34 years ago yesterday, John Lennon was shot to death
Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire started off strong with Spider-Man, then they got even stronger with the superior Spider-Man 2. And then, well, there was Spider-Man 3, and the mess of characters, and emo Peter Parker and that… that… dance scene (shudders).
Raimi’s Spidey trilogy flamed out in the end, but is still credited for reinvigorating the superhero cinema market in the early 2000s. Here are a handful of things to know about all three Spider-Man movies…
1. The scene in which Peter Parker catches Mary Jane’s lunch on the tray involved no CGI. With the help of a sticky substance to keep the tray planted on his hand, Tobey Maguire eventually performed the stunt exactly as seen.
2. This was the first film to earn $100 million in its opening weekend alone. No film had ever done that previously, even when adjusted for inflation.
3. To acquire his bumped-up physique, Tobey Maguire went through a strict five-month regimen of exercise, weight training and martial arts six times a week, as well as eating a high protein meal four to six times a day.
4. The Green Goblin’s costume was originally designed to be more bulky and armoured, but Willem Dafoe, having decided to film his own stunts, rejected it in favour of a more streamlined and athletic costume. The final outfit was composed of 580 pieces and took Dafoe half an hour to put on.
5. The original trailer for the movie depicted a theft of a bank, with the robbers making a getaway in a helicopter. A close-up of the helicopter was shown, until the helicopter stopped, apparently caught in mid-air. As the camera zoomed out, it was shown that the helicopter was caught in a spider web, suspended between the two towers of the World Trade Center. After the attacks on the towers on 11 September 2001, however, the trailer was changed.
6. One of the chief difficulties that Tobey Maguire experienced in the now-famous upside-down kissing scene was that his sinuses kept filling up with water as it was performed in driving rain.
7. Hugh Jackman revealed that he was supposed to have a brief cameo as Wolverine. Jackman actually showed up in New York to film the scene, but the entire plan was scrapped when the crew couldn’t get access to the Wolverine costume from X-Men.
8. Costume designer James Acheson made subtle changes to Spider-Man’s costume from the previous film. The colours were made richer and bolder; the spider emblem was given more elegant lines; the muscle suit underneath was made into pieces, to give a better sense of movement; and the helmet Tobey Maguire wore under his mask was also improved, adding a false jaw for better movement and magnetic eyepieces which were easier to remove. 35 costumes were made for production.
9. When Peter flips over an oncoming car, Tobey Maguire performed the stunt himself. A stuntman also performed it, but Sam Raimi thought Maguire’s looked more natural so he used his instead.
10. Tobey Maguire’s participation was in doubt at one point because he was suffering severe back pains. Jake Gyllenhaal, was lined up to play Spider-Man and had already begun preparation, but Maguire decided to take part after all.
11. Alfred Molina who plays Dr. Octopus, actually gave names to his four mechanical tentacles (Larry, Harry, Flo, and Moe). Flo was the top right tentacle, because it was operated by a female grip and that particular tentacle was the most motherly, which removed his sunglasses and gave him sips of his drink.
12. Danny Elfman, who did the film score and many others for Raimi, had some sort of falling out with the director during the course of this film, and has been quoted saying “To see such a profound negative change in a human being was almost enough to make me feel like I didn’t want to make films anymore.”
13. The alley where Peter dumps his Spider-Man suit is supposed to be the same one where he kissed MJ upside down in the first film.
14. The film features two other villains from the comics. John Jameson (son of J. Jonah Jameson) is the Man-Wolf and Dr. Curt Connors is the Lizard.
15. Bryce Dallas Howard was unaware that she was pregnant during the time of filming, so she was performing all her own dangerous stunts.
16. Thomas Haden Church said that he broke three knuckles during the subway scene where he swings to punch Spider-Man and ends up punching a chunk of the wall away. Church said that the effects crew had told him that the brick in the middle was fake while the upper and lower ones were real. Unfortunately, the foam brick had not actually been put in place yet, and when Sam Raimi yelled action, Church spun around and punched the real brick on the first take.
17. In a fight scene where Spider-Man punches through Sandman’s chest, congenital amputee boxer Baxter Humby took Tobey Maguire’s place in filming the scene. Humby, who was born without his right hand, helped deliver the intended effect of punching through Sandman’s chest.
18. Real sand was used for Sandman, except when characters were being buried or covered in sand. Since real sand would have been a possible hazard for such scenes, ground-up corncobs were used instead, and provided a great snack for the cast and crew.
19. To prepare for his role as Venom, Topher Grace worked out for six months, gaining 24 pounds of muscle. He said he based his performance on, oddly enough, alcoholics and drug addicts.
20. The dreadful jazz bar scene took two weeks to film. That was two weeks wasted in my opinion.
21. Over 1000 people worked on the film, some of them putting in the 8000 hours needed to construct the 40 Spider-Man suits and others writing complicated CGI software.