Sam Raimi Talks Abandoned 'Spider-Man 4' and 'World of Warcraft'
Since director Sam Raimi has moved on to new projects like Oz: The Great and Powerful, producing a remake of Evil Dead, and writing an Evil Dead 4 this summer, we're not really concerned with his failed projects from the past. Spider-Man 4 fell apart and led to Sony's reboot with Andrew Garfield in the lead (with the sequel putting together quite a cast) and World of Warcraft just didn't work out for Raimi and the people at Blizzard Entertainment. Though we haven't heard much in the realm of specifics, Raimi recently sat down with Vulture and generally broke down how negotiations and development progressed.
When it comes to Spider-Man 4, there was speculation about tension between the studio and Raimi since the director supposedly hated the script. According to Raimi, it sounds like the decision was a little more mutual and didn't really have Raimi on the offensive. The director explains:
"It really was the most amicable and undramatic of breakups. It was simply that we had a deadline and I couldn't get the story to work on a level that I wanted it to work. I was very unhappy with 'Spider-Man 3', and I wanted to make 'Spider-Man 4' to end on a very high note, the best 'Spider-Man' of them all. But I couldn't get the script together in time, due to my own failings, and I said to Sony, 'I don't want to make a movie that is less than great, so I think we shouldn't make this picture. Go ahead with your reboot, which you've been planning anyway.' And [Sony co-chairman] Amy Pascal said, 'Thank you. Thank you for not wasting the studio's money, and I appreciate your candor.' So we left on the best of terms, both of us trying to do the best thing for fans, the good name of Spider-Man, and Sony Studios."
In the end, it's good to see a filmmaker, after dealing with a rushed timeline and producing a lower quality sequel in Spider-Man 3, try to take the time to get it right. But ultimately, the business side of things won out and The Amazing Spider-Man is what audiences got. It wasn't a spectacular start for a reboot, and felt a little too familiar to Raimi's first film, but it sounds like the sequel has big things planned. But what about Raimi starting a new franchise with World of Warcraft? What wrong with ringing the MMORPG video game to life on the big screen besides the obvious challenges of not having a single narrative to follow?
"Robert Rodat was working on the script, and it was taking a long time. I think they were getting a little antsy at Legendary, the production company. Actually, what happened was even more complicated, so let me go back a little bit. First, they asked me if I wanted to make it, and I said, 'Yes, I love World of Warcraft, and I think it would make a great picture.' So I read a screenplay they had that was written by the guys at [Warcraft developer] Blizzard, and it didn't quite work for me. I told them I wanted to make my own original story with Robert, so we pitched it to Legendary and they accepted it, and then we pitched it to Blizzard, and they had reservations, but they accepted it. Then Robert wrote the screenplay, and only once he was done did we realize that Blizzard had veto power, and we didn't know that. And they had never quite approved the original story we pitched them. Those reservations were their way of saying, 'We don't approve this story, and we want to go a different way,' so after we had spent nine months working on this thing, we basically had to start over. And Robert did start over, but it was taking too long for the people at Blizzard, and their patience ran out. Honestly, I think it was mismanagement on their behalf, not to explain to us that the first story was vetoed long ago. Why did they let us keep working on it? Were they afraid to tell me?"
Now the property is in the hands of Moon director Duncan Jones, and hopefully his take on the material is something Blizzard is fully behind so there's no confusion this time out. The good news is, Raimi is all for Jones taking on the project saying, "I loved his movie Moon, and I think he's a strikingly talented director. I bet that if anyone can do a great job with it, it's him." The real question is whether or not a massive game with a big universe and no single story can be successfully adapted into a film and still please all the fans out there. It's a tough job for sure, and since it's been in the works for years, don't hold your breath to see it anytime soon, even with a director like Jones attached. Thoughts?