Image: Insomniac Games

Despite all of the accolades and awards he’s won over the decades with blockbusters such as Terminator 2 and Avatar, director James Cameron seems to have gained at least one major regret over the course of his film-making career: not being able to bring his vision of a live-action Spider-Man to life.

In his new book, Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron, the iconic director discussed his struggles with developing a Spider-Man film and the fascination that he still has with the superhero, going so far as to call the fabled project “the greatest film I never made.”

“I think it would’ve been very different,” Cameron told ScreenCrush’s Matt Singer in an interview, noting that he had worked on his treatment with “Stan Lee’s blessing” and advice. “I didn’t make a move without asking him permission.”

“The first thing you’ve got to get your mind around is it’s not Spider-Man,” Cameron said, suggesting that his adaptation might have centered around a rookie, naive version of the character. “He goes by Spider-Man, but he’s not Spider-Man. He’s Spider-Kid. He’s Spider-High-School-Kid. He’s kind of geeky and nobody notices him and he’s socially unpopular and all that stuff.”

Cameron goes on to describe Spider-man as “a great metaphor,” whose superpowers represent “that untapped reservoir of potential that people have that they don’t recognize in themselves. And it was also in my mind a metaphor for puberty and all the changes to your body, your anxieties about society, about society’s expectations, your relationships with your gender of choice that you’re attracted to, all those things.”

James Cameron’s Spider-Man ultimately never saw the light of day due to the bankruptcy of Cannon Films (the original rights holder) and the lack of interest from other parties such as Fox, but some of his ideas ended up living on in Sam Raimi’s trilogy. One of the biggest was the idea of giving Spider-Man organic web shooters, unlike the comic book version, who leveraged mechanical devices.

“I wanted to make something that had a kind of gritty reality to it,” he noted. “Superheroes in general always came off as kind of fanciful to me, and I wanted to do something that would have been more in the vein of Terminator and Aliens, that you buy into the reality right away. So you’re in a real world, you’re not in some mythical Gotham City. Or Superman and the Daily Planet and all that sort of thing, where it always felt very kind of metaphorical and fairytale-like. I wanted it to be: It’s New York. It’s now. A guy gets bitten by a spider. He turns into this kid with these powers and he has this fantasy of being Spider-Man, and he makes this suit and it’s terrible, and then he has to improve the suit, and his big problem is the damn suit. Things like that. I wanted to ground it in reality and ground it in universal human experience. I think it would have been a fun film to make.”

Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron will be available for purchase beginning on December 14.

Source: ScreenCrush

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1 Comment

  1. Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, I do like some of his films. The Abyss, T2, Aliens, Avatar(aka Dances with Wolves in space) to name a few but I’m unsure if his style would lend itself favorably to a Spider-Man movie. I do remember hearing about it back in the day and always thought it was rumor or some half-baked comment from somewhere that became something more.

    Even though I’m experiencing some fatigue with the overflow of comic movies I am however happy with some of the fresh blood that’s come in with making them and at this point having veteran directors at the helm seems like a bad idea anymore. The one’s who’ve gained fame for a few things and then got a project is one thing but the others who’ve majorly developed their styles isn’t always going to be a good mix and his was already there at the time these stories started to circulate.

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