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James Cameron’s Spider-Man. It’s a big What If..?, up there with Kubrick’s Napoleon and Jodorowsky’s Dune. It seems like the perfect match, pairing one of Hollywood’s best action directors with one of its most action-suited characters. Just imagine what Cameron would have done with all of Spider-Man’s acrobatic flips and kicks.
Well, as most know, it almost happened. Supposedly, Cameron was setting up an adaptation after the release of True Lies, but due to legal circumstances surrounding the screen rights, he bailed. The director had convinced Carolco, the independent studio who gave him $100 million for Terminator 2: Judgement Day based on a half-page memo, to buy the film rights. He was all set to go. Then, it turns out Sony was also involved and Carolco didn’t outright own the character. Cameron then went to Fox hoping to outmuscle Sony, but Fox turned the project down, eventually allowing Sony to make the Sam Raimi trilogy, the two Amazing Spider-Man films and the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming. Cameron moved on, deciding to fund his deep-sea exploration obsession by making Titanic and raking in that dollar.
It’ll always be debated as to what Cameron would have done with Spider-Man. Fortunately, for us, and me considering I get to write about it, multiple scripts are on the internet. This article will be discussing the scriptment featuring Mary Jane Watson, Electro and Sandman, which is dated 1992. Whilst there is a full script featuring Doc Ock, concept art has been found online for the former. It seems that was the one that got further into production.
You can’t really gauge the success of a film or a directors vision by reading a scriptment. It is by definition vague, lacking dialogue, any detailed drama, and detailed characters. But, you can still see some of Cameron’s vision, and for better or worse, this would have been James Cameron’s Spider-Man. It would have been an adaptation, and some of the legendary directors ideas would have been controversial.
Here are five takeaways from the scriptment.
(1) Organic Web-Shooters
As Sam Raimi discovered, organic webshooters weren’t necessarily a popular thing. The Raimi trilogy doesn’t linger on how the impact the web-shooters would have on Peter, and its only in the second one the filmmakers make this mythology change part of the narrative. Cameron’s organic web-shooters are integrated into the story immediately. Peter develops two lumps on his wrists, and they are mark him out as being a “freak”. So, he hides them, wearing two bracelets so New Yorkers believe they’re mechanical. It’s clever writing, as Cameron reinterprets and acknowledges pre-existing mythology.
Cameron makes major changes to Electro. Instead of being Max Dillon, Electro is Carlton Strand, a mob boss who uses his powers to control information and data. It’s an interesting deviation from the source material and very suitable for the early information age, before we all knew we could use electrical information to communicate and manage our money. It’s a smart move, and is more interesting than the version that appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
One of the major flaws of this scriptment is how Cameron under utilises Spider-Man’s supporting characters. Uncle Ben does his thing and dies, but Aunt May is barely in it and Mary Jane is reduced to an almost literal sex object, having an awkward bondage sex scene on top of the Brooklyn Bridge. Seriously, this is one of the more dialogue heavy scenes and Peter talks about how spiders have sex whilst webbing Mj up. It’s made even weirder by the fact Cameron makes it clear Peter is a virgin up to this point, and that Mj doesn’t even know who she is having sex with. You know the scene in True Lies where Arnie makes Jamie Lee Curtis strip for him and she has no idea it is her husband or who she is actually stripping for? It’s as awkward and has as muddled sexual politics as that, but it’s worse because it’s Spider-Man.
(5) Peter Parker / Spider-Man
One of Cameron’s themes is puberty, and he explores the theme using Peter and his powers. It’s a well-known interpretation of the Spider-Man origin and whilst Cameron goes a bit far with the idea with one scene depicting Peter waking up with “white mass completely covering him, gluing him to his bedding”, it is actually his depiction of Peter that makes it all a bit too much. He turns Peter into a sex pest, has him spying on an undressing Mary Jane after he gets his powers. In some scenes, he makes the guys in Superbad look normal. Whilst it speaks to the themes of puberty and power, it turns the hero into a unlikeable creep. There’s nothing wrong with some raunch and unlikeable protagonists, but it just doesn’t come across as an authentic Spider-Man.
