SXSW: Marc Webb Was Shocked to Be Hired to Direct Spider-Man Franchise

Marc Webb
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

AUSTIN — When Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, pitched director Marc Webb on the idea of resurrecting the Spider-Man franchise, he told the SXSW audience and moderator Logan Hill that “I thought it was crazy,” he joked Saturday.

But Webb said Pascal responded to his hesitations by saying, “Honey, you can’t turn down Spider-Man.”

The 39-year-old music video director accepted, and has since been tasked with directing all three films in the trilogy.

For the Spider-Man sequel, which the studio says was made for $200 million, Webb openly admitted that he was looking to up the spectacle.

“The first film I wanted things to be grounded, that was my mantra,” Webb said, but he also admitted that he was “too reserved” on the computer-generated effects. “I’m not beholden to smallness, I wanted to make it fantastic and big.”

Prior to shooting the sequel, Webb created an abstract album of sounds for his vision largely grounded in the soundtrack for the 1977 Italian film, “Suspiria,” and collaborated with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Hans Zimmer and Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger. Together they created a sound profile for many of the characters, including primary villain Electro, played by Jamie Foxx.

The first “Spider-Man” marked Webb’s entrée into tentpole filmmaking. Previously, Webb was known for the cult classic “500 Days of Summer,” made for $7.5 million, and for directing music videos for the likes of Green Day and Fergie.

“What’s the worst that could happen? Sony collapses and everyone loses their jobs,” Webb asked the audience. “I knew that wasn’t going to happen.”

In fact much of Hollywood agrees that Spider-Man, currently Sony’s highest grossing franchise (the James Bond films are co-produced with MGM), is also it’s strongest product.

He also kept emphasizing the importance of Peter Parker, the man’s, emotional journey and not just Spider-Man, the superhero.

But what he really wants to do next doesn’t have anything to do with comic books or villains. Webb’s looking to do a musical.

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  1. Normandy says:

    the first ASM was pretty awful-miscast and bad efefcts (teh lizard looke dlike The Mummy form 15 years ago!) lets hope teh new one is better!

  2. A55H013 DR1V3R says:

    It’s = it is, so the sentence reads: “Spider-Man… is also it is strongest product.”

  3. What happened with the copyediting on this story, Variety? There shouldn’t be an apostrophe in “Spider-Man… is also it’s strongest product.”

  4. Michael Mah'moud says:

    I’m glad he didn’t follow his first instinct. The first Amazing Spider-Man may have had some flaws but it was a wholly good film that developed and set up each characters and ideas way better than the Raimi films did with some theirs(Peter included) imo even though the Raimi films did some good things with the Spider-Man stories

    a reboot made the most sense, The Oscorp conspiracy angle and the buildup of the Sinister Six gives the series a focus, something Sam Raimi’s films were lacking although the film did some things right. The Peter/MJ/Harry relationship was the only thing connecting all three films, otherwise the series wasn’t exactly leading anywhere.The fact that Raimi killed off all Spider-man’s arch nemesis(two of the five villains being important Sinister Six villains and made them more sympathetic villains who became good at the end and one died at the end of the move)and Harry/one of the most important characters in the trilogy over the course of three films didn’t help either.It felt like they weren’t thinking in the long-term, so a reboot was necessary. I think maybe they could have pulled out one more film, but I don’t know how good it would have been based on hearing things like Felicia Hardy being a female Vulture.

  5. therealeverton says:

    “Resurrecting Spider-Man “? It wasn’t “dead”. Despite them forcing Venom into the story to make more money on Merchandising…people still loved that series of films (Not everyone of course) and the third film was the highest grossing of them all. Leaving Rami to do his thing,, as opposed to the interference on 3, was what they needled, not a new set of films.

    • Michael Mah'moud says:

      Actually a reboot made the most sense, The Oscorp angle/conspiracy gives the series a focus, something Sam Raimi’s films were lacking. The Peter/MJ/Harry relationship was the only thing connecting all three films, otherwise the series wasn’t exactly leading anywhere.The fact that Raimi killed off all Spider-man’s arch nemesis and Harry over the course of three films didn’t help either.It felt like they weren’t thinking in the long-term, so a reboot was necessary. I think maybe they could have pulled out one more film, but I don’t know how good it would have been based on hearing things like Felicia Hardy being a female Vulture.

  6. I think he should have stuck with his first instinct.

  7. Chelsea says:

    Webb is right , looks like agree to disagree.

  8. cadavra says:

    I think he meant it was stupid to reboot the franchise, rather than just doing Spider-Man 4 with new actors.

  9. pavlov65 says:

    And you what? You was right, unfortunately.

  10. Steve says:

    The Amazing Spider-man was bad. Just a terrible script that felt like a cartoon for children.

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