The Death & Rebirth Of Spider-Man: A Series Of Events (Part 2)

If you haven’t yet read part 1 of this article, you can do so here.

Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Grant Curtis had locked themselves in the Sony Pictures basement. You could hear the fanboys screaming their names, pitchforks and shotguns galore surrounding a burning cross. The fans lifted a giant log and began banging it against the locked doors until the locks busted and the doors swung open. One group went up the stairs and the second group went down the stairs. After searching the halls, the second group discovered a room in the back locked up with a light coming from the inside. The leader blew his whistle, shouting “THERE IN HERE!!”

Outside, the police tried to get in, but the fans had placed the log infront of the doors, jamming it shut. You could hear the thunder of fanboys charging downstairs. Inside the locked room, Ziskin, Arad, and Curtis said their final goodbyes and ended up commiting suicide with a pistol. Their bodies burnt in the Sony Pictures basement as the building went up in flames.

Okay, that obviously didn’t happen, but it could have.

The fans were THAT nuts, including myself. It took about a week or two before the word “reboot” finally sank in and the idea of a reboot was only on the negative side of our minds. We never opened up to the possibilities of a reboot until most of us realized that maybe this was the right thing to do. Raimi made two GREAT films and an “ok” third film, but did they really stick close to the source material? No. Were some of the casting decisions off? Yes. And most importantly, was Sam Raimi the RIGHT director to bring Spider-Man to life?

He may have breathed life into the films and did the best he could to make sure the emotion of the characters balanced well with the story, but maybe his own tricks were a little gimmicky and too “Sam Raimi-y” to be genuine Spider-Man. Sure, we all love Bruce Campbell, sure, that hospital attack scene was scary but we still loved it, but did we really need to have him exploit his own family, even Tobey’s in Spider-Man 2? Was his style with the characters worthy of their comic-book incarnations?

So, with Vanderbilt’s script in their hands, Sony searched for a new director. A popular up-and-coming director that was a Spider-Man fan but would do well to balance the right themes and emotions of the main character. Names like David Fincher and failed Spider-Man-vet James Cameron were thrown around, but it was a certain indie director that Sony had their eyes on. (500) Days of Summer was one of the surprise hits of the summer and one of the critically-praised films of the year and one of the most notable factors to that film was the direction by music video director Marc Webb.

As a Spider-Man fan and a debut director, Marc Webb’s only answer was an obvious YES. So, Sony signed Webb on (his last name being just a coincidence) and now started the long, seven-month search for the perfect Peter Parker. But first, a rumour about Clive Owen joining the cast as Kraven the Hunter appeared and it was obviously false, being that it was way too early and they would need to search for Peter first before anybody. Could it be Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who starred in (500) Days of Summer with Webb? No, but he was giving his pal Webb his ideas for the project. Another news article popped up with James Cameron confirming that he was supervising the project as it was going to be using the same 3-D technology as his monumental-hit Avatar. Now back to the Peter Parker search.

I was almost certain it would be actor Logan Lerman who had recently starred in the blockbuster Percy Jackson and was rising fast as one of Hollywood’s new young stars. Well, the first rumours included him and Zac Efron. Zac Efron’s rumour included High School Musical-costar Vanessa Hudgens playing Mary Jane and I was 100% against it. Efron’s a fine actor, but this cannot be a “Disney-package” film.

So what about Lerman? Well another rumour popped up that he had been cast. Was it too soon? Yes, but Sony did put Lerman on their shortlist along with Josh Hutcherson. Ultimate Spider-Man creator Brian Bendis revealed that he was supervising and that it would be partially based off of the Ultimate series. Alvin Sargent, who was to rewrite the fourth film was hired for touch-ups on Vanderbilt’s script. He stated that the film would be more “emotionally-driven and realistic” with the plot being about a “17-year old balancing his newfound powers and hormones and dealing with his uncle’s death he caused.” Realistic, like Nolan’s Batman series? Moreso, just logically realistic.

The first big news since Webb’s directorial announcement was here. The shortlist was revealed. It consisted of five actors: teen actors, Josh Hutcherson (Bridge to Terabithia), Alden Ehrenriech (Tetro), and Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), 24-year old Brit Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), and 26-year old Brit Andrew Garfield (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus). That would mean the story could go either way: a high school route or a college route.

What if Spider-Man was black? That’s what fans questioned when a Twitter campaign considered African-American comedian Donald Glover (NBC’s “Community”) for the role. But we all doubted that Sony would even consider drastically changing Spider-Man’s ethnicity. But had Spider-Man been cast? A rumour popped up that Jamie Bell was offered the lead. Then, a legitimate news source stated Sony has offered the lead villain role to Inglourious Basterds star Michael Fassbender. But Marvel Studios wanted Fassbender for the role of Magneto in 2011’s X-Men: First Class. Fassbender ended up choosing Magneto and Sony was left with no one. Main villain guess: The Lizard. But Sony wanted a villain with a human face for the fourth film, could they have changed their minds?

Well, Jamie Bell flew down to America to prepare for the role, supposedly, and their was even a video leaked of him rock-climbing and prepping stunt choreography. It seemed as thought the role was his, and it was because then Sony stated that Harry Potter-star Frank Dillane was their back-up plan should Bell not commit. But maybe Marc Webb had another Brit on his mind for the role. Stan Lee, a.k.a. GOD, supported Donald Glover’s campaign saying that he should get the chance to audition, even though his ethnicity was certain to confuse younger viewers.

Maybe Sony was reconsidering as well, because they announced Josh Hutcherson as the favorite, but he might not be available due to scheduling conflicts for the Journey to the Center of the Earth sequel. Sony then revealed their final shortlist, consisting of Bell, Dillane, Lerman, Ehrenriech, Garfield, Anton Yelchin (Terminator Salvation), Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass), and Michael Angarano (Sky High). After auditions, Sony had reportedly offered the role to Hutcherson after he knocked his audition out of the park. But it was just a rumour.

Sony held a surprise press-conference to reveal their new Spider-Man and Laura Ziskin introduced him to the crowd. With a surprise applause, Andrew Garfield stepped out on stage and soon the reports went wild. Some fans spat out in disgust, saying Garfield was too old, but others realized that he was the perfect Peter Parker and it was as if Peter Parker himself jumped out of the pages of the comic and landed here in reality. Marc Webb made a statement saying that Garfield is the perfect choice and to just wait until fans see his portayal of Peter Parker. So with Alvin Sargent rewriting the story to a college-setting, and Garfield being paid $500,000 for the role, we had our Peter Parker and the rest of the cast was yet to be completed.

Continue reading in part 3!