Still, Cameron explores his themes well. Beyond the aforementioned puberty theme, he explores power and how easy it is to abuse it by taking his characters to the line only the villains can cross. Peter at one point becomes a Robin Hood type, stealing money from a drug gang and literally making it rain on a local neighbourhood. But, the story is strongest when discussing identity. Spider-Man’s secret identity has always been important to him, and Cameron amps this up. Spider-Man wears a mask to protect Peter and the people he loves. But, he’s not the only one wearing a mask. Mary Jane’s mask is that she is the popular girl and that is trying to be the popular. In reality, she is a goofy nerd like Peter, and watching her come to terms with this is incredibly gripping.
In the end, it’s hard to imagine what Cameron’s Spider-Man would have been like. The scriptment is the bare bones of the story and there is sparse concept art, and even if the film ended up being a bad Spider-Man movie, I have no doubt Cameron would have made it his own.
Henry Bevan »
- Henry Bevan
Tom Jolliffe on modern sci-fi, the technology around the corner and how it may destroy us…
As far as Science Fiction goes, the film and TV shows that audiences have watched over the years have often featured some sense of foreboding. What happens if… This could be James Cameron’s Terminator which shows a world in which human beings keep on pushing the limits of technology to achieve military dominance, only for those machines to become self-aware and enslave humanity. It’s our ever-growing greed and quest for perfection that ultimately pushes us further away from our own humanity. As technology develops, everything becomes easier, but at what price?
Like Cameron’s vision, plenty of science fiction films and TV shows warn us of the dangers of crossing human ambition with technology. As far as human technological development is concerned though, there have been huge strides forward since the turn of the century. »
- Amie Cranswick
This week marks the 30th anniversary of the cinematic release of Predator. Set deep in the jungle, Arnold Schwarzenegger and a band of merry muscle men found themselves stalked by an alien warrior out on a hunting trip. Check out our Predator movie facts below.
Predator movie facts! 30 things you didn’t know about the classic action movie
It’s hard to believe that it was so long ago that we first saw Arnie go toe-to-toe with an invisible alien. It’s easily one of the films that Schwarzenegger is best known for, and even today it’s a spectacular sci-fi, action horror. It’s such a strong film that it’s still inspiring further explorations into the franchise, director Shane Black (who starred in Predator) is currently hard at work on The Predator.
As turning thirty is a very important landmark we thought it only fitting to round up »
- Kat Hughes
He promised that he'd be back, and Space Goat Productions is making good on the T-800's promise with their official board game based on James Cameron's The Terminator, which is now available to pre-order. In today's Horror Highlights, we're also giving Daily Dead readers the chance to win a Camera Obscura soundtrack on vinyl, and we have details on Breaking Glass Pictures acquiring North American rights to Rift and information on how Scream Factory will be celebrating their fifth anniversary.
The Terminator: The Official Board Game: Press Release: "(June 14th, 2017 - Bellingham, Wa) - Space Goat Productions has launched pre-orders for The Terminator™: The Official Board Game, based off of the iconic 1984 film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Pre-orders will be available via Backerkit and will give consumers access to exclusive discounts for 30 days.
The original Terminator Kickstarter made almost 200% of its goal, »
- Derek Anderson
"He wants you, too, Malachai!" It changed the way some people looked at crops, and it might have even changed the way you listened to Kim Wilde's "Kids in America," and this September, Children of the Corn (based on the Stephen King short story of the same name) will be coming out on a new Blu-ray from Arrow Video, including a 2K restoration from the original negative and a new audio commentary.
Pre-order in the Us: http://bit.ly/2s4VZAf
Release Date: 19 September
He Who Walks Behind The Rows
A young couple travelling cross-country find themselves stranded in the small town of Gatlin, »
- Derek Anderson
Ryan Lambie Jun 12, 2017
Flies and sweaty skin. What does the lack of them tell us about Terminator: Genisys’ storytelling deficiencies? Ryan explains all...
Nb: The following contains spoilers for Terminator: Genisys and some saucy language.
See related Operation: Spider-Man review
It’s worth remembering that, when independent studio Carolco purchased the rights for The Terminator, Cameron’s debut feature, it had made a multi-million dollar gamble. The Terminator, released in 1984, was a considerable hit; when Carolco spent millions on buying the property, and around $100m on making T2, it was betting that Cameron could turn a low-budget sci-fi thriller with horror overtones into a major summer blockbuster.
Ryan Lambie Jun 9, 2017
In terms of story, Alien: Covenant's conclusion hinted at all kinds of dark possibilities. We won't go over them in spoilery detail here - we've done that before, if you're interested in getting into specifics - but Covenant's conclusion, along with Ridley Scott's clear enthusiasm for the franchise, left clear indications that at least a couple of sequels were in the pipeline.
