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Like it or not, by now most of us have come to accept the fact that they're rebooting the Spider-Man franchise a mere decade after it first launched under the direction of Sam Raimi. It's emblematic of everything that's wrong with the movie industry right now, but who knows - maybe Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield will knock it out of the park. But if things had played out differently, we could be watching a very different Amazing Spider-Man movie come July 3rd. Back when the director's chair was still empty, there were plenty of names rumored to fill it, one of them being David Fincher. His tangential involvement with the franchise stretches back even further, however, because he also turned down the opportunity to direct the original Spider-Man flick back in 1999.
Now an interview with io9 provides a few new insights into why Fincher passed on shepherding Peter Parker, and what his Spider-Man movie would have looked like.
My impression what Spider-Man could be is very different from what Sam [Raimi] did or what Sam wanted to do. I think the reason he directed that movie was because he wanted to do the Marvel comic superhero. I was never interested in the genesis story. I couldn't get past a guy getting bit by a red and blue spider. It was just a problem… It was not something that I felt I could do straight-faced. I wanted to start with Gwen Stacy and the Green Goblin, and I wanted to kill Gwen Stacy.
I don't know about you, but as much as I liked the first two Raimi Spider-Man movies, I would have loved to see Fincher's version. That last line is especially intriguing, portraying Parker as "the guy who's settled into being a freak." I would have liked to see a cinematic Spider-Man story that showed Parker well into his career as the web-slinger. We've seen people become super-heroes on screen plenty of times, but rarely do we get an exploration of what it's like 10 years later. How would the world have changed? How would Peter Parker have changed? (Interestingly enough, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises looks to examine many of those themes this summer.)
Fincher's approach would also have avoided the bane of many a comic-book adaptation: having to spend half your movie setting up the origin before you can get into the meat of the story. Comics these days typically solve the backstory problem by including a brief "what you need to know" paragraph at the beginning of each issue. Why can't we get a cinematic equivalent?