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

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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