Right now, though, there appears to be a black cloud on the horizon: the film's box-office. While Alien: Covenant received better reviews than its predecessor, 2012's Prometheus, the latest in a planned string of prequels to 1979's Alien has made a worryingly steep dive in profits over the past couple of weeks.
You only have to take a quick look »
Directors’ trademarks is a series of articles that examines the “signatures” that filmmakers leave behind in their work. This month, we’re looking at the trademark style and calling signs of James Cameron as director.
In college, James Cameron decided that he wanted to be a screenwriter. He switched from majoring in Physics to majoring in English, before eventually deciding to drop out and raise money to start his career. During that time, he worked many odd jobs, until he was finally inspired by Star Wars in 1977 to start his career in the film industry. In the early 1980’s he first worked as a miniature model builder at Roger Corman studios, demonstrating a talent for creating innovative special effects. Over time, he became a production designer, and special effects director. In 1981, he was a special effects director for the film Piranha II: The Spawning. Numerous production delays cost the original director his job, »
- email@example.com (G.S. Perno)
“Beings” taking over the world isn’t necessarily a new subject in Hollywood. Whether it’s an alien, a machine, or some kind of plague that wipes us all out, the subject of the human race being annihilated has been in movies for decades. However, it was the 1984 James Cameron classic Terminator that seriously began exploring a rise in machines and artificial intelligence. Cameron introduced the company “Skynet” who would be on the forefront of robotic and AI technology that led to the ultimate takeover of machines over man. In a recent interview, Cameron admits that a scenario he once simply
- Nat Berman
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Per Deadline, Moore has reportedly closed a deal with Fox that will see him reprise the role of Norm Spellman for Avatar 2 and, seemingly, its three blockbuster sequels, which recently staked out the Christmas season of 2021, 2024 and 2025. Shooting on Avatar 2 is due to commence sometime next year ahead of its own release on December 18th, 2020, at which point moviegoers will have waited 11 years for the next chapter in Pandora’s history.
That’s an awful long time by anyone’s standards, but James Cameron – undoubtedly the architect behind this most ambitious cinematic expansion – isn’t concerned about the lapse in time between Avatar and its 2020 follow-up. Citing both Terminator and Alien as examples, »
- Michael Briers
Nick Aldwinckle Jun 5, 2017
We round up the latest horror-tinged Blu-ray and DVD releases....
So, after a brief hiatus, it turns out a lot’s happened in the few months between these round ups. A snap general election has been called, terror has struck at the heart of Manchester and a scandal approaching Watergate levels has hit the U.S presidency. More importantly, Troll 2 has finally come to UK Netflix and is the cherry on the cake made entirely of a series of kind of wonderful, kind of… not films on DVD and Bluray.
So, 1990’s Troll 2, you may or may not be aware of, is generally regarded as one of the very greatest 'so bad it’s good' movies. There are many worse (The Rollerblade Seven or Gary Oldman little person rom-com Tiptoes come to mind), though it’s difficult to think of many other truly awful movies »
Just over a month after the Avatar sequels were all delayed once again, it seems these long-awaited projects are finally starting to inch forward. Today we have word that one of the original Avatar stars, Joel David Moore, has been confirmed to reprise his role as scientist Norm Spellman. After years of delays, production is now scheduled to begin next year, as the cast starts to finally come together.
Original Avatar stars Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), Zoe Saldana (Neytiri) and Sigourney Weaver (Dr. Grace Augustine) had long been confirmed to reprise their roles from the original, but today's report from Deadline is the first we've heard that Joel David Moore has been confirmed. He also joins the first new cast member, Cliff Curtis (Fear the Walking Dead), who is playing a new character named Tonowari, the leader of the Metkayina, a reef clan from Pandora. This will be a new »
Gentlemen, form an orderly line.
It’s been six years since her separation from Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Maria Shriver is on the market. On Wednesday, the former First Lady of California, who is a special anchor and correspondent for NBC News, stopped by the Today show to co-host with the regular lineup. During a discussion about taking lunch breaks, the topic of Shriver’s love life came up.
