‘Fight Club’ Director Refused to Direct ‘Spider-Man’ For One Big Reason

in Marvel, Movies

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Credit: ITM

Spider-Man has been a pop culture icon for over 60 years as the character became the champion for Marvel Comics, the superhero film genre, and was co-creator Stan Lee’s saving grace. The web-slinging do-gooder captivated fans not only due to his unique superpowers or fantastic suit but because he had a relatable “everyman” backstory. He was not a billionaire playboy, a god of thunder, or a super soldier. He was just a gifted yet socially clumsy kid from Queens who did his best to survive the tribulations of life within the bustling city of New York.

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Credit: Marvel Comics

Marvel was not always the entertainment powerhouse it is currently. The juggernaut of comic book publishing at one point had to file for bankruptcy in 1996. This forced the company to sell the film rights to almost six decades’ worth of their most iconic characters to whichever studio would buy them to stay afloat. While popular characters like X-Men and the Fantastic Four notably went to 20th Century Studios, the most significant victory was when Sony Pictures acquired Marvel’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in 'Spider-Man 2'
Credit: Sony Pictures

Sony helped usher in the ‘Era of the Superhero Blockbuster’ with Sam Raimi’s astronomically successful Spider-Man trilogy (2002 – 2007). This first live-action cinematic adaptation of the Web-Slinger went onto gross $2.5 billion worldwide. The beloved Web-Head has since gone on to be reinvented multiple times, but that first iteration was a special global phenomenon. While it cemented Sam Raimi’s legacy as a top-tier filmmaker, he was not the first choice for Sony as the renowned director David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en, The Social Network) has revealed his vision for the hero.

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Credit: ITM

David Fincher expressed that he was an avid comic book reader as a child. Yet, his love for cinema had him reading “American Cinematographer” by 10-years-old. Plus, he lamented that by the time the Comic Book Renaissance began with rising stars like Alan Moore (“Watchmen”) and Frank Miller (“300,” “The Dark Knight Returns”) in the 80s, he had already moved to Los Angeles and loss track of that world. However, his love for the medium never faded, so when he had an opportunity to pitch a Spider-Man movie, he decided to make his pitch back in 1999.

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Credit: ITM

The celebrated autuer divulged that he told executives he wanted to skip the origin story altogether. Fincher felt focusing on an older, more troubled Peter Parker was a better story. He chuckled upon reflection as he disclosed, “They weren’t f*****g interested.” Fincher continued, “They were like: Why would you want to eviscerate the origin story?” The filmmaker responded, “Cause it’s dumb?”

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Credit: ITM

While he wanted to make a superhero movie, Fincher had no desire to rehash the common origin storyline. He articulated, “That origin story means a lot of things to a lot of people, but I looked at it and was like, ‘A red and blue spider?’ There’s a lot things I can do in my life and that’s just not one of them.” Fincher was not surprised when the film ultimately went to Sam Raimi.

Peter Parker being bitten by the radioactive spider in Spider-Man
Credit: Sony Pictures

Despite their rejection, Fincher understood their decision. His darker take on movies may not have been the perfect fit for the famous Web-slinger. Although no one could have imagined that a darker Peter would later involve an “emo” haircut and awkward hip thrusts.

Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man
Credit: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures

The experience clearly did not inhibit his career as Fincher went on to direct hit films like Panic Room (2002), Zodiac (2007) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Gone Girl (2014) and recently The Killer with Marvel star, Michael Fassbender.

What do you think of David Fincher’s Spider-Man pitch? Should there be a Spider-Man film depicting an older, more grizzled Peter Parker? 

in Marvel, Movies

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