Now in the comics Peter Parker actually makes the Spider-Man web himself– he wasn’t genetically equipped with it like in this adaptation. Does the fact that he can now shoot the web from his wrist turn Peter into more of a superhero like Clark Kent? ^ James Cameron wrote a treatment that was going to be the basis for his movie that he was going to make 10 years ago. It was very well written and had a lot of great ideas. One of the two main ideas that stuck in this movie that Cameron came up with was that Spider-Man would not wear webbed shooters, but instead would have this web that came from his body — from his wrist. I think it made him more of a freak than a regular person in one respect, but in a greater respect it made him more of a person than a freak and here’s my response to that. Again, the strength of Lee’s creation of Spider-Man was that he was always a human being — one of us. He was broke, the girls didn’t like him and he was kind of unpopular. I wanted to make sure that Peter was one of us. I didn’t want him to be some genius who could make this mechanical contraption that nobody I know could make — and as far as being a chemical engineer and designing this web fluid that even a 3M corporation with their top geniuses couldn’t make today, I don’t know this person. I don’t know how he exists in our world. So it’s a license that I took, based on Cameron’s original idea, that I thought was right. I don’t know if Cameron did it to simplify the character, cause he probably thought ‘heck, we are giving him the ability to stick to walls like a spider, to have the strength of a spider, to have a spider’s senses — why not just have him shoot the web too? Why does he then have to jump to a mechanical, artificial device?’ I don’t know why James Cameron came up with the original idea, but for me I kept it because the strength of my approach to this picture was that Peter was going to be one of us. And I didn’t want to do anything to diminish his identifiable humanity with the average, little, middle-class kid that I grew up as myself. So yes, I do think he is more of a superhero because he has one more power, but what’s the difference between four of those powers and five? And the gain is so great for me that he’s a real human being that I can identify with that. It was a choice I was willing to take, and I know that fans don’t like that.
What about Willem Dafoe? Facially he’s one of Hollywood’s most expressive actors, so what was behind the decision to cover his face with a mask that isn’t even like the one the Green Goblin wears in the comic? ^ Basically the Green Goblin wears a mask in the comic books — he actually wears what looks like a latex mask. We wanted to stay true to the comic books and have a masked Goblin, but we couldn’t figure out a way to justify the latex mask. In the comic books he’s simply in a dark shadow and when he turns he’s the Green Goblin — he’s obviously just put on this mask. But that’s not really how latex masks go on, and if we really wanted an expressive latex look we would have to justify ‘well, does he really sit in a make-up chair for 6 hours while this mask is applied?’ cause that’s how latex masks are applied. We tried to base everything on the reality of our world as much as possible since it’s really the story of Peter Parker as a human being who grows into a responsible young man. I didn’t really want this to take place in some fantasy world — I wanted this to take place in our world. So I approached everything this way and he’s not going to sit in a chair for six hours. It’s going to be very hard to wear a latex mask. He could wear a rubber mask, but that would be just as expressionless — with those eyes that you wear at Halloween. And why would he wear this type of rubber mask? We, right or wrong, decided that Norman Osborn was a weapons designer and his corporation, Oscorp, provides weapon systems for the military and it’s possible that he was developing this glider to be a personal transport for the next generation’s soldier. And would they wear a fight suit, some battle armor? Yes, maybe that’s where the Goblin’s suit could come from, justifying maybe the green and metal plating. And why would they wear a mask? Well, if it’s a fight system maybe they would wear a helmet, so the Goblin’s helmet could be based on this helmet. But why would there be this face? Well, maybe we could pattern it after the terrible faces of the Asian-African war masks that were used to strike terror in the hearts of the enemy. Maybe that ancient concept of warfare could still be effective today — if you saw 20 of these war faces coming over the hill at you toward your foxhole. And I didn’t like making decisions like this — I had to back into them. I had to try and justify very strange decisions that were made in the comic books. They were decisions you loved when you read them, but to actually try and make them live in the real world is a little tougher. So I can’t say that I chose right or wrong, all that I can say is that I tried to be consistent in where my choices came from.
Spider-Man has a history of fighting off a lot of great comic book villains — Venom, Electro, Dr. Octopus… why the Green Goblin? ^ I wanted to go with the Green Goblin. They had Electro and Dr. Octopus, which are great villains — I’m sorry, I think they had Electro and Sandman originally — but I wanted the Green Goblin because, from the comic books, I always thought that the best dynamic was with a villain that could affect Peter Parker’s life. Norman Osborn happened to be the father of Peter’s best friend, Harry. And Norman Osborn could become in our movie, I felt, sort of a surrogate father to Peter even at the expense of his own son’s love. So there could be a certain dynamic — a dramatic dynamic — that could be interesting there. Therefore, once the Green Goblin, who is fighting Spider-Man by night, finds out that Spider-Man is in fact Peter Parker, this young boy who he’s given so much to emotionally for a guy like him — at the expense of his own son’s love — he feels a great sense of personal betrayal and anger at this kid and is justified in wanting to strike out. Those are the reasons why I went with Goblin. Not because of his look or the danger of his goblin bombs, but I wanted the human aspect to reverberate throughout the piece.
Get the rest of the interview in part five of SPIDER-SAM: RAIMI BRINGS A COMIC BOOK LEGEND TO LIFE>>>
Posted on May 1, 2002 in Interviews by Heather Wadowski
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- THE REAL SPIDER-MAN: DAN POOLE INTERVIEW (part 2)
- SPIDER-SAM: RAIMI BRINGS A COMIC BOOK LEGEND TO LIFE
- KIRSTEN DUNST CAST IN “SPIDER-MAN”
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