“I went out yesterday for lunch with my friend Gayle King,” said Shriver, 61, as Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Hoda Kotb and Carson Daly began jokingly ribbing the CBS This Morning co-anchor. »
- Aurelie Corinthios
Ryan Lambie Jun 2, 2017
Hollywood studios occasionally have an uncanny knack of announcing almost identical film projects at the same time. In the 1980s, we had rival police dog movies K-9 and Turner And Hooch. The 90s saw the release of rival eruption movies (Dante's Peak and Volcano), opposing killer space rock pictures (Deep Impact and Armageddon) and duelling insect comedies (Antz and A Bug's Life). We provided a detailed run-down on these rival movies back in 2015.
See related Vikings renewed for season 5
Around the year 1989, meanwhile, film producers briefly fell in love with a curiously specific genre: undersea sci-fi horror. Between January 1989 and the spring of 1990, no fewer than five films all came out with a similar theme - DeepStar Six was first, followed by Leviathan, Lords Of The Deep, »
It’s been a rocky road for the Dceu so far, but the franchise has earned its first true critical hit with Wonder Woman. Some tin foil hat wearers could call fowl that a concerned Warner Bros. only screened the movie to a select few outlets prior to the embargo being lifted, but the 95-96% score on Rotten Tomatoes shows that the WB had little to worry about. Many – including ourselves – have called it the best DC movie since The Dark Knight. Read more here.
With the rise in popularity of the R-rated superhero movie following Deadpool and Logan, but Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins was strong in her belief the DC outing should be PG-13. “I cared a lot about it never being an R-rating,” Jenkins told CinemaBlend. “And I totally support the movies that do have an R-rating, but in this case I was very »
- Luke Owen
Although James Cameron first announced his intention to extend the Avatar franchise back in 2010, his plans have been pushed back several times as the sequels expanded from two, to three, and then finally four.
At present, the first sequel is slated to arrive in December 2020, meaning we’ll have an eleven year gap between the first movie and Avatar 2. However, that doesn’t seem to be a concern to Cameron, who has revealed to CNN that he’s confident that the long wait won’t be an issue once the films are finally here.
“It was a seven-year gap between The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, seven year gap between Alien and Aliens,” said Cameron. “It’s gonna be obviously more like a ten year gap between Avatar and Avatar 2. But Avatar 2 you are going to with not the promise, but the certainty of three more films beyond that, »
- Gary Collinson
Simon Brew May 30, 2017
By the time Avatar 2 finally arrives in cinemas at the end of 2020, it’ll be 11 years since the release of the original film. A film that, of course, went on to become the biggest of all time at the box office. But one that's still take its time to get its follow-up.
Production starts on the sequels – and there are four of them planned, remember – this summer, and writer/director James Cameron has been addressing the sizeable gap between the first two movies.
It has somehow already been eight years since Avatar, the highest-grossing movie ever made, arrived in theaters. Despite the crazy time gap, James Cameron has actually been dedicating much of his time in the years since to getting Avatar 2, and the other planned sequels ready to go. There are some who feel that the 11-year gap that will exist by the time Avatar 2 finally arrives on December 18, 2020 will hurt the movie. But not James Cameron.
The director recently spoke with CNN in honor of Disney World's Pandora: The World of Avatar expansion. James Cameron was asked about what is taking so long with the Avatar sequels, of which there are four, and if he is worried. It turns out, he isn't and he seems more than confident that things will work out. Here's what he had to say about it.
It seems like every six months or year we get an update for the Avatar sequels, and more often than not, said updates revolve around delays surrounding the production. Like many outlets, we’ve been wondering if that will negatively affect the excitement and box office performance of the films. After all, Avatar is a film that had huge reverberations in the pop culture zeitgeist — but it only really lasted around 10 minutes or so. Since the release of that movie, it’s only been brought up in reference to the forever-delayed sequels.
Speaking with CNN while discussing Disney’s Pandora world in Walt Disney World, director James Cameron discussed why the delays don’t worry him.
- Joseph Medina
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To say that Avatar 2 has been a long time coming may read as something of a colossal understatement – remember, James Cameron’s box office juggernaut originally launched in 2009, when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was little more than a two-film series encompassing The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man – but if director James Cameron is feeling the added pressure of delivering on such an incredible statement of intent, it doesn’t show.
CNN caught up with the illustrious filmmaker over the weekend, as he was in attendance to promote the Avatar-themed attraction, Pandora – The World of Avatar, at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. When asked specifically if he’s at all concerned by the prolonged gap between Avatar 2 and its record-breaking, predecessor, Cameron pointed to the length of time that lapsed between Terminator and T2, »
- Michael Briers
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