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Feature: Spider-Man 2

Webbed Feat

Toby Maguire

Tobey Maguire finally reveals how his back almost stopped him swinging

“No trepidation,” Tobey Maguire says. “It was a pleasure for me.” That’s how the Spider-Man star responds when asked to comment on the prospect of making Spider-Man 2 and any trepidation he might have had heading into the webslinger’s latest adventure. After all, Spider-Man 2 follows on the heels of one of the biggest hits ever and on a film widely regarded as the best comic book-to-film translation yet produced by Hollywood. Plus, if all the scuttlebutt was true, Maguire nearly passed on the reprise due to back problems and/or money issues.

“None of my feelings had to do with the success of the first movie, in terms of making the second movie,” he explains. “That just had nothing to do with it. What it has to do with is that I really love working with [director] Sam Raimi. He is a lot of fun. He’s a funny guy. I just get along with him very well. His sense of humour and mine kind of work together. Also, he’s very collaborative and very open to me contributing my ideas, which I love and makes me feel like a greater part of the film-making process. I like working with all the other people on the show, too, like [co-stars] Kirsten [Dunst], James [Franco] and Rosemary [Harris] and [producers] Laura [Ziskin] and Avi [Arad]. [Director of photography] Bill Pope was great, and so was Bob [Murawski], the editor. I like everybody. It was a good show, and it feels like a family situation. There are not six of us or nine of us who all have the same tattoo or whatever, but I really like working with these people.”

Everyone, however, has heard about the back problems that nearly prompted Maguire to beg off. Maguire laughs before commenting on the matter. “How long do you want the answer to be?” he asks, playfully, turning a touch sarcastic before speaking in some detail. “This is what we’re really interested in, so this one can take up some time. First of all, this is a back condition I’ve had for three years or four years, on and off. Sometimes it doesn’t really bother me at all. Sometimes it bothers me a little. Sometimes it bothers me a lot. Coming off of Seabiscuit it was bugging me a lot, not because of Seabiscuit. I did not injure my back on Seabiscuit. That was a false report. But it was bugging me quite a bit. I saw the animatics and the storyboards of the stunts I was to do on this movie and I was a little concerned about it. I felt it was my responsibility to disclose my back discomfort to the studio, to the insurance company and to the film-makers, which I did. They were understandably concerned. Any of their actions that resulted in that report did not offend me or bother me in any way.

by John Reading

Get the full interview and much more on Spider-Man 2 in
Film Review Special #52

Photo © Columbia Pictures
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Film Review Special #52, see below for ordering options
Film Review Special #52
Spider-Man 2004
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