It’s been a long time since Spider-Man 4 fell apart, and Sam Raimi is still upset about it. But he’s finally ready to talk about it.
The director tells Vulture he was a bit exhausted with the “tremendous amount of delegation” needed to make “gigantic” movies like the Spider-Man films. However, it ultimately came down to an inability to get together a suitable story that led him to pass on a fourth installment of the blockbuster franchise. “It really was the most amicable and undramatic of breakups: It was simply that we had a deadline and I couldn’t get the story to work on a level that I wanted it to work,” he said of his split with Sony Pictures. “I was very unhappy with Spider-Man 3, and I wanted to make Spider-Man 4 to end on a very high note, the best Spider-Man of them all. But I couldn’t get the script together in time, due to my own failings, and I said to Sony, ‘I don’t want to make a movie that is less than great, so I think we shouldn’t make this picture. Go ahead with your reboot, which you’ve been planning anyway.’” He continued, “[Sony co-chairman] Amy Pascal said, “Thank you. Thank you for not wasting the studio’s money, and I appreciate your candor.” So we left on the best of terms, both of us trying to do the best thing for fans, the good name of Spider-Man, and Sony Studios.” Raimi still hasn’t seen Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man or Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, but he did say he has nothing but love for both projects. In fact, he had originally looked at Anne Hathaway to play Felicia Hardy, character Webb is rumored to be incorporating into The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and an actress that Nolan used in The Dark Knight Rises. “I’m not surprised [Hathaway did great in TDKR], because I loved what she was doing with the auditions for Spider-Man 4,” Raimi said. One movie he has seen is Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, and he “loved it.” It turns out that he has a bit of a history with Joss Whedon, who Raimi finds an “extraordinarily talented filmmaker.” “In 1994, I was making a western called The Quick and the Dead and having a script problem, and I came to the studio and said, ‘Can you find me a writer? I’ve shot this movie, and the end isn’t quite working,’” Raimi recalled. “Ultimately, the movie didn’t quite work. But they suggested Joss Whedon, who was doing Buffy, so I met Joss and he saw the movie, and he helped me solve this ending in one afternoon. I thought, ‘Damn, you’re a good writer! I wish I could have had you rewrite the whole movie and save this picture!’” He continued, “I’ll never forget how good he was, and how precise, so when I saw The Avengers, I was not surprised that his name was on it. It’s a very hard job to take all those heroes and all those stories and know exactly what bits the audience needs and what they don’t need.”