Sam Raimi Opens Up About Spider-Man, Past and Present

May 19, 2009
Source: Hero Complex

Sam Raimi

Writer/director Sam Raimi is traveling the world right now (he'll be in Cannes tomorrow), talking to press about his newest throwback to classic horror, Drag Me to Hell. But of course, most of the press are going to focus on Spider-Man 4, of which he has no major updates on. While there is some news on it, like that it will start shooting in February of 2010, the most interesting story from Raimi this week comes from Hero Complex. LA Times' Geoff Boucher talks with Raimi about Spider-Man, but focuses more on the past than the future, with Raimi reflecting a bit on how he could improve and why he made the choices he did.

"I love Peter Parker. I've always loved the Spider-Man comics, and I feel like I still know more about the character that I think I can bring to the screen - and perhaps make it great if I do it right," Raimi says. "It's the same reason I keep reading the Spider-Man comic books. I'm really enamored with the character and now I feel like I have a history with him." Raimi did dedicate six years of his life - from 2001 to 2007 - bringing the beloved web slinger to the big screen. We all thought that not only was Raimi done directing Spider-Man, but the franchise was finished too after Spider-Man 3, but that's obviously not the case.

I know that a lot of people really didn't like Spider-Man 3, so if given the chance to go back and change it, what would he change? "What would I have done differently? I would have done everything differently, every single shot. I think in every picture that I've ever made. Everything that I've done torments me. I really would like another chance except I'd be too embarrassed to ever really try to do them again and no one would want to see the same movie just done differently." Well, he did do that with Evil Dead II didn't he? But anyway, I think that's a standard response for any director, but still interesting to hear from Raimi.

So why come back for Spider-Man 4? Why spend so many more years with a franchise that he's already explored thoroughly? "I'd like to really make a great picture with him and bring the character to life at a level of detail that I've never realized before. It's almost like I have a desire to do something I've been trying to do right and haven't yet been able to," Raimi admits. So essentially, he's trying again until he gets it right. "I want to make the best [Spider-Man movie] of the bunch and I've always been touched by Peter Parker in a way that I've never been able to describe on film, even though I've got a great actor performing it."

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For someone who cares so much about the character, how the hell did he turn him into emo-parker and have him dancing around?

Jmoney on May 19, 2009


My biggest beef with Spiderman 3 was Toby. He let himself go physically and looked nothing like Spidey when the outfit was off. I feel that Raimi should get a different actor, maybe an older one with the story reflecting the advance in age, than stick with an out-of-shape Toby.

Manshima on May 19, 2009


Spidey 3 = XM3 !!! 2 many storylines just destroyed those movies if the just focused on one solid storyline they were a lot better and they have left with a materials for more sequels .

James Ford on May 19, 2009


I agree with #3. An older Spidey with some years under his web would make a more interesting character. In fact that would have possibly made Spidey 3 work better.

Bryanmakeup on May 19, 2009


I'd also like to see an older Spider-man. Re-cast most of the actors and have Peter Parker be in his late 20's early 30's, now a science teacher at his old high-school. It would make for better stories than the same old angst ridden teen we keep seeing in the current movies.

Yorick Brown on May 19, 2009


somebody should've told him spider-man 2 was awesome...and spider-man 3 isn't half as bad as people make it out to be

manxome on May 19, 2009


Raimi seems pretty devoted to making the next spidey film better than the rest. i'll give him a chance. in the meantime, i can't wait for "Drag me to hell" to come out. =) Go Raimi!

finch on May 19, 2009


Raimi should listen to these comments, i think this bright group has something with a more mature, more centered Parker would help the franchise. Now Tobe is still Spider-Man in the minds of many, sadly I don't feel Raimi will recast him ala "Batman-sequels", he loves Tobe too much. That said, Tobe can act with great direction, I'll give him a chance too if he understands Parker can't be a romantic/geek with a hot girlfriend once more, in a new Spider-Man film. He's a young adult dealing with the toughest job an average joe can have...saving the world day in day out, with no thanks. P.S.: PLEASE RECAST MARY-JANE!!!!!!!!! Dunst isn't hot at all and brought nothing to the character. Actually she killed the hot chick girl next door vibe MJ is supposed to be. Cast Rachel Nichols (Orion girl from new Star Trek & from G.I. JOE as Scarlett) That's an MJ most of us can fall for...

Lazarus on May 19, 2009


Image what he could have done with Venom, then watch spiderman 3 again...

Richard on May 19, 2009


From what I've come to understand about Spider-Man 3, Raimi ran into too much interference from the studio. What ended up on screen was a misfire, but one can take refuge in the fact that Raimi is at least aware of public reaction and hasn't completely sold out yet.

Tom Brazelton on May 19, 2009


I think the past films focused entirely too much on Peter Parker and the incessantly soap-operaish troubles in his life. I hope Spiderman 4 ends up better than Spiderman 3 but then again, that wouldn't be much of an accomplishment.

