Sam Raimi Reflects on ‘World of Warcraft,’ ‘Spider-Man 4,’ & Anne Hathaway as Black Cat

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 5th, 2013 at 9:36 pm,

Sam Raimi Talks Amazing Spider Man Sam Raimi Reflects on World of Warcraft, Spider Man 4, & Anne Hathaway as Black Cat

At the end of 2009, the notion of a Marc Webb-directed Amazing Spider-Man reboot starring Anton from The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (aka Andrew Garfield) would have seemed like a stretch for the Screen Rant front page. Back then, director Sam Raimi was firmly at the helm of Spider-Man 4 with Tobey Maguire expected to return for more red and blue spider-suit action.

Yet, as film fans said goodbye to 2009 and hello to 2010, Spider-Man 4 productions delays turned into a full-on cancellation of the film – making way for Sony to tell “The Untold Story” of Peter Parker and his crime-fighting alter-ego. Now, with the release of the director’s latest film Oz: The Great and Powerful, and Marc Webb beginning production on The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Raimi is reflecting on the Spider-Man 4 cancellation and what could have been – including Anne Hathaway as Black Cat.

Speaking with New York Magazine entertainment blog VultureRaimi once again put to rest long-running speculation that his split with Sony during Spider-Man 4 pre-production was a bitter one – asserting that he just couldn’t deliver the right story on schedule:

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.” And [Sony co-chairman] Amy Pascal said, “Thank you. Thank you for not wasting the studio’s money, and I appreciate your candor.” So we left on the best of terms, both of us trying to do the best thing for fans, the good name of Spider-Man, and Sony Studios.

the amazing spider man sequ Sam Raimi Reflects on World of Warcraft, Spider Man 4, & Anne Hathaway as Black Cat

While Raimi takes responsibility for encouraging Sony to reboot the Spider-Man franchise, longtime fans will remember that, as the director hints at in the interview, there was a lot of disagreement on the set of Spider-Man 3. The studio reportedly pushed for Venom to take a bigger role even though Raimi wasn’t initially a fan of the character (or expanding his part in Spider-Man 3). For that reason, it’s possible that the relatively quiet demise of Spider-Man 4 was actually the result of already strained tensions from production on the prior film – as if Raimi simply left the project before he found himself in another tight spot with Marvel and Sony executives.

Now that three years have passed, Raimi is also a lot more forthcoming about certain aspects of the film – specifically a mysterious role for Anne Hathaway, long believed to be the Vulturess (alongside John Malkovich as the Vulture) until it was later revealed she would have played renowned cat burglar, Black Cat. No doubt the auditions with Raimi payed-off when Christopher Nolan cast the actress in The Dark Knight Rises one year later as Catwoman.

In the interview Raimi confirms that Hathaway was cast in the role of Felicia Hardy, then praises her audition work:

I didn’t get to see Batman yet, because I’ve been working nonstop on Oz, but I hear she’s great in it. I’m not surprised, because I loved what she was doing with the auditions for Spider-Man 4.

Fans of both Catwoman and Black Cat will point out that there are major differences between the two characters – so, while we’re certainly grateful for her work in The Dark Knight Rises (especially after the standalone Halle Berry Catwoman film), it would still be fun to see what Hathaway had planned for Felicia Hardy.

World of Warcraft Screenwriter Sam Raimi Reflects on World of Warcraft, Spider Man 4, & Anne Hathaway as Black Cat

In addition to Spider-Man 4, the director also provided insight in to why he left the World of Warcraft adaptation (which is now being helmed by Moon director Duncan Jones) after three years developing the project:

Robert Rodat was working on the script, and it was taking a long time. I think they were getting a little antsy at Legendary, the production company. Actually, what happened was even more complicated, so let me go back a little bit. 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, 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. And 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?

Regardless of his history with World of Warcraft and Blizzard, fans of the game can take one bit of solace – Raimi has a lot of confidence in Jones:

I loved his movie Moon, and I think he’s a strikingly talented director. I bet that if anyone can do a great job with it, it’s him.

