Director also talks World Of Warcraft and Joss Whedon
Sam Raimi, currently on the publicity treadmill for Oz: The Great and the Powerful, has been talking candidly about his plans for the Spider-Man 4 that never happened, why he left the World Of Warcraft project, and his admiration for the Avengers Assemble writer and director Joss Whedon.
He is as wonderfully forthright as ever.
After two hugely successful Spider-Man films, the third was a disappointment. Rumours were that the studio foisted the character of Venom on Raimi, unbalancing a film that also featured villains Sandman and Green Goblin. Raimi had this to say about his plans to undo the damage to the 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."
"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.”
Raimi had also been linked with a film adaptation of the RPG World Of Warcraft, but that too was a project he left, before Moon director Duncan Jones took over. Here he explains why:
"First, they asked me if I wanted to make it, and I said, “Yes, I love World of Warcraft, and I think it would make a great picture.” So I read a screenplay they had that was written by the guys at [Warcraft developer] Blizzard, and it didn’t quite work for me. I told them I wanted to make my own original story with Robert [Rodat- writer], so we pitched it to Legendary and they accepted it, and then we pitched it to Blizzard, and they had reservations, but they accepted it."
"Then Robert wrote the screenplay, and only once he was done did we realize that Blizzard had veto power, and we didn’t know that. And they had never quite approved the original story we pitched them. Those reservations were their way of saying, “We don’t approve this story, and we want to go a different way,” so after we had spent nine months working on this thing, we basically had to start over."
"Robert did start over, but it was taking too long for the people at Blizzard, and their patience ran out. Honestly, I think it was mismanagement on their behalf, not to explain to us that the first story was vetoed long ago. Why did they let us keep working on it? Were they afraid to tell me?"
However, he was far more positive when talking about Joss Whedon, someone he first met almost 20 years ago:
“Joss Whedon is an extraordinarily talented filmmaker … and in fact, 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.'"
"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! But 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.”
Oz: The Great and the Powerful is released 8th March