The Theme of Redemption Runs Through Spider-Man 3: Raimi wasn’t conscious of that from the beginning of the script process. “We wanted Harry Osborn, his good friend, that relationship with Peter Parker and him to be resolved by the third picture,” explained Raimi. “We had obviously set up the scenes to have some dramatic confrontation and evolution in this third one. We knew in our heart that Harry was a good boy and good person and was just acting under the mistaken belief that Peter had killed his father in cold blood, and perhaps wanting to hang on to the notion that his father was an honorable man. And perhaps that he could still be the son his father wanted him to be if he acted a little more strongly and avenged his death. It wasn’t as simple as that for him.”
Tackling His Third Spider-Man Movie: According to Raimi it was both great in many ways and difficult in many ways. “The easiest thing was that the team was the same. Not just the producers who I became very familiar with, but I had the same production designer, the editor was the same, the animators were the same. They had learned how to move Spider-Man with great grace, and they had learned from a lot of their mistakes. It was definitely easier because of the shorthand of communication. But also we had all learned a lot of lessons so we could make new mistakes and we didn’t have to repeat the same ones.
But also working with the actors, that was the biggest advantage of the third picture because what we’re always after in scenes is to try to find a moment that will reverberate with the audience. Like if someone is heartbroken, we want the audience to have felt that themselves, and to get there we have to make it a real moment of truth. Something about it has to be real. However melodramatic the drama may be, there has to be truth in the actor’s performance. I met Tobey and Kirsten seven years ago and we worked on the first picture as professional people, but then our friendship deepened on the second picture and I had a much greater degree in trust in them. I think they trusted me perhaps more. We weren’t afraid of hurting each other’s feelings, weren’t afraid of saying, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’
Sometimes when you talk about emotions, words sometimes come up short when you’re trying to describe a feeling you have or a feeling that you’re lacking from an actor. The depth of our friendship and just our closeness of our working relationship really enabled us to attempt to get at the truthful moments to a greater degree. I’m not saying that we were always successful, because we weren’t. We often missed them, but at least we were really close in our relationship so that we could really speak honestly with each other about what we felt was lacking and what we felt we needed.”
Will the Real Spider-Man Please Stand Up?: What’s digital and what’s Tobey Maguire? “Usually when he’s got the full costume on it’s either a stunt man or digital,” revealed Raimi. “However, if it’s ever a performance issue, like Spider-Man stops and stands or if he ever lands in frame and has to be in some place emotional, it’s Tobey. Even if you can’t tell, I can tell. It’s such a big difference when you put Tobey in the outfit. He’s performing the character. It comes through the outfit. Anything that’s dangerous or that wouldn’t look physically sound, we go with the CG character.”
Some Fans Still Can’t Let Go of the Organic vs Mechanical Web Shooter Issue: Raimi knows it’s still an issue for some real diehard fans who, back during the first Spider-Man movie, sent a petition to Sony to have Raimi remove the organic shooters from the picture. “I think what you’re referring to is in the Spider-Man comic book written by Stan Lee. He had a mechanical web shooter and there was a great objection against the fans online that I was destroying their character. But I love Spider-Man also.[pp] What I was trying to do was take James Cameron’s idea, which was actually in a story that he had written that idea. I thought that’s a great idea of his because it makes the great spirit of what Stan Lee did that’s so unique, is Peter Parker is a regular guy. He’s one of us and he’s a hero that we can identify with who has all the common thoughts and mishaps of any of us. So the fact that he was a mechanical engineer and could create this special substance and special gadget, I felt it was better to ignore in an attempt to be truer to the spirit of the character that Stanley had created, versus an attempt to be truer to the specifics of every detail that he created. That was my goal. But these people are very upset with me. They probably still are, and I definitely won’t say that they aren’t because they’ll even be madder.”