That said, Spider-Man fans hoping for Raimi to once again return to the webslinger if Marc Webb opts to pass on the near-inevitable Amazing Spider-Man 3, will find that Raimi isn’t interested in sharing the franchise. The director politely delivered kind words about everyone involved but freely admitted that a different take on Spider-Man still hits too close to home:

I didn’t see the Spider-Man reboot. I know Marc Webb is a great director, and I love Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, but as much as I love those people and Amy and Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad, I just don’t want to go to my girlfriend’s wedding, with all due respect. I guess that means I’m a bad loser? I just love her too much! I just have to wait. It would be hard to see her with someone else … with all those other men!

As we’ve previously reported, Raimi’s wife has seen the film – and the director assured reporters that she enjoyed it!

amazing spider man 2 mask costume1 Sam Raimi Reflects on World of Warcraft, Spider Man 4, & Anne Hathaway as Black Cat

Passionate fans of comic book characters are understandably protective of their favorite franchises – so it’s easy to forget that filmmakers sometimes just need to go in a different direction. Even though the Spider-Man faithful remain divided on whether or not they would have preferred The Amazing Spider-Man or Spider-Man 4 (or neither), for now, the best thing to do is wait and hope that Marc Webb wows everyone in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Raimi fans also have a lot to look forward to: the director’s Oz: The Great and Powerful opens this weekend – followed closely behind by labor-of-love producer work on the Evil Dead remake set for release on April 5th 2013.


Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 releases May 2, 2014.

Oz the Great and Powerful will be in theaters on March 8, 2013. Evil Dead hits theaters on April 5th, 2013.

Source: Vulture

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
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  1. If he was considering having Anne Hathaway playing Black Cat, then I am so glad that SM4 fell through. I couldn’t take any more disappointment after SM3.

    • Out of curiosity, does that mean you didn’t like her in TDKR?

      • She was okay, but I don’t accept her as Catwoman. He character was not Catwoman the same way that Tom Hardy’s character was not Bane.

        • Roguedork19 , I completely disagree. Anne Hathaway was good as Catwoman, and she owned TDKR. Her performance was one of my favorites of the 2012 year, and she deserved all the great reviews.

          • Meh, she was so-so. Her best performance was definitely Les Miserables. But as Miss Kyle? No, that was a terrible casting choice.

            • Had this been before I saw TDKR I would have agreed with you on Nolan’s choice to cast her as the character. However, after seeing the movie, I disagree. IMO, she really surprised me with how close she was the the character (the one I grew up with at least [BTAS Catwoman]). Since viewing her performance, I can’t really go and watch Michelle Pfeiffer’s turn any more because her Catwoman was so far off the mark from even the comics that it’s not even funny. Having said that, however; I still would love to see how my casting choices would have pulled it off: Rachel Weisz and Eva Green. I am also so-so with Bane. I thought Tom Hardy was great (though, I don’t get how he became confused given his interpretation of the fans wanting him to speak with a Latin accent). His Bane was way closer to the comics than Schumacher’s Bane which I am thankful for though I can see why you wouldn’t feel the same way as I do given that he still came off as a henchman. Personally, I think of his relationship to Talia as more of a partnership than a boss/henchman one.

            • Overall, my only real complaint about TDKR was the script with its plot holes and bad dialogue in certain scenes. It really seemed like Nolan was in a hurry to get this film done and over with while also wanting to focus on the emotional impact of it. While I believe he did a brilliant job with that focus in mind, I still would have liked him to polish up the script and taken more time with it.

        • @ Roguedork19
          I agree with you she was just so so. Bane however I thought was right on target.

  2. That’s one thing with Raimi, he is an honest man.

  3. I find it very admirable he decided to resign due to his belief thaitwouldntwork out I am very excited for the new trilogy with Andrew Garfield well said Raimi good luck with all your future projects

  4. I strongly believe Raimi could have saved his Spidey movies with an awesome Spider 4. I think we fanboys are very selfhis, we think filmmakers are perfect and will always give us the best specially when they prove the can (spiderman 2). So, when they mess it up we attack them, merciless. I think we, the fanboys, doomed Spider 4 and in one way or another, our opinions affected Raimi, so he wasn’t able of givin us something worthy of a “fanboy”.

    • @ Leebedon

      I think i agree with you. Raimi didn’t fail us with Spider-Man 3, Sony did by pushing Venom in there. When Venom doesn’t show till the 3rd act, of-course the film wouldn’t be well recieved.

