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THE MOVIE: Spider-Man

Tobey Maguire • Willem Dafoe • Kirsten Dunst

Released in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the first Spider-Man comic, the movie recreates the story of student Peter Parker (Maguire). Once bitten by a genetically altered spider, he gains spider-like abilities and superhuman strength, which he uses to fight crime and combat his nemesis, the Green Goblin (Dafoe).

U.S. RELEASE: May 3, 2002 Nationwide • Rated: PG-13


"I loved Spider-Man comics so much. I never expected to get this job. You know when someone says, 'It's a dream job.' I didn't even dare to have the dream."

Tobey McGuire contemplates being Spider-ManTOBEY MAGUIRE:
"I think this is probably my most challenging role, because there's the aspect of how do I communicate and keep the audience with this character while he's masked and you can't see his expressions? I had to communicate through body language and some dialogue, and set it up in a way where they feel strongly enough and are invested enough that they follow him through this journey."

"In approaching my character, I think I concentrated first on Norman Osborn. That was the only way to approach it, because the Green Goblin grows out of Norman and is really an aspect of him. He's one part of Norman that has been left unchecked - the dark side."

Kirsten Dunst as Mary-Jane WatsonKIRSTEN DUNST (Mary-Jane):
"Spider-Man is the most relatable superhero, because he's got more humanistic qualities than any other superhero - he's a really normal guy, and I think that's what makes him so special; he's charming and a little dorky."

"I decided to keep the shots of the Twin Towers in the movie - the only shot I removed was a scene where a helicopter was strung between them; I wanted that one out because I didn't want any moment with the Twin Towers to be used as a victorious moment for Spider-Man. But I wanted to preserve the memory of them in the background of all the other shots: I didn't want to have the terrorists win and erase them from our lives."

"I worked out for five months, six days a week, anywhere from an hour and a half to four hours a day, to prepare for the role. I did a combination of gymnastics, martial arts, yoga, weightlifting, high-end cardio stuff like cycling and running and I had a very specific diet I was on. I can't even tell in the film when it's me and it's not me."

WILLEM DAFOE on doing almost all his own stunts:
"I really felt it was necessary to do all the physical stuff. The only stuff I wouldn't do was the stunts that were too dangerous, that they basically wouldn't let me do. Because I was working with a mask, the physicality was so important, and I didn't want anyone else doing my role. No matter how good these stunt guys are, they're stunt guys and not actors."

KIRSTEN DUNST on her stunts:
"I was flying and dropping - I definitely got put through a lot of stuff. When you watch the movie, you'll think I'm complaining about nothing. But we spent a month on the bridge scene at the end of the film. I did so many different ways of falling, but when they cut it all together it was like a split second. You don't really know how much hard work goes into a movie like this."

"The costume was comfortable, but I went through a long process of body casts, computer scans and twenty-something fittings. Sometimes they would have to sew me into it because the zippers would break all the time. If I had to use the restroom, it would be a little bit of a process."

"There are places for us to go and grow in the next movie, because the story is about these human beings and their relationships."

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official site for Spider-Man
Images above © 2002 Columbia Pictures.
Feature © 2002 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Starburst, May 2002 cover

For reviews and features about all kinds of sci-fi and fantastic film & tv, read Starburst and Xposé regularly

Xposť #68, June 2002 - published May 16
Xposé #68, published May 16

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