card.
Here's the complete track listing:
- "Theme From Spider Man"
- "Hero" -- Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott
- "What We're All About (The Original Version)" -- Sum 41
- "Learn To Crawl" -- Black Lab
- "Somebody Else" -- Bleu
- "Bug Bytes" -- Alien Ant Farm"
- "Blind" -- Default
- "Bother" -- Corey Taylor
- "Shelter" -- Greenwheel
- "When It Started" -- The Strokes
- "Hate To Say I Told You So" -- The Hives
- "Invisible Man" -- Theory Of A Dead Man
- "Undercover" -- Pete Yorn
- "My Nutmeg Phantasy" (Morello Mix) -- Macy Gray
- "I-IV-V" -- Injected
- "She Was My Girl" -- Jerry Cantrell
- "Main Titles" -- Danny Elfman
- "Farewell" -- Danny Elfman
- "Theme From Spider Man" -- Aerosmith
Blade II continued to hold a spot in the top 10 at the box office this past weekend. The comic book vampire sequel slipped one notch to #8, taking in $4.3 million. This brings the movie's domestic take to an impressive $73.9 million over 24 days of release.
The film edged out Bill Paxton's favorably-reviewed thriller Frailty which took in an estimated $4.2 million.
Changing Lanes, which stars Daredevil-to-be Ben Affleck and Jedi bad-ass Samuel L. Jackson, opened at #1 with Panic Room falling back to #2 and Cameron Diaz's The Sweetest Thing debuting at #3. Ice Age continues to perform hanging in at #4.
The Berkeley Lab website has posted a F.A.Q. to answer questions and concerns Lab workers may have about the upcoming filming for The Hulk.
The document informs us that Universal will have a crew of about 200 arriving at the lab on April 19th. Filming of several scenes will take place all day Saturday and on Monday in and around the Advanced Light Source.
From the sound of it, most of the shooting will be external, capturing the lab's unique, dome-shaped exteriors. According to the write-up, the sets will be closed to visitors. No campus personnel will serve as extras.
Thanks to Aint-It-Cool for the lead.
In other news, Dark Horizons provided a quote from Josh Lucas who the Internet Movie Database lists as playing Major Glenn Talbot. According to Dark Horizons While, speaking at BAFTALA Lucas described director Ang Lee's take on The Hulk as an emotional horror story about dealing with rage.
In episode called "I am Furious Yellow" Homer, a la The Increible Hulk, rages when Bart creates the Angry Dad comic strip.
"I am Furious Yellow" airs Sunday, April 28 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on Fox.
WHAT THE? IT'S SPIDER-MAN AGAIN!
Comic book fans are experiencing a windfall of Spider-Man exposure from the film, and the wallcrawler's ancillary multimedia presence is enough to leave them spinning. Along with Sony's first rate Spider-Man: The Movie website, big and small screens across the country are lighting up with webs. And fans are already making plans to buy their tickets to big film. Here's a round up of the events:
Yet another incarnation of the virtually the same basic theatrical trailer is being shown in theaters and on television, as well as for download on the web. New footage includes more extensive footage of the Green Goblin, including quick cuts of him utilizing his razor bats and trident. There is also more footage of Peter learning to use his web spinning powers.
As for new in-costume footage, there is a wild shot which from Spider-man's POV tracking through the buildings and speeding down in between the cars in traffic. There is also a cool shot of Spidey perched in an inhuman pose, sticking out from the side of a flag pole that ends the promo.
A few days ago, "Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters & Marvels" was picked up by Columbia Tristar Home Video for distribution on DVD and VHS. The video, produced by Creative Light Entertainment, features comic/film superstar Kevin Smith interviewing comic/entertainment legend Stan Lee. For two hours, the duo muse on Stan's career in comics, and it's impact on pop culture. It hits stores on May 14th.
Spider-Man Cartoon Marathon:
Cable network Fox Family has already been airing episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994-98) Saturday mornings at 8 AM, but will soon up the ante with a retrospective marathon of cartoons spanning three decades. On May 26th (Saturday), 27th (Sunday), and 28th (Monday), Fox Family will air special two hour blocks of Spider-Man cartoons, starting at 7 AM.
In addition to the 90s episodes, there will be episodes from: the 1967-70 GrantRay Lawrence series; the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends series from the early 80s (co-starring Firestar and Iceman); and from the Spider-Man: Unlimited series (1999). Here's the complete schedule: