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How Spider-Man’s Sam Raimi Helped Kirsten Dunst Prepare For Her Iconic Upside-Down Kiss Scene With Tobey Maguire

Spider-Man and MJ kissing in the rain after saving her from some thugs
(Image credit: Sony)

Onscreen kisses are a dime a dozen, but the memorable ones leave an impression that audiences continue to reference. One of those kisses was the upside-down kiss between Spider-Man stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. That was all part of Sam Raimi’s genius. For many moviegoers, the intimate moment seemed physically challenging for the actors, but it was more challenging to shoot the scene. The Spider-Man director opened up about how he helped Dunst prepare for the iconic scene with Maguire.

The Power of the Dog actress had to kiss her co-star (who was upside down) while soaking wet in the rain. While the moment seemed nonsensical at the time, it created cinematic magic that OG Spider-Man fans still talk about to this day. But to capture that magic, Sam Raimi recalled giving the Oscar nominee a scrapbook of famous movie kisses to inspire her. The filmmaker spoke with Rolling Stone about how creating the book of kisses made an impact on the final version of the scene.

Oh, I just wanted to let her know that this was a very special moment for the movie, and I wanted to communicate it in some way that some moments can be remembered for a long, long time if they’re done right. I just wanted to gear her up, to let her know that she’s going to be great in this, and that I wanted some of her Kirsten Dunst magic in that moment. And I think, once we had that meeting, she turned her head around to it and put on her performance magic, which Tobey did, too. They really made something special.

As seen in the final kiss scene, Raimi’s direction worked. Kirsten Dunst gave the lip lock her all as she and Tobey Maguire had to create a heated moment from varying angles. Their commitment worked and set the tone for Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s relationship. So here's the next question: what films were in that scrapbook did the director use to inspire the Bring It On alum? The possibilities are endless.

To say the co-stars made something special is an understatement. As Sam Raimi mentioned, it was the magic between cult classic’s leading stars that sold viewers on their chemistry, but it was also his vision that helped create the magical moment. So the cinematic kiss was a collaboration that paid off in the end.

All this talk about the original Spider-Man films is nothing new for the Ash Evil Dead creator. Fans have been wanting him and his two former leading stars to reunite to finally make the ill-fated Spider-Man 4. Raimi has been open to re-teaming with Tobey Maguire (following his appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home) in a new film, even if it isn’t Spidey-related. The comments eventually led to Sony cheekily responding to OG Spider-Man fans’ sequel inquiries. Some fans are speculating the actor and director could reunite for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. If they do reunite, Kirsten Dunst is willing to reprise her role as MJ as she joked about joining the MCU for financial reasons after not appearing in No Way Home.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the trio might reunite at some point, whther it's Spidey-related or not. But before that becomes a reality, audiences will get to catch Raimi’s Marvel return in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which hits theaters on May 6. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst aren’t slouching either, as they have upcoming movies set to arrive in 2022. You can relive the original Spider-Man trilogy by renting or buying the movies on Amazon.

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).