Scott Leva as Spider-Man
Long before Tobey Maguire became a household name by playing the neighborhood’s friendly Spider-Man in three movies, Scott Leva was the man most likely to don the webs and mask. “Scott who?” you ask.
Leva was a professional stuntman – still is – and was the front-runner to play the web-slinger when the increasingly cash-strapped Cannon Films was desperately trying to develop a Spider-Man movie in the late ’80s. Leva had even appeared in promotional photos for Cannon, wearing the Spidey suit.
A Spider-Man movie had been in development for a number of years, first with Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and then Joseph Zito (Invasion USA) in the director’s chair, before ongoing budget cuts by Cannon meant ongoing slashes to the script. Zito, who Cannon had replaced Hooper with, ultimately dropped out because of the film’s cheaper and cheaper handling. Albert Pyun (The Sword and the Sorcerer) replaced him.
Leva apparently read all drafts of the script, including the early one by Ted Newsom and John Brancato, which was an origin story with Otto Octavius initially a mentor to Peter Parker who becomes Spider-Man’s enemy Doc Ock after a ‘cyclotron accident’ transforms both characters. Leva told Starlog in 2002:
“It (the script) was good but it needed a little work. Unfortunately, with every subsequent rewrite by other writers, it went from good to bad to terrible.”
While Cannon – which also produced the massive flop Superman IV: The Quest for Peace – eventually gave up trying to get its Spider-Man movie made (and eventually went out of business in 1993) Pyun went on to make one of the worst superhero movies of all-time, Captain America (1990), which starred Matt Salinger.