    • Well said Leebedon. I personally didn’t mind the reboot, but to this day, I still wish there had been a Spiderman 4 to end that series on a high note.

      And I actually liked Spiderman 3, but there were heavy flaws, and it was easily the weakest of the series. That being said, you know what, s*** happens. Every once and a while, we just screw up. But I’ve always thought a lot of us have been WAY too hard on Raimi.

      • Me too now that I have known the truth. When Spider-Man 3 fell through I didn’t know who to blame; I didn’t want to do it to Rami. He practically has never disappointed us with Spider-Man. It was Sony who did this to us.

        Oh well, what’s done is done. We can only dream or probably write a fan fiction on what Spider-Man 4 will be about. How Peter copes with his best friend dying, how he will work up to redemption with Mary Jane. Probably let him battle the ultimate villain; the one to rule them all, the possible person that might even end Peter’s life…

        But it wouldn’t.

        Spider-Man will rise up, leap out of the way for the bad guy to die somehow, save the damsel in distress, get the bad guy, and save the world.

        And have Stan “The Man” make a cameo…

        Sorry, I was in a moment.

      • @ Robert

        I agree with you too. Doesnt’ matter who you are or what franchise it is, you’re bound to have a weak sequel sooner or later.

  5. Raimi would have been a hero and let the spider man franchise fall back to marvel

  6. It was clearly time for a change after Spider-Man 3. I like the direction of the new series and it’s take on the Ultimate story line. Looking forward to the sequel.

  7. Sam Raimi. I liked what he did in general, and I like what he does. All of his movies have that quirky comedic edge to them. The Dark Peter dance being a good example. I was unhappy that he didn’t stay the course with Dr. Connors and The Lizard. So, while I wanted Sam, I was happy that the reboot featured my beloved villain. I simply will not watch The Vulture.

    • Honestly, the Vulture is a iconic villain and one of the most well known. He also starred in the Sinister Six – so he will likely appear in a film at some point, especially given that we have Electro and Rhino confirmed in the second film.

      Sinister Six list;
      Green Goblin – TASM3
      Electro – TASM2
      Rhino – TASM2
      Lizard – TASM1 – in the comics turned down being a member

      That leaves atleast 2-3 members who need to be introduced. Sandman and Doctor Octopus will likely not be redone leaving Kraven, Mysterio and Vulture the most likely.

  8. “but as much as I love those people and Amy and Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad, I just don’t want to go to my girlfriend’s wedding”

    Didn’t Laura Ziskin pass away in 2011? When did Raimi say this?

  9. Mr. Raimi is a gentleman, anneb hathaway was ok as “the cat burglar” in TDKR it’s good to see Raimi taking other projects, good for him

  10. Thank god he stepped away from warcraft, he is an awful director and completely butchers the sorce material of everything he touches. After SM3 and Legend of the Seeker I dont have any faith in this guy

    • You said after SM3…so did he butcher SM1 and 2?

    • Did you not read the article on who was to blame for SM3? Was not his fault he had to go through with it. He even said he was disappointed with it. Sony forced his hand. That’s why he ulitmately(no pun intended) walked away.

  11. anne hathaway was surprisingly stellar as catwoman, and I believe sam raimi’s opinion about hathaway’s black cat audition.

  12. Why can’t we have two competing Spider-man universes, and just let Raimi and McGuire flesh out a final film?

    • That would be interesting. Just as The Avengers takes from the comics and makes a shared movie universe, they could have two separate spidey franchises with multiple universes and different stories. They do it in the comics. Amazing, Spectacular, Sensational, Ultimate, etc.

      • Actually, the Ultimate line is the only one that is in a seperate universe. Amazing, spectacular, and so on are all within the same continuity.

  13. A great interview! He seems to be a great guy and I still love Spider-man 1 and 2 and I so wanted to love SM3! The transformation of Sand man is still worth owning IMO! I just could never understand the amnesia, the dancing and a horrible Venom.

  14. I was kinda curious as to why the heck would they not wanna do a SPIDERMAN 2099 movie??Same Spidy,different kid and so much more room for some awesome CGI 3D.

    • thats an interesting idea sammylane2. I am personally a big fan of the SM2099 series.

  15. The new spider-man movie sucked. It was not Peter Parker. It was not spider-man.