When you talk about Spider-Man these days, it’s impossible not to think about the future just as much as the present. Marc Webb saw tremendous success with his 2012 reboot starring Andrew Garfield as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, so much so that producers Avi Arad and Matthew Tolmach immediately pounced on the opportunity to build out an entire franchise, not just a string of films. We already know The Amazing Spider Man 3 and 4 are on the way, and they’ll be getting a little help from Drew Goddard on stand-alone stories surrounding anti-hero favorite Venom and Spider-Man’s most feared rivals, the Sinister Six.
While Avi and Matt were in New York City this weekend, I was granted an exclusive interview with the two while they enjoyed their lunches. With so much to talk about, I attempted to touch not only on The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but also the upcoming stand-alone films that are showing an interesting focus on supervillains – not Spider-Man himself. Personally, I love this decision, because there are so many wonderful foes that deserve their own cinematic explorations. While we meet Rhino and Electro in the upcoming sequel, other Sinister members are only teased through machinery that suggest Dr. Octopus and Vulture will be joining a roster of evil madmen set to face off against Spider-Man down the line.
Read on to hear what Avi and Matt had to say about The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Venom, the Sinister Six, and Avi’s comments on the future of video game movies – and how he’s going to change their past.
WGTC: So my first question revolves around the upcoming Venom movie, which has already been announced. We know this anti-hero is getting his own stand-alone treatment, yet we haven’t been introduced to the character of Eddie Brock yet in your new Amazing Spider-Man franchise. At what point will we meet Eddie and see the Venom storyline starting to take form?
Matthew Tolmach: The beginning of [Venom] is going to be the beginning of that movie.
Avi Arad: You have to look at it as re-introducing Spider-Man. It’s part of all these plans for a bigger universe, and part of this universe is going to be – we have opportunities with some amazing villains. They’re not born villains, something happens, they’re victimized, and contrary to the way our hero reacted, some of our villains aren’t bad guys – they just hate Spider-Man because he put them away.
Matthew Tolmach: Frankly, all of them that we played with…
Avi Arad: It’s a real, good opportunity for us.
Matthew Tolmach: Everyone starts out with noble intentions, oddly enough – at least in our universe.
Avi Arad: Venom is so well loved, and as you know, he’s the lethal protector. He’s really good for the misfortunate, but he’s not forgiven, and that’s a story all by itself. What Spider-Man is doing to the world that’s good for us, the guys who want to hurt us, it’s bad for them – so how does he deal with that because he cannot kill anybody? He cannot destroy them, he has to try and stop them, to help them.
Matthew Tolmach: It’s a little bit of a spoiler to know at what moment you’ll first see him, because as you know we’re very actively making three more movies, but all at the same time. The fun of that for us, and the audience, is going to be who shows up when and where. Do we establish someone first, do you see them in their own origin – that’s what we’re playing with. Having said that, he’s such a complicated, important character, we feel he absolutely deserves his own movie.
WGTC: So we’re really going to get our fist bite of Venom in his stand-alone origin film?
Matthew Tolmach: Our first big one, yeah.
WGTC: So we keep talking about characters who have already received screen time, like Topher Grace already portrayed Venom in Sam Raimi’s trilogy, and obviously James Franco was Green Goblin. I’m wondering if those performances played into how you wanted to see those characters portrayed now. Is it hard separating the franchises and characters, making them new and unique?
Avi Arad: Well you just met Dane DeHaan…
Matthew Tolmach: How different is his portrayal of the Green Goblin? That’s how you do it.
Avi Arad: Better than Franco…
Matthew Tolmach: It starts in the writing, and then in the casting, then the directing – look at James Bond! Everyone is so into “Well, this person played it, that person played it” – think about a great play that’s reinterpreted. How many different productions of Shakespeare have come and gone over the years? It’s not always the same actors, you get to re-interpret it.
Avi Arad: We didn’t work on the original with James mentioning the incredible connection between [Harry and Peter]. It’s not that they were friends, it’s the fact that their parents weren’t there. All of their problems emanated out of Oscorp, sometimes looking for solutions, yet they came out of Oscorp. In the first movie Uncle Ben even tells him, “I never liked these people, I never liked this place.” All of a sudden you have these two kids, upstairs and downstairs, but Harry says it all in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 when he tells Peter, “We both got dumped.”
Matthew Tolmach: In the Raimi movies they met at school. No better, no worse, just a totally different idea. When you give two people a lifelong history, it creates a different kind of dynamic – a different relationship. It was very important in this movie since they were dealing with a problem, a mystery, that went all the way back to their childhood that we had to establish. One of the amazing things is that in casting, it felt like Andrew and Dane had known each other for a lifetime. It was kind of crazy, and perfectly in sync with the story we were telling.