Your friendly neigh­bour­hood Spi­der-peo­ple

What hap­pens when a por­tal opens to mul­ti­ple Spi­der-peo­ple? The di­rec­tors of Spi­der-man: Into The Spi­der-verse in­tro­duce their six dis­tinct web­slingers

Empire (UK) - - PREVIEW - John nu­gent

1 miles mo­rales/spi­der-man

(Shameik Moore) Peter Ram­sey, co-di­rec­tor: A few years ago, Marvel cre­ated this whole other line of comics, with al­ter­nate ver­sions of clas­sic char­ac­ters. The Ul­ti­mate Spi­der-man ver­sion was Miles Mo­rales.

Bob Per­sichetti, co-di­rec­tor: The movie is an ori­gin story for Miles. He’s a young Brook­lyn teen, half African-amer­i­can, half Puerto Ri­can. He has a very dif­fer­ent life his­tory to Peter Parker. We in­tro­duce the Spi­der-verse, but we kind of use the Miles Mo­rales ori­gin story as our ve­hi­cle to do that.

Rod­ney Roth­man, co-di­rec­tor: When we meet him, he’s ba­si­cally an av­er­age 13-year-old kid. He just started a new school. His re­la­tion­ship with his dad has been get­ting more com­pli­cated. His life has be­come more com­pli­cated. And it’s about to get a lot more com­pli­cated.


(Jake John­son) Roth­man: Our guide­line was to treat Peter like a re­tired 40-year-old ath­lete. He’s car­ry­ing a lot of life mileage. He’s car­ry­ing a lit­tle ex­tra weight. We [took] a beloved char­ac­ter and [imag­ined] what his life would be like ten to 15 years later. Ram­sey: We had a lit­tle fun with the idea that ev­ery­body knows Spi­der-man. We’re not lit­er­ally say­ing this is the same uni­verse as the Tobey Maguire or An­drew Garfield movies — it’s more a com­men­tary on the ubiq­uity of Spi­der-man in pop­u­lar cul­ture. A lot of our movie is about the pres­sure of step­ping into the role of a leg­end when that leg­end al­ready ex­ists.

3 gwen stacy/ spi­der-gwen

(Hailee Ste­in­feld) Ram­sey: In the clas­sic Spi­der-man comics, Gwen was of course Peter

Parker’s girl­friend who ul­ti­mately dies. Spi­der-gwen is a more re­cent ad­di­tion. Per­sichetti: She comes from an al­ter­nate uni­verse where Peter Parker dies and she ends up get­ting bit­ten by a spi­der in­stead. She’s kind of a peer for Miles, but she’s been Spi­der-gwen for much longer, and has al­ready had her ori­gin story hap­pen off screen. She’s in­tim­i­dat­ing to him, and he has to earn her re­spect.


(Ni­co­las Cage) He’s 1930s Spi­der-man. All black and white.

Ram­sey: He’s prone to dark emo­tions and brood­ing — and Nic Cage can em­body those at­ti­tudes and add a lit­tle hu­mour to them. It was one of those in­stances where the cast­ing kind of added a meta-level to the char­ac­ter.

Per­sichetti: Nic Cage is the ul­ti­mate voice ac­tor to de­liver those Ray­mond Chan­dler-es­que lines. He’s like pulp Spi­der-man.

Ram­sey: We en­cour­age the ac­tors to bring what­ever they can to make these char­ac­ters sing in their own voices. This char­ac­ter was writ­ten with a very spe­cific voice — but Nic took it and made it his own.


(Kimiko Glenn) Per­sichetti: She’s from fu­ture New York. She’s a Ja­panese-amer­i­can girl with a ro­bot built by her fa­ther. She has a psy­chic link to a ra­dioac­tive spi­der [in the ro­bot].

Roth­man: Vis­ually, she comes from a kind of anime world. Her pow­ers are in tan­dem with her ro­bot, which makes per­fect sense in the fu­ture.

Per­sichetti: She’s a nine-year-old girl with a ro­bot. If you can’t have fun with that, there’s some­thing wrong.

6 peter porker / spi­der-ham

(John Mu­laney)

Per­sichetti: There was a lot of de­bate: “Do we do the pig? Do we not do the pig?” Roth­man: He’s from a car­toon world. We drew a lot of in­spi­ra­tion from 1940s and 1950s 2D cel an­i­ma­tion.

Per­sichetti: He’s a prod­uct of old What If ? Marvel comics. Our chal­lenge was re­ally, “Okay, he’s fun, but we have to treat him like a real Spi­der-man.” It be­came more en­ter­tain­ing and lay­ered and com­plex when we started to put the at­tributes of Peter Parker on top of the silly car­toon-world pig. In his uni­verse, he is Spi­der-man. He’s got to be as heroic and self-sac­ri­fic­ing as any of the oth­ers. It re­ally helped ground him. In a to­tally ridicu­lous way.

The Spi­der-verse di­rec­tors spoke to Em­pire on the phone from Sony Pic­tures An­i­ma­tion’s of­fices in Cul­ver City, Cal­i­for­nia, on 10 Oc­to­ber.

The colour­ful char­ac­ters of the al­ter­nate Spi­der-verse.

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