The ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy director on the new DVD, the ‘Spider-Man 4’ rumors and who might replace him
By Rickey Purdin
Try spending eight years filming the story of a nerdy superhero and see if you don’t go crazy. Luckily, director Sam Raimi stayed sane (mostly) as he poured his heart into the Spider-Man saga. With the “Spider-Man 3” DVD in stores, Raimi sat down to talk about the strain of watching his own movies and discussed what he’d prefer to see in a fourth arachnid adventure.
WIZARD: Now that you’ve made your third “Spider-Man” DVD, does anything still surprise you about the process of going back to a film?
RAIMI: It’s interesting to go back through all the behind-the-scenes footage reels because it gives you insight into things that you didn’t know were going on when you were directing the picture. It’s like reliving your life from someone else’s point of view.
Are there extras you don’t like showing on DVDs?
RAIMI: I don’t usually incorporate deleted scenes because I figure I just want the movie to be what it is and nothing more. Those [editing] choices are made and I don’t want to open up the process too much and show old, bad ideas that didn’t work.
Do you generally like sitting back and watching your old movies, or is it uncomfortable for you?
RAIMI: No, I don’t really. It’s all very empty for me unless there’s an audience. The story is like an empty shell when you watch it alone. It’s like a dried leaf versus when you have an audience. It then becomes an acorn that grows. You can watch it grow and come to life when there’s people interacting with it and watching it, being moved by it or being frightened or feeling suspense or a connection to the character. So it can either be a very depressing, dead experience for me, or a magnificent one.
And you’re not a big fan of deleted scenes, right?
RAIMI: I just want the movie to be what it is and nothing more. Those choices are made and I don’t want to open up the process too much and show old, bad ideas that didn’t work. I don’t even go there.
Was it bittersweet to hang out again with the main cast to do the commentary?
RAIMI: It is a bittersweet experience. We didn’t celebrate. We never really celebrated because things don’t have a finite ending in the movie business. It’s not as finite as a graduation moment where you can throw up your hat.
Looking back, you’ve worked on Spider-Man in some way for nearly eight years. Has the excitement stayed with you?
RAIMI: I’m just as excited about the character, and so in that sense, yes. Although the physical energy level between how I felt before I started shooting versus what was left of me on the last day of photography, I was so exhausted at the end of “Spider-Man 3” I can’t tell you. My love for the characters and my passion for the stories are the same, but I was just a shell of the person that I was after all of those movies.
If you had to take a break and pick a director to replace you on the franchise, is there anyone at the top of your list?
RAIMI: Because I love Spider-Man I would just say—I don’t want to pick someone. I don’t know if I’ll be directing the picture or not, but I’d like to say that it would be somebody that was the best gift I could give to Spider-Man—someone who understands him and loves him and could bring his passion and love to the character. A character director probably; no one else.
Now, be honest, because some people fear picking up DVDs when they first come out because a special edition DVD is only four or five months down the line. Will this be the definitive DVD?
RAIMI: I can’t honestly say what is going to be offered down the line, but this is the transfer that I supervised and it’s got the highest-quality transfer of any of the “Spider-Man” movies. This is the definitive movie transfer. I won’t be back to supervise another “Spider-Man 3.”
Special thanks to Spider-Man Hype! for the heads up, and Rickey Purdin from Wizard Entertainment for the interview.