SlashBeast on May 19, 2009


raimi needs to stop with the excuse that he didn't have full control over spiderman 3. i don't buy it. can't see the fourth one being great but has to be better than # 3. anything would be.

cat on May 19, 2009


I understand that it wasn't Raimi's idea to include Venom and that lead to a lot of the problems in Spiderman 3, but that excuse can only go so far. I mean, who's idea was the dancing emo-Peter? Did the studio want to shove that in too? I think the franchise has a lot of possibilities but until I can see more confirmation on things like villains and plot I can't really say much about it.

Governor on May 19, 2009


You know what, with Drag Me to Hell looking to be awesome and all, I'll be willing to give Raimi another chance.

Andrew on May 19, 2009


I hope Raimi does a way better job on spidey 4 because the last one was terrible and the second one was no better, and I would love to see them re-do venom and get a different actor.

N. on May 19, 2009


I agree with ya #10. My sentiments exactly! It's great to see that Raimi is in touch and still passionate about the Spiderman/Peter Parker character and is very aware of the fan reaction to "Spider-Man 3". I remember reading that it was Marvel CEO/ Executive Producer Avi Arad's idea of including Venom in the flick. The cramming of the various subplots was Sony's doing! We've seen this many, many times before where studio intervention burdens the flick to the point of incoherence and irrationality! Having said that, "Spider-Man 3" and "X-Men 3" are not as bad as they are being made out to be!

Spider on May 19, 2009


.....and YES Sam, do your thing: Give us a kick ass "Spider-Man 4"!

Spider on May 19, 2009


4. in honest opinion X3 wasn't horrible, and S3 wasn't horrible. They were the worst of the trilogies sure, but I mean come on. I think that Raimi should go at it again, and if he fails this time, don't have him back.

Movieraider321 on May 19, 2009


spiderman vs. punisher THINK ABOUT IT

real talk on May 19, 2009


Spider-Man 3 is vastly superior to X-Men 3, if nothing else. And for those who 'don't buy' Raimi saying he actually had less control on the third picture than he did on the first two, you have to understand the man is unfailingly polite and self-deprecating. He NEVER says anything bad about anyone he's worked with - and he's made movies with noted hot-heads Crowe, Hackman and Costner - so if he's gone as far as to say what he's said about the producers, it must have been a pretty rotten experience. And anyway, the man's just ripped into his own work, said he would change every single shot if he could and doesn't think he's made a great Spider-Man film yet (even though number 2 was good enough for Chris Nolan to take notes on the train sequence...) - what more do you people want? Blood?! Cut the man some slack.

Mathieu on May 19, 2009


I love Spiderman, and I hope Spider-man 4 is awesome!

Susana on May 19, 2009


Spider-Man 3 was a let down cause he screw up Venom if he didnt want to bring in Venom then dont bring him in the first place.

terry on May 19, 2009


#1 totally said what i was thinking about.

Fisherr on May 19, 2009


So pretty much what hes saying is that hes a shitty director and when he makes a movie he never makes a good one? And he wants to do another spiderman so that he can try again? It's like he's sitting at a slot machine and keeps putting in those quarters

Dan W on May 19, 2009


Just not enough Venom. he was too busy making sandman multi layered . Spidey3 should have been all venom . Sux , although Harry was good shoulda been gobby jr and Venom then have the goblin turn good.

BadKarma on May 19, 2009


I agree with the smaller crowd that says that SM3 wasn't as bad as people make it out to be. Definately better than X3, for that X3 pretty much butchered all the characters except for Wolverine (who I think as a character, is highly overrated). Who they pretty much made all X-men movies about. Anyway, SM3 butchered some but not all. The biggest problem I have is Venom. He should've came down as a meteor rock in SM2 when Johnson came down in his spacecraft, not a falling meteorite that is scorching hot entering the atmosphere (which would've killed the symbiote from the intense heat). And they killed Brock. About the "emo-Pete"? What's so bad about that. The symbiote makes the host different, more aggresive, more out-going, in the sense more "free". IMHO, they portrayed the different personalities quite well. An awesome plot would be: Dr. Conner keeps the piece of symbiote, reattaches to Brock, the symbiote gets seperated as Brock goes to Ryker's Island prison and shares a cell with Cletus Kasady, the symbiote returns and unwilling reproduces (asexually), connects with Brock again and breaks out, leaving the offspring behind, the offspring then bonds with Kasady creating Carnage. BUT! They killed off Brock.

Dyi on May 19, 2009


Hm, a lot of interesting feedback on this one. I thought Spidey 1 was good, and Spidey 2 was magnificent. Maybe because I am an Alfred Molina fan, but more importantly each character had significance. And you could see and validate each conflict within that picture. Now take Spidey 3, and you could pretty well cut out most of the cast. It was a cut-out film with typical progression and no suspense. Mix in really cheesy dialogue... well, enough with that. I don't know what to think. I really don't. Raimi has the potential to do it right, but it's going to be difficult not to let this whole thing get blown out of control. Rush a story, cram in too many effects, make it too trendy... and you're in for another shit storm. But if they can really bring out a timeless classic, a truly genuine purpose for a story to be told, then they have a winner. A movie should tell/show you something, a lesson, or a way to see things differently. Just seeing the same characters over again doesn't make them great. It's the great things they did that made them so enticing. The trailer will tell me everything I need to know.

