INTERVIEWS: Spider-Man 3
So what was it like coming back for a third time? Being the man behind the spider once again?
The man behind the spider. I'm not quite sure what that means, but I had a good time on the movie. [Laughs] I love it. I love working with the cast and the crew and especially with Sam [Raimi]. So it was great coming back and I really felt like in this movie it was definitely the continuing story of Peter Parker and the other characters, but we were exploring new territory for the character. So it was exciting for me to venture into some different areas.
Was it a whole new character playing the dark side to Peter Parker?
It's not a new character. It's a new side to Peter Parker and something that I think is kind of unexpected to see, Peter Parker behaving in some of the ways that he behaves. It was a lot of fun and it was a lot of work for Sam and I to go over it and really think about and discuss the right tone for that part of the movie.
Did you feel like this was the end of your experience with Mary Jane or do you see yourself being in 4, 5 and 6?
This is definitely the end to this trilogy. We've closed this chapter. But if Sam and Tobey and I were to come back together, we'd definitely do another movie.
This time around, were you just focusing yourself on the actress storyline and not worrying about the stress in the end or the special FX stuff going on?
On this one, they're finally together and she is successful in what she's doing, and he's been embraced by the city of New York and getting all these accolades. It's blown his head up a little bit. Slowly, we start to unravel Mary Jane, their relationship – they're already ignoring things within that – it doesn't help that he takes on this other darkness that envelopes his character, and brings out all the things he's not dealing with in his life all his anger really heightens that.
You're a 'Spider-Man' fan?
Oh yeah. I was not just a huge fan of the first two films. I told Sam when we got together I thought there were only two films, two franchises, where the sequel's been better than the first one. And it's 'Aliens' and 'The Godfather' and the New Testament. [Laughter] So I was a huge fan of his films. I thought he was a great director beforehand. The comic book I was an even bigger fan of, in the late Eighties. Ironically, it was when Venom, the character I play was being born by the great Todd McFarlane who kind of revolutionized comics at that time. So I felt like when he offered me the role, I had this inside track. And I kind of had to sit on my hands and not say yes too quickly, because I hadn't negotiated my deal yet. But I wanted to say, "I'll pay you to do it."
I imagine you spent a lot of time in front of the computers, with the FX team getting scans of your body and such...
Yeah, the pre-production aspect of it was lengthy, and all of the body scans and motion capture and all the various technological processes.
Was it interesting at all, or was it pretty boring to go through?
No. I found it very interesting. I'm not a tech head, but the whole phenomena of what they do is cool and I got to be pretty close with [visual effects supervisor] Scott Stokdyk who I had actually met at The Academy Awards in 2005. Scott's a really sweet guy and he was so generous in sharing information and letting me know how they build the creatures, but a lot of it, like they like to say, is inspired by me because the three big sequences, the birth of Sandman – for my character, I don't want to seem self-aggrandizing – and then whenever he manifests himself out of the truck and then of course at the end of the movie.
What was it like coming back to direct 'Spider-Man' the third time around?
It was great working on the third one in many ways and it was difficult in many ways. The easiest thing was that the team was the same. Not just the producers who I became very familiar with, but I had the same production designer, the editor was the same, the animators were the same. They had learned how to move Spider-Man with great grace and they had learned from a lot of their mistakes. So it was definitely easier because of the shorthand of communication. But also, we had all learned a lot of lessons so we could make new mistakes, and we didn't have to repeat the same ones.
But, also working with the actors, that was the biggest advantage of the third picture because what we're always after in scenes is to try to find a moment that will reverberate with the audience. Like if someone is heartbroken, we want the audience to have felt that themselves and to get there we have to make it a real moment of truth. Something about it has to be real. However melodramatic the drama may be, there has to be truth in the actor's performance.