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by JoBlo

I walked by Sam Raimi several minutes before he even got up on the stage and barely noticed the dude. And it's not because I didn't know what he looked like (because I did), it's just that he's a very timid looking sort of guy, not very flamboyant, the type of person whom you would never guess is directing one of the biggest movies to come out in the past decade: SPIDER-MAN.

Raimi is also a pretty funny guy. Funny in the vaudevillian sense. He loves THE THREE STOOGES and it's obvious from his playful nature. One of the first things that this guy did after getting up on stage following a tremendous round of applause is put his tie into his glasses and pretend like the lights went out on him "I can't see…did someone turn the lights out over here" <see pic below> Of course, I'm sitting there smiling and thinking "This guy is directing SPIDER-MAN!?". Hehehe.

But anyone who has followed Raimi's career from the start with films like EVIL DEAD, up until his latest stuff like THE GIFT, knows that he does take his job of directing very seriously, and is definitely one of the greater craftsmen when it comes to camera work in Hollywood. In my opinion, there could definitely not have been too many better choices to direct the webslinger's feature film than this man, who loves SPIDER-MAN just as much (if not more), than most of is put together. And here's what went down:

Is the movie finished?
The film still has about two weeks of filming to go, but about 90% of it is already in the can. In fact, they are editing the film right now and will be showing the first official "cut" of the film to Sony this week.

How much leeway did Sony give Raimi in terms of the film's length?
"They say jump and I say, what color?" Actually, Sony has been pretty hands-off about the whole thing up until now. Editing might be another story though.

How long will the movie be?
I expect the film to clock in at a little under 2 hours. Maybe 110 minutes or so.

Is this film based on the treatment written by James Cameron (read here)?
Well, the script definitely started with that, but then David Koepp turned it into a full-blown screenplay and then Sargent got in there as well. We also had Scott Rosenberg write some stuff, but didn't use it.

How did you finance EVIL DEAD and what kind of influence have the Coen brothers been on you?
First of all, the Coen brothers are great friends of mine, we'd lived together for years when we first all came out here, and I love their work. I don't know exactly what kind of influence they've had on me, but I'm sure it's been quite a bit. In regards to EVIL DEAD, I basically just wrote the screenplay in 1978 and made a super-8 thirty minute version of the movie called WITHIN THE WOODS, to show around to possible investors. Many of them liked it and invested in our feature. In fact, I would still recommend you to do this type of thing if you are an independent filmmaker nowadays.

What plot details can you tell us about Spider-Man, the movie?
Well, it's basically just the beginning of the whole SPIDER-MAN story. The origin of Spider-Man and Peter Parker, his relationships with his uncle and aunt, the beginning of his affection for Mary Jane, etc…

Is Bruce Campbell in the movie? (lots of applause from the audience)
Yes, Bruce has a cameo role in the movie as an announcer and I would definitely love to do another movie with him as well.

Will we be seeing your kinetic shooting style in this movie?
No. This time around, I wanted to be at the service of Spider-Man. I didn't want to make it a stylistic show, so that I wouldn't be a part of it. I wanted the character to be the main focus and not my style. There are some moments however, like when he's gliding from building to building, that I could definitely utilize some of my style to reinforce the character's actions. But it's definitely not gonna be like my previous pictures, it's just gonna be SPIDER-MAN!

Where is Peter Parker at the beginning of the film?
He's in high school, not married, friends with Osborne but not talking directly with Mary Jane just yet.

Why did you choose Tobey Maguire for the part of Spider-Man?
Out of all the people that I saw, I just thought that he had the true, good soul, more than anything.

Will your brother Ted Raimi make an appearance in the movie?
Yes, my mother made me give him a part (crowd laughs).

We were shown a 5-minute finished clip from the SPIDER-MAN movie

Once the panel was over, Sam said that he was going to give us the first peek at the SPIDER-MAN movie. The scene basically featured the introduction of Peter Parker to the gene-manipulated spider that bit him. I believe that it started with a shot outside of Columbia University (I may be "off" on this fact). The next shot is a group of students being led around a laboratory by a teacher who is explaining the whole gene-testing process to them. Tobey Maguire, as the young Peter Parker, is seen walking around timidly with his camera in hand. He looks over at the very lovely Kirsten Dunst (aka Mary Jane Watson in the film) every now and then, but obviously doesn't know how to approach her (he's shy, you see).

He explains some of the stuff to a fellow student friend of his, and shows off his nerdiness. That guy then tells Peter to go up to Mary Jane and talk to her, but he just doesn't have the guts to follow through. So the same dude goes over to her and starts spouting out the same things that Peter had just been telling him about the lab and such. Peter hears this and is let down, once again. In the meantime, one of the lab supervisors remarks on how one of the spiders seems to be missing.

Some other students are acting like morons and are told to quiet down by their supervisor. But as the rest of the group moves on to the next exhibit, Peter actually works up the guts to move up to Kirsten Dunst and ask her to pose for him in front of a glass casing full of spiders. He tells her that he needs to have a student in the shot for the newspaper and she giddily agrees. Peter then snaps a few shots off and they are actually pretty funny, as Mary Jane pretends to be a model and such. It is at this point that we see a small spider with blue and red on his back working his way down a string of web and all the way to Peter's neck. "Owww", says Peter as he seems to have been bitten by the insect. Nobody else sees this and Peter doesn't really seem to know what happened either, so he moves on. The camera then pans into a computer screen which says something like "metamorphis complete". Yup, it looks like the beginning of Spider-Man, folks!

All in all, I was pretty impressed by the clip and liked the way that both Kirsten and Tobey played their characters. They felt real and so did the entire scene and its surroundings. I also liked the spider that came crawling off the ceiling. Very cool stuff…can't wait for the movie!

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Another year, another San Diego Comic Con for the Arrow and I. Okay, so this year's event wasn't as exciting or interesting to us as the one presented last year (see our entire coverage of that event here), but I guess we did still have quite a few things to check out, as presented below:

The Spider-Man/ Sam Raimi panel:
Sam discusses the "Spider-Man" movie that he is currently directing, answers some questions and gives us all a sneak 5-minute preview scene from the movie in question...

The Kevin Smith panel:
Kevin discusses everything in his View Askew universe, talks about his upcoming movie "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back", his future and even shows us some behind-the-scenes outtakes and more...

The John Carpenter panel:
Legendary director John Carpenter comes to the Con to discuss his latest horror flick "Ghost of Mars", answers some questions and gets dissed in the process...

The Planet of the Apes Q&A with Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa:
Cary discusses Tim Burton's project and answers questions...

The Joss Whedon panel:
The man behind "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" discusses everything and the kitchen sink in here...

Glen Morgan/James Wong present "The One":
The men behind last year's surprise hit "Final Destination" discuss their upcoming sci-fi/thriller starring Jet Li and more...

The Mick Garris panel:
Director Mick Garris discusses all of his films including his TV version of "The Shining", "The Stand" and his upcoming Stephen King movie "The Talisman"...

Interview with David Naughton:
You might not remember the name, but you will definitely remember his part as the guy who turned into the werewolf in John Landis' classic film "American Werewolf in London". The Arrow interviews him here...

Misc. stuff:
JoBlo reviews "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" and the "Movie Webmaster panel" while The Arrow reviews "Elvira's Haunted Hills" and the "Jason X" trailer...

The official / 2001 San Diego Con Photo Gallery:
Pictures from our trip to California for anyone who gives a shit...

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