Dan the Fan on May 19, 2009


I still can't believe how bad Spidey 3 was. It was not just one thing in the film that made it bad, it was everything from having too many villians to the way Raimi handled the black spidey scenes with Parker dancing and shit. Plus when Venom finally came onto the scene the character did not look right and he was only in it for a few minutes. I can understand that not everything can go to plan like they did in Spidey 2, but to have so many problems in one picture, there are no excuses for it. I wish that the next film was called Spider-man 3 and that they could erase the last film. With all that said Raimi needs to go back to the basics. One villian is enough in these pictures. But what he should really do is step down from the spidey franchise and get of his ass and finally make "Evil Dead 4: Clash Of The Deadites".

Last Son on May 19, 2009


I hate how people blame the studio for Spiderman 3. Venom wasn't the reason that movie sucked, it sucked because of the Peter Parker segments, dancing, comb-over emo style. yoh can't blame the studio for that.

Jmoney on May 19, 2009


Raimi has made some great movies over the years. As for people thinking the only studio interference was the enforced inclusion of Venom, well even if that was the case, one bad decision leads to another. Which gives us a lot of narrative and character clutter and other misjudgements in a domino effect. (No Venom = no symbiote = no emo dancing, for example.) He should have been left alone to make the movie he wanted to make. It was unlikely to be perfect, but would've been a lot better than the movie we got. Regardless, it's rare in this age of arrogant self-promoters for a director to be so humble and so willing to admit his mistakes. If only the fanboys were willing to forgive and forget... I'm looking forward to seeing Drag Me To Hell next week; if it's as good as early word suggests, that should restore a lot of faith.

Mathieu on May 19, 2009


Venom is Spider-Man's Joker, and when you compare Venom's role in Spider-Man 3 to Joker's in The Dark Knight, you can see much of an outright failure Venom was. The thing is, if Ledger was still alive, there is NO DOUBT Nolan could make ANOTHER film based on Joker and it would make tons and be incredibly successful. Raimi will be lucky if he gets from Venom an eighth of what Nolan got from Joker, and that is entirely his fault. Honestly, in the history of modern comic book movies, Venom's character in Spider-Man 3 is by far the biggest failure/letdown in comparison to any other character interpreted in film. It was an abomination and ruined the movie for the majority of comic book fans. I mean, Joker was such a huge part of the success of TDK, especially the success the film had with casual fans. If Venom could have had at least a decent part with some good direction they could easily capture at least some of that success.

Dean on May 19, 2009


Spider-Man: Theatrical Performance Total US Gross $403,706,375 +International Gross $418,002,176 =Worldwide Gross $821,708,551 Released May 3, 2002 November 1, 2002 (DVD Sale) Production Budget $139,000,000 Prints and Advertising Budget $50,000,000 First day DVD sales: 7,000,000 US TV rights (Fox, TBS/TNT): $60,000,000 Related toy sales (gross sales): $109,000,000 US DVD revenue (to July, 2004): $338,800,000 US VHS revenue (to July, 2004): $89,200,000 Estimated DVD sales (to November, 2003): 14 million ********************************************************************************** Spider-Man II: Theatrical Performance Total US Gross $373,524,485 +International Gross $410,180,516 =Worldwide Gross $783,705,001 Home Market Performance US DVD Sales: $4,194,811 Weekly Breakdown Released June 30, 2004 November 30, 2004 (DVD Sale) April 17, 2007 (DVD Sale) Production Budget $200,000,000 Prints and Advertising Budget $57,000,000 DVD Marketing Costs $17,400,000 US TV rights (Fox, FX): $50,000,000 Tie-in marketing deal with Burger King: $40,000,000 ********************************************************************************** Spider-Man III: Theatrical Performance Total US Gross $336,530,303 +International Gross $554,341,323 =Worldwide Gross $890,871,626 Home Market Performance US DVD Sales: $123,905,830 Weekly Breakdown Production Budget $258,000,000 US TV Rights (FX): 10% of US box office (rumored, HR 5/9/2007, p.1) ........and no#'s are not complete, add another 10-15% on DVD sales/rentals, prob 10-15% more in other sales. Ofc Sam has more he wants to show us 🙂

David Banner on May 20, 2009


Jesus Fucking Christ Evil Dead 2 was a sequel! not just a remake the end of Evil Dead 1 has the evil coming after ash through the cabin. in ED2 there's a small retelling of the story since he didn't own the rights to the original movie then the sequel starts when the evil goes after ash through the cabin other than the tree rape scene its all different. Moron!

Justin Case on May 20, 2009


as a person wth no emotional attachment to spiderman history spiderman 2 was a truly entertaining film and better than the majority of summer action pic that have come out since or before spiderman 3 just had too much going on (the small amount of criticism directed at tdk was for this same reason) did have great action and visually raimi has been improving film on film but the character development was cut short due to the packed storyline spider 4 with raimi having full control and same cast is something i would really look forward to!

rep6 on May 22, 2009

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