SAN DIEGO, DAY 3: Exclusive Spider-Man film footage shown at CCI

Sun, July 22nd, 2001 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

Spider-Man director Sam Raimi addressed thousands of anxious fans at a

packed panel room in San Diego on Saturday. The entertaining Raimi did

shtick and answered questions, but the highlight of the panel was about

10 minutes worth of preview footage that Comic-Con fans were the first

to see. According to Raimi, even Sony hadn't seen the clip yet.

Likewise, Marvel V.P. Kevin Feige later told Comics2Film that he and

Marvel top dog Avi

Arad were also seeing the footage for the first time.

The clip, which looks to be the opening for the movie, follows Peter

Parker's high-school class as they tour the Genetic Research Lab at

Columbia University. The lab is populated by enhanced spiders. The tour

guide talks about the special traits of the individual spiders, which

ring familiar to longtime Spider-Man fans: great athletic ability,

tensile web strength and a defensive speed that almost suggests a

"spider sense" at work.

The tour scene quickly sets up the dynamics of the characters: Parker

(Tobey Maguire) is a bookish nerd who gets bullied as he tries to

photograph the spiders. His pal Harry Osborn (James Franco) stands up

for him but also moves in on Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), whom Peter has a

crush on. Still, Peter makes a connection with Mary Jane as she mugs for

photo in front of the containers for the genetically altered spiders,

one of whom has escaped and watches from the ceiling. As Parker

photographs Mary Jane's clowning, the spider lowers itself onto Parker's

hand and delivers the fateful bite.

While the crowd was the first to see the footage, Raimi told fans that

they'll be delivering a rough cut to Sony next week. Prior to the clip

he answered questions about the movie. Raimi expects the movie to come

in at 110 minutes.

When asked about what influence Sony has exerted on the film, Raimi

responded, "They've been hands-off so far. The creative aspects of the

picture have been handled by myself, our producer Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad

from Marvel and the writers obviously. Sony's really given us a free

hand in telling the Spider-Man story."

The director named David Koepp and Alvin Sargent as the writers of the

movie, who worked from James Cameron's original scriptment. He also

discussed the work that Scott Michael Rosenberg did on the film, but

said that his work was not used in the final shooting script.

Another fan asked if the movie would feature Raimi's trademark, frenetic

visual style.

"This time I feel I'm at the service of Spider-Man. I'm such a big fan

of the character I did not want to be part of the presentation. I just

wanted to translate the character to screen and not make it a stylistic

show.

"When Spider-Man is moving through the city, I want the audience to feel

the excitement of soaring 70 stories up above Manhattan, so there's a

lot of camera movement, but it's not done for the effect of creating a

style for the picture," Raimi said.

By contrast the rest of the movie is intended to be realistic. "The

great thing about Stan Lee's Peter Parker is that he's a real kid in a

real world. He went through elementary school, junior high school, high

school as a loser, like the rest of us. That's why we're here. Let's

face it," Raimi joked.

Raimi hopes to see Peter Parker developed over the course of what should

be a movie franchise. "In the first installment of the spider saga on

film, I think we tried to tell the story of an irresponsible young boy

who is maybe selfish and consumed with his own petty problems of getting

recognized by a girl he admires and being popular," Raimi said.

"We follow that young man to becoming a responsible young man. At the

end of the picture, and only at the very end, stepping up to that

responsibility has its own price that Peter